Sometimes people cough to eliminate something that is irritating our respiratory system. However, our coughs can also be a symptom of a disease. In our case it is clear to us, but what happens if my dog has a cough? Let’s see what coughing means in dogs.
Why does my dog have a cough?
As we said, the cough is not in itself a disease. Rather, it is a symptom of some condition of the respiratory system or other organs.
Also, remember that if my dog has a cough, it may simply be that it appears as a reflex defense mechanism to protect his body from irritants or foreign bodies.
However, to better understand the causes that can cause coughing in dogs, it is necessary to differentiate between the types of cough in dogs that exist.
Types of coughs in dogs
If my dog has a cough, the first thing I should do to find out its cause is to differentiate if it is an irritating cough without expulsion or wet cough with expulsion.
It is a strong, dry, repetitive, and harsh cough. It can be not only annoying for the animal, but also painful.
If the irritating cough in dogs persists over time, it will become stronger and can cause a vicious cycle.
When my dog coughs with irritating cough, the mucosa becomes irritated and damaged due to the intense inhalation of air, thus increasing the irritation and coughing. This can be acute or chronic.
Causes of irritative cough in dogs
For acute irritative cough, the most common causes are:
- Inhalation of irritating substances, such as smoke.
- Allergies in dogs.
- Beginning of infection and inflammation of the respiratory tract (such as kennel cough).
- Inhalation of foreign bodies, such as liquids or food.
- Pressure on the neck. For example, because of the collar and/or strap pulls.
In chronic irritative cough, the causes we find are:
- Tumors pressing on the respiratory tract, swollen glands, or an enlarged atrium of the heart.
- The collapse of the trachea.
It may happen that if my dog coughs, it does so with the expulsion of secretions and causes a rattle when coughing.
Normally, this type of cough is accompanied by retching and phlegm that is expelled after the cough. Its cause is usually related to colds.
Canine cough diagnosis
Going to a veterinary center if my dog has a cough will be essential. The professional will perform various tests to determine what has caused the cough and, based on that, determine the treatment.
The size of the animal tends to have a great influence, as small breeds often suffer a collapse in the trachea. In addition, as pet guardians, we will always have to give the veterinarian all the information that he requests about the matter. For instance:
- Whether it is a dry or wet cough.
- Since how long have you had a cough.
- If the dog has other complaints.
- Cough frequency
- When is the cough more frequent (day, night, when eating …).
The vet will then conduct a full clinical examination. Sometimes a lung or chest X-ray, blood test, CT scan, MRI, or endoscopy are needed.
This may be enough to clarify why my dog is coughing and to establish a treatment.
Treatment of cough in dogs
After determining the cause, the veterinary professional can recommend a treatment tailored to the case.
In cases of wet cough, expectorants or mucolytics are usually administered. In addition, rest will also be important to strengthen the immune system of the animal.
For the driest and most severe cough, sometimes the solution is usually drugs such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, bronchodilators, etc. Everything will depend on the cause.
Can coughs in dogs be prevented?
It is not always possible to prevent coughing in dogs, but certain actions can be carried out with your pet to protect it from it as much as possible:
- Strengthen your immune system with a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet, and exercise.
- Don’t let your dog come in contact with sick dogs.
- Comply with your pet’s vaccination schedule.
- Deworm your dog, both internally and externally.
- Do not use toxic products or products with strong odors, such as cleaning products or fumes, near your pet.
- Use a harness instead of a collar to avoid putting pressure on the animal’s neck.
- Keep your surroundings and belongings clean, especially from dust.
- If your dog is a glutton and coughs because he chokes on food, try anti-voracity feeders.
Special mention requires the well-known kennel cough or infectious canine tracheobronchitis due to its dangerousness.
It is a constant, dry, and strong cough, produced by a bacterium that attacks the respiratory system. This bacterium is Bordetella Bronchiseptica and when the dog is infected, it is located in his bronchial tubes and trachea, making it difficult for him to breathe.
It is a very contagious cough, which, in addition, can become much more complicated if other viruses such as parainfluenza come into play.
For this reason, it requires urgent veterinary attention, because with the proper treatment it can be cured. Otherwise, it could get very complicated.