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4 min read

Can Dogs Get a Sore Throat?


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What a morning, huh? Fever, coughing, no appetite, could hardly swallow and that gagging noise, even when drinking water. Your dog has been having a hard time for the last couple of days, and even though you're pretty sure you already know what the diagnosis will be, you take your pet to the vet. Your pet has a sore throat. But wait, can dogs get a sore throat, just like people can?  

Sore throats are a common malady in humans, although they normally are just a temporary inconvenience that will go away. We usually don't even think about going to the doctor, and sometimes just self-medicate with cough medicine unless a sore throat is severe or lasts for a prolonged period. In humans, sore throats are easy to treat most of the time, and the causes are easy to determine, like a simple cold or the flu. It's only in extreme instances when a sore throat is something more serious, like an indication of throat cancer or asthma.

Ordinarily, a sore throat in humans can be remedied by drinking warm liquids, such as tea with a teaspoonful of honey, and taking over-the-counter medication.

For us, a sore throat can begin with an itchy feeling frequently caused by a dry cough, which is simply a cough that doesn't produce any phlegm. There can also be a pain in the throat because viruses or other infections cause throat pain. Gargling with salt water brings fast relief in these cases. However, difficulty swallowing or swollen lymph glands always require a doctor's attention.

Can Dogs Get a Sore Throat?


They can get one as a result of kennel cough and the persistent, hacking cough that comes with it, or they can get a sore throat as a result of a viral or bacterial infection or other disease.

Does My Dog Have a Sore Throat?

How can you tell if your dog has a sore throat? Here are some of the symptoms you should look out for:

  • Excessive drooling

  • Inflamed throat

  • Coughing

  • Fever

  • Obvious discomfort when swallowing

  • Not eating

Some of the reasons why a dog might get a sore throat include:

  • Tonsillitis: Since dogs have tonsils, they can also get tonsillitis. This condition develops mostly in small dog breeds.

  • Chronic disease in the mouth: This is usually caused by tartar buildup on the teeth or the bacterial infections that come with a periodontal disease.

  • Strep throat: The bacteria which causes strep throat in humans does not always lead to the same condition in dogs. But dogs can get a transient infection which can result from coming into contact with a person who has strep throat.

  • Canine flu: This is very contagious. Your dog can catch it from another infected dog or can also pick it up from objects such as an infected ball or toy, just by picking it up with his mouth.

  • Respiratory or sinus infection.

  • A foreign object stuck in the throat.

How Do I Treat My Dog's Sore Throat?

If your dog has a sore throat:

Antibiotics will be given if there is a respiratory or sinus infection. Antibiotics may also be prescribed if there is a foreign object stuck in the dog's mouth or throat, which has to be extracted by the vet or surgically removed.

Herbal tea may be administered with a teaspoon of peppermint, sage, and thyme in the mixture.

Feed your pup canned food with some water added in to soothe his throat.

Your dog should recover from a typical sore throat within three days to a week. Once you begin administering treatment, you should see improvement within a day or two. However, if the situation is more serious, it can take as long as two weeks to a month.

How Is a Sore Throat Similar in Dogs, Humans and Other Pets?


Dogs are susceptible to several of the same diseases as humans, including:


  • Streptococcal infections: This is something that puppies and senior dogs are most vulnerable to because their immune systems are not fully developed or aren't working in top form. Humans are more susceptible to this illness if they're very young or elderly, too. This is also true for cats.


  • Periodontal disease: Usually, this results from tartar accumulation on the teeth or a bacterial infection, just like it does in people. This is true for cats, too.

How Is a Sore Throat Different in Dogs, Humans and Other Pets?

While it is true that dogs get sore throats just like humans and cats do, the big differences are some of the reasons behind it.

  • Objects that get lodged in the mouth or throat

  • Cuts or injuries in the mouth or throat

  • Systemic diseases like the parvovirus or canine distemper

  • Autoimmune diseases

Vice versa, humans have their own set of causes for a sore throat that doesn't apply to dogs.

Case Study

Can your dog get a sore throat by barking too much? It is possible for your dog's throat to become sore after excessive barking. After all, your dog uses his or her throat to produce the barking sounds.

However, it may be difficult to isolate a sore throat just from excessive barking. One way you could tell is by hearing a different barking sound--specifically, any noticeable shift in the tone of your dog's bark. If it starts to sound hoarse, your dog may have a sore throat.

Paying to treat conditions relating to a sore throat out of pocket can be a major financial burden. Fortunately, most pet insurance companies reimburse claims within 3 days, putting 90% of the bill back in your pocket. In the market for pet insurance? Compare leading pet insurance companies to find the right plan for your pet.

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