If your dog has been coughing recently, you probably find yourself wondering what’s wrong. Coughing is usually a sign that something else is going on, and it’s a good idea to try to get to the bottom of the problem before it potentially worsens.
Read through the information below to learn more about what might be causing your dog to cough and what you can do to help. These suggestions may make it easier for you to narrow down the root of the issue and figure out when it’s time to see a vet, too.
Many dogs suffer from allergies. Some may have contact allergies, which means they break out in a rash when they come into contact with an allergen, and many may have pollen allergies. Pollen allergies in dogs are a common cause of coughing, just like they are in humans.
If your dog’s allergies are mild, she may not need anything more than a humidifier during allergy season. However, if her allergies are more severe, your vet may prescribe her an allergy medication, an inhaler, or a round of steroids for a flare-up.
Kennel cough is the common name for a condition caused by several types of bacteria, most notably Bordetella. This common disease is basically like a cold for a dog, although it can be potentially dangerous for very young puppies, very old senior dogs, and dogs with other underlying health problems.
Kennel cough can be treated with a round of antibiotics if it is caused by a bacterium, but it cannot be treated if it is viral. However, most healthy adult dogs will recover from it fully within a few weeks. Make sure your dog has plenty of fluids and rest during that time.
Respiratory infections may be viral, bacterial, or sometimes even fungal. These diseases can be spread between dogs through saliva or sometimes even just through the air, which makes them fairly contagious. Some respiratory infections are mild, while others may be moderate to severe.
If your dog is diagnosed with a respiratory infection, your vet will prescribe antibiotics (if it is bacterial) and let you know if your pet needs any other treatments at the time. Different infections may require different methods of treatment, but your vet will be able to tell you for sure what your pet needs.
Dogs who have heartworms develop a strong, persistent cough which worsens over time. They may start to cough when they are very active, or if they have a serious case of heartworms, the coughing may be triggered by something as simple as walking around or trying to eat out of a food dish.
There is no treatment for heartworms. However, your vet can help you manage your dog’s condition and ensure she lives a long, full, happy life despite having heartworms. Additionally, you can provide a monthly preventative for your dog that can stop her from getting heartworms in the first place.
Obviously, if your dog has inhaled an object that is completely blocking her airways, you can tell she is in serious distress. This situation is an emergency, and you should go the emergency vet without hesitation if this happens. However, some dogs may inhale objects that only partially block the airways, which can lead to coughing and wheezing.
If you suspect your dog may have inhaled an object that is causing her cough, take her to the emergency vet to have it removed. This problem is more common than you might think, and it is unfortunately sometimes fatal, even without a full blockage.
Finally, dogs who have heart disease are more likely to suffer from frequent coughing as well. Dogs with heart disease may develop a persistent cough, and they may start coughing easily when they get excited or move around a lot. The more advanced the heart disease, the worse and more frequent the coughing is likely to be.
If your dog is diagnosed with heart disease, there is no treatment. However, your vet can provide you with plenty of information you can use to help your dog live a happy life for the rest of the time she has.
Many of the underlying causes of coughing in dogs can be considered mild to moderate. However, some of the causes are very severe, so it’s important to check your dog’s other symptoms before deciding when it might be time to see the vet.
If you have any further questions or concerns about your dog’s health, go to the vet as soon as possible. As long as your dog is not in the middle of a medical crisis, the regular vet should be fine. Your vet can help you determine your specific dog’s potential health issues and choose treatment plans moving forward, too. Call us at (770) 817-9565 to schedule an appointment.