The Root of the Behavior
Usually, dogs that suddenly start coughing, gagging, snorting, or sneezing are showing signs of a health issue. It could be something as simple as an allergy or a symptom of a serious disease. As a pet parent, you need to take action quickly before the situation gets worse. First, determine that it isn’t an isolated cough that is caused by drinking or eating too fast. This is just a sign that your dog is an aggressive eater. The solution is most likely adjusting his diet and discussing nutritional value with a veterinarian. If your dog is healthy and suddenly comes home coughing from doggie daycare, the dog park, or any other public place he might have picked up an illness, you should see a veterinarian right away. Also, a cough can begin at any time of day or night whether you are at home or across town. Usually, coughs are a symptom of other issues such as heart disease, kennel cough, pneumonia, reverse sneezing, or tracheal collapse.
A constant cough needs to be addressed by a licensed veterinarian. Doctors will conduct a thorough exam to determine the underlying cause of the symptom. A kennel cough is a common diagnosis among dogs. It’s a dry hacking cough that makes you think your dog is trying to hack something up. It could also sound like he is gagging. Evidence of kennel cough is often discovered after a good game of fetch that causes your dog to experience coughing spasms. Exertion after exercise combined with a cough can also be a sign of heart disease. A dog doesn’t need to actually visit a kennel to get a cough. He could pick up the germ anywhere in public such as a dog park, veterinarian office waiting room, playdate with other dogs, or simply walking in the neighborhood. A kennel cough is an easy to treat illness with the help of an experienced veterinarian.
Encouraging the Behavior
Pet parents that try to take the health of their dog in their own hands will find it difficult to diagnose and treat a cough. A common scenario is pet parents thinking their dog is in good health because a cough only lasted two days then went away. If a dog has heart disease, he might experience coughing on and off throughout their lifetime that comes and goes. It might seem like nothing but it’s actually a sign of heart disease. If the cough symptom gets ignored, the disease can rapidly get worse and get to a point that it’s too late to treat the disease.
This is devastating to pet parents and they often blame themselves for not notifying the veterinarian the first time they noticed a cough. Another popular scenario involves pet parents trying to encourage their dog to cough because they think he is choking on something. Some owners go as far as forcing their dog to vomit. Unfortunately, this scenario often ends similar to the last one. Coughing needs to always be taken seriously since it can be a sign of serious illness. Postponing treatment can make the situation worse and allow it to get to a point where treatment will not help, which leads to death.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Some possible conditions other than the ones listed above that accompany a cough are heartworm disease, cancer, and chronic bronchitis. A veterinarian will be able to determine the cause of the cough. Health conditions that are caught in its early stages are usually treated with medication and other methods that are determined by the veterinarian. Seeking immediate treatment for a cough is essential to preventing illnesses from getting worse or spreading. Always observe your dog’s behavior and become familiar with his health. If you notice coughing, it’s time to contact the veterinarian to make an appointment. A visit to the local animal hospital or veterinarian can save your dog’s life.