Our dogs bring boundless joy into our lives, so when we notice them coughing, it can be a cause for concern. Just like humans, dogs can experience coughing for various reasons. While occasional coughing might be harmless, persistent or severe coughing warrants attention and understanding. In this blog, we'll review some common reasons why your dog might be coughing and what you can do to help.
One of the most common reasons for a dog's cough is kennel cough, a highly contagious respiratory infection. Often contracted in places where dogs congregate, such as kennels or dog parks, kennel cough is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria. Symptoms include a persistent dry cough, sometimes accompanied by retching or gagging. Although it's usually not life threatening, consulting with your veterinarian is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment as it has the ability to develop into pneumonia.
Heartworm disease, caused by the parasitic worm Dirofilaria immitis, primarily affects the heart and lungs of dogs. Coughing is a common symptom, especially in advanced stages. Regular preventative measures, such as yearly checks nad heartworm medication, are crucial to protect your dog. If your dog is already showing signs of heartworm disease, we recommend seeing your veterinarian as quickly as possible.
Some dogs, especially small breeds, are prone to tracheal problems. Tracheal collapse occurs when the cartilage rings supporting the trachea weaken, leading to coughing, especially during excitement or physical activity. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight, using a harness instead of a collar, and avoiding exposure to irritants can help manage tracheal issues.
Bacterial or viral infections affecting the respiratory system can cause coughing in dogs. Pneumonia, bronchitis, and other respiratory illnesses may present with coughing as a primary symptom. A veterinarian can determine the underlying cause through diagnostic tests and prescribe appropriate medications.
Just like humans, dogs can suffer from allergies that manifest as coughing. Common allergens include pollen, mold, dust mites, and certain foods. Identifying and minimizing exposure to allergens, along with veterinary guidance, can help manage allergy-related coughing.
Inquisitive dogs may ingest foreign objects that can irritate the respiratory tract, leading to coughing. If you suspect your dog has swallowed something unusual, seek veterinary assistance promptly.
While occasional coughing may not be cause for alarm, persistent or severe coughing should prompt a visit to the veterinarian. Early detection and proper diagnosis are important for effective treatment. Regular veterinary check-ups, a healthy lifestyle, and preventive measures can contribute to your dog's overall well-being and minimize the risk of respiratory issues. Remember, a happy, healthy dog is a cherished companion for life!