Cough is a reflex that is initiated by an irritant in the air passages. It is a sign common to many diseases that occur in the dog.

A cough may be caused by an infection (virus, bacteria, fungus or parasite), an inhaled irritant such as smoke or chemicals, foreign objects (everything from tiny grass seeds to food particles lodged in the throat or windpipe), pressure from tight collars, growths of the air passages and allergies to many different substances.


(1) A high, harsh, dry, barking cough is typical of diseases such as Kennel Cough (cough without Phlegm).

(2) A moist, bubbling cough indicates the presence of Fluid and Phlegm.

(3) A high, weak, gagging cough associated with swallowing repeatedly or licking of the lips is characteristic of Tonsillitis and Sore Throat.

(4) A gagging, choking sound (not a true cough) where the dog may appear to be even trying to vomit suggests something lodged in his throat or mouth.

(5) A deep, tight, wheezy cough is heard with Chronic Bronchitis and also Allergic Bronchitis (Asthma).

(6) A spasm of prolonged coughing, which follows exercise or occurs at night when the dog is laying down, suggests Heart Disease.

(7) A cough that occurs after drinking may be caused by leakage of fluid into the windpipe from faulty closure of the Epiglottis. Just one reason for this, may be something trapped in the dogs windpipe.

Coughs are self perpetuating. Coughing itself irritates the airways, dries out the mucus lining and lowers resistance to infection, leading to further coughing.

TREATMENT: Only minor coughs of brief duration should be treated by the owner without the professional assistance of a Vet. Coughs accompanied by fever, difficulty breathing, discharge from the eyes and nose or any other signs of serious illness require Veterinary Attention as soon as possible. When attempting to treat their dogs cough at home, Cough Suppressants should not be given to dogs in whom Phlegm is being brought up or swallowed. These coughs are clearing unwanted material from the airway. "Cough Suppressants purchased from a drug store DO NOT treat the disease or condition causing it, therefore using it may delay much needed Diagnosis and Treatment by a Vet".

NOTE: Pneumonia whether Infectious or Noninfectious cannot be treated without immediate Veterinary Assistance.

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