PetMeds® Why is My Dog Coughing?

A common question asked by many patients includes: “My dog started coughing. What does it mean?”  Coughing can have many causes in pets from inhalant dust/irritants/allergens to more complex medical issues. Acute coughing can sometimes be due to bacterial or viral infections such as with kennel cough complex in dogs, especially if there is recent history of exposure to other dogs at a dog park, grooming or boarding facility, then kennel cough is certainly on our “rule out” list.

Other dogs may cough because of:

  • Anatomic problems of their airways such as a narrowed windpipe known as a collapsing trachea.
  • Allergic/inflammatory airway disease (known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
  • Parasites like roundworms or heartworms, which is why it’s important to have periodic stool checks and heartworm blood tests at your veterinarian’s office.

Other diseases like various heart diseases, inflammations or infections of the chest cavity as well as even cancer in the lungs can all present with coughing as a symptom.

If a cough is mild and/or short lived, an animal guardian can always try boosting the immune system with supplements like Vetri-DMG liquid or Vitamin C.  Antihistamines like Chlorphenirimine or Benadryl can help if cough is allergic based. However, if the cough is severe, chronic, or persistent then a full workup and exam at the local veterinarian is recommended to determine the specific cause and best course of treatment.

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84 Comments

  1. I would return to vet for full exam and recheck. He may need alternative antibiotic and/or possibly alternative cough medicine. My favorite in cases like this is prescription Temaril P.

  2. My 14 year old Jack Russell Terrier had his teeth cleaned 4 days ago, and one tooth pulled, as the dental xrays showed tooth resorption. He has had a mild cough that was chalked up to allergies, before, and was on antibiotics and Temaril P, and his cough had improved some, but after the cleaning, the cough has gotten much worse, Still taking antibiotics and the Temaril P. It has not improved. If it is inflamed from the tube down his throat, while under anesthesia, then how long does that last. Nothing is helping.

  3. HI SHirley. Sorry to hear about your dog’s cough. It very well could be from the irritation from the tracheal tube used during the dental cleaning. You could try mucinex cough medicine for children at a dose of 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight 3 to 4 times daily. If signs persist or worsen, see your vet for recheck as may need stronger antibiotic

  4. I puppy sit for my friend he has a 3 to 31/2 black and white chauahwa female she has just started a raspy cough then throws up she is a very special little girl and I know something s but this has me stumped and she is larthegic she has been around other dogs from what I understand that has had no puppy shots or anything sissy has had hers and been wormed. Can you please help me and explain about the Robitussin.

  5. These little breeds can cough for many reasons; not just an acute viral or bacterial cough, but also due to collapsing tracheas, or COPD to name a few. I would have the guardian bring dog to local vet if signs persist to workup; for now, I would try Mucinex cough medicine for children at dose of 1/2 teaspoon per 5 pounds twice daily if needed

  6. My 10 year old chihuahua has always sneezed lately he developed a cough.has been coughing for a month mostly when up on his feet

  7. Many possibilities from my most likely thought being collapsing trachea in this breed which can cause hacking, cough to something known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD), to allergic airway disease, to leaky mitral valves of the heart. Full vet exam and evaluation needed here

  8. i have a 4ib chihuah has been going to vet he has no heart problem they said but he drinks lots of water had has this very loud honking cough and sometimes has a small amount of fluid in one of his lungs he is on furosimide and a antihistimine but after a few weeks we go thru the same thing vet says they dont know what the problem is they did just say he does have colasping trahua so why is he on furosimide this is an on going thing i need some answers

  9. HI Julie. Given your description of symptoms in your chihuahua, most likely has some degree of tracheal collapse or chronic obstructive pulmonary or airway disease(i.e bronchitis) involved with chronic cough, especially if no heart murmur and vet has ruled out heart issues. I DONT find that furosemide or antihistamine helps with these conditions. Your pet likely needs cough suppressant like prescription cough suppressant like hydrocodone, and/or low dose anti inflammatory cough meds like temaril p or other low dose prednisone which your vet can prescribe. However, I would first see another vet for second opinion to confirm diagnosis and rule out other issues like infections, parasites of airways, etc

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