Coughing is the body’s natural way of protecting the respiratory system by expelling unwanted material from the airways. Like humans, dogs cough to remove foreign objects, mucus, or debris from their airway so they can continue breathing unobstructed.

All dogs cough periodically. Since they navigate their world with their noses and mouths, it’s easy for dirt, grass, or unwanted materials to enter your dog’s nose or throat. So they cough to get rid of the irritation.

However, if your dog is coughing routinely, there might be something more serious going on. Your pup could have a virus, bacterial infection, or another health problem. Recurring coughs are a reason to call us!

What causes coughing in dogs?

Several conditions, ranging from minor to serious, can cause coughing in dogs. Here are a few of the more common reasons:

  • Kennel Cough
  • Canine influenza
  • Environmental allergens
  • Pneumonia
  • Foreign object stuck in the throat
  • Heart disease
  • Tracheal collapse

How will the vet diagnose what’s causing the cough?

The best way for the vet to diagnose a cough is to send us a brief video or recording of your dog’s cough. If that isn’t possible, try to describe it:

  • Does it sound like a dry, hacking cough?
  • Does it sound like a deep, honking cough?
  • Is it a wet, phlegmy cough?
  • Is it a high-itched cough that sounds like your dog is gagging?

Also, let us know when the dog coughs the most – like at night. And make sure you mention if your dog has other symptoms, such as:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy