Can Dogs Cough?

Coughing is the body’s natural response to an abnormality or irritation on the airway. Dogs will cough naturally every now and then. However, if a dog experiences persistent coughing, it can be a symptom of a medical condition or an underlying illness. Never worry though for this is not the case at all times. Several causes lead dogs to cough.

It’s a simple answer to the question can dogs cough? – Yes they can. It could be something simple, but it could be be more serious. Read on the discover what your dog’s cough could mean.

What Are The Symptoms To Check?

The most common symptoms are a dry, persistent, hacking, or barking cough that can turn for the worst in cold temperatures. Dogs who cough up mucus fluids or phlegm should also be checked because these are symptoms of the so-called productive cough.

You should also check if your dog is lethargic or showcases reluctance to go out for a walk as these are also symptoms. Other symptoms that are associated with a dog’s cough are eye or nose discharge, gagging, snuffles, occasional vomiting, and retching.

The Most Common Reasons Why Dogs Cough

The Most Common Reasons Why Dogs Cough

Kennel cough is among the most common reasons for dog cough. It is also called infectious canine tracheobronchitis. This causes inflammation of the bronchi and trachea. It affects a dog’s respiratory system.

Kennel cough may be caused by different pathogens and viruses. Getting your dog vaccinated can help minimize the chances of it getting kennel cough.

Some dog breeds have inherited abnormalities and are more prone to various heart conditions compared to others. When your dog coughs suspiciously, the risk for heart disease might be on the horizon.

The best way to know if this is a fact is through regular check-ups with your dog’s veterinarian. This can help determine potential health problems early on.

A cough that sounds wet can mean the presence of fluid building in a dog’s lungs. This is usually caused by infection. Lung disease such as Pneumonia might be a possible outcome. If your dog has a bacterial infection, the vet may give out antibiotics to combat this.

Canine influenza or dog flu can also be associated with dog cough. There is a moist cough along with a runny nose, sneezing, and high temperature once a dog gets canine influenza. Just as when humans have the flu, this is also contagious between dogs and no vaccine has been discovered for this yet.

Canine distemper is also a symptom that is associated with dog cough. Persistent coughing should be patiently observed by dog parents. Canine distemper is a serious viral disease that is infectious. It affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems of dogs.

Vaccinations can help battle this infection. However, if vaccination is ignored, canine distemper can be fatal.

Cancer can affect the lungs and can be a cause for dog cough as well. Having a dog with cancer can be one of the toughest things to go through.

Another common reason for dog cough is when canines swallow a foreign body that gets stuck in the airway. Usually, this happens to puppies as well as to dogs who chew bones and toys.


The diagnosis will depend on the nature of the dog’s cough as well as how long. A veterinarian will usually begin with a detailed clinical examination where thorough history will be taken into account. Examination of the lungs and heart will be necessary.

Sometimes, tests like an MRI or even a CT scan would be required. An x-ray or echocardiogram may also be needed if the dog’s cough is not obvious in the first place.

Blood tests may also be needed as well as faecal screens for checking internal parasite presence. There are some procedures requiring sedation or anaesthetic. This will usually require your dog to be with the veterinarian for a couple of hours.

Depending on the diagnosis, your dog can be sent home on the same day.

The vet will provide you with the best advice on the most appropriate procedures that are necessary to make a diagnosis. If your dog’s cough is sporadic, you can opt to record these episodes so you can help your vet come up with a proper diagnosis.

If the cough is caused by cancer or some type of heart condition, your dog will immediately be referred to a veterinary specialist. Your vet will advise you on how referrals work (if appropriate) and who is the best specialist that could help treat your dog.

Treatment For Dog Cough

Treatment For Dog Cough

Dealing with the underlying cause of the dog’s cough is the main goal for treatment. If the cough is diagnosed to be brought by a bacterial infection then the vet will probably prescribe antibiotics.

If a dog’s cough is caused by a parasitic infection like a roundworm or lungworm then your dog will be advised to take proper worming treatments. This would require regular check-ups to monitor the clearing of the infection.

If your dog has allergies that trigger the coughing then these symptoms will usually subside once these allergy-causing concerns have been addressed. Other causes may be a result of very serious infections. With these cases, a more thorough check-up and treatment might be required.

Dog Cough Prevention

Coughing can be caused by viruses that can only be prevented if a proper vaccination program has been followed religiously. There are annual booster vaccinations that may also have the kennel cough vaccine. This is highly recommended, especially if you plan to place your dog into doggy daycare or kennels.

Parasite control is also essential for your canine’s preventive health care plan. This could help fight or protect the dog from infection caused by external and internal parasites.


Can dogs cough? Definitely. Never underestimate the coughing of your pet as this may be caused by several potential diseases. If you notice your dog coughing more than usual, it would be best to have it checked by a veterinarian.

There are several symptoms that you should look out for and also preventive measures that should be considered as a high priority. Regular check-ups and proper vaccination must also be followed religiously if you want your dog to live a long and healthy life.