Unlike humans, dogs explore the world with their noses and even their mouths. This means your dog comes in contact with all sorts of different things, including dust, germs, and other particles found in their natural environment. All of these things can make your dog cough, especially if they get a big nose or mouthful! This makes it difficult to decipher whether your dog is simply clearing their throat or if the cough means something more serious is going on.
In order to help you know when to call the vet and when to give just your dog a gentle pat on the back, let's go over some of the signs your dog's cough elicits concern.
Signs a Dog's Cough is Serious
A good place to start is to ask yourself the following:
- Does the cough sound deep and dry? Or is it wet and phlegmy?
- Is your dog making a 'honking' noise when they cough?
- Does your dog only cough when they are sleeping?
- Does the cough sound high-pitched?
Each of these cough symptoms is associated with different problems that could plague your dog. In order for your vet to help you determine if it is serious or not, it is important you are as detailed and descriptive as possible.
There are many different common problems linked to coughing, including kennel cough, sore throat, lung issues such as pneumonia, tracheal collapse, and heart disease. However, please remember not to panic and that, in many cases, your dog simply has a tickle in their throat! Reverse sneezing is also a very common condition in small breed dogs that is often mistaken for a cough.
- Lip licking
- Deep, Wet Coughing
- Noticeable Phlegm or Mucous
- Making Swallowing Motions
History of Dogs Coughing
When it comes to determining what is going on, your vet will look at your dog's detailed medical history and also conduct a physical examination. Remember, this is common and something all dogs will probably deal with at one time or another! Try not to panic, but do proceed with caution and make sure your dog is seen by your vet if it seems out of the ordinary.
Science Behind Dogs Coughing
Coughs are usually categorized as moist and phlegmy or harsh and dry. When your dog's cough is wet-sounding, it may indicate there is a buildup of fluid (water, blood, or pus) in the lungs, trachea, or airways. Dogs that spend more time outdoors - whether it be hunting or sniffing their surroundings for pleasure - may cough because they've inhaled grasses or other foreign materials.
Training Your Dog Not to Cough
How to React When Your Dog Coughs:
Stay calm and listen closely.
Do your research on the different types of coughs and what they sound like.
Call your vet if the cough is out of the ordinary or comes with other symptoms.
Safety Tips for When Your Dog Coughs:
Call your vet and explain to them the symptoms your dog is exhibiting.
Separate your dog from other animals (their cough could be contagious).