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Why Is My Dog Coughing?

Why Is My Dog Coughing?

If your dog has begun coughing, it means something is irritating their throat, airways, or lungs. Some causes are easy to treat while others can become more serious and difficult to treat. Here, our Franklin veterinarians explain some of the possible causes. 

Why is My Dog Coughing?

Listening to your dog cough, regardless of the cause, can be alarming. The dog can become agitated, apprehensive and each cough looks as though it will be their last.

If your dog has an ongoing or severe cough, it is important to see your veterinarian right away so they make a proper diagnosis. 

The nature of the cough along with other physical findings by your vet may be helpful in diagnosing the underlying cause.

Below our Franklin vets share some of the possible causes of your dog's cough.

Common Causes for Dog Coughing

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is the common name for a deep, hacking canine cough. Is highly contagious, but it's not typically a serious problem as long as your dog is eating well and acting like themselves.


This virus spreads through the air. It's serious but can be prevented with a vaccine.

Fungal Infection

Yeast and other fungi can be picked up in dirt or through the air. There are prescription medications that can help.


Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitos. If you live in an area with these bugs, your dog is more at risk. You can get preventative medicine from your vet.

Heart disease

Leaky valves and other problems can weaken and thicken the heart muscle. This puts pressure on the lungs and airways.


Coughing can be a sign of pneumonia, which can be diagnosed with X-rays and may respond to antibiotics and other therapies. 

Congestive Heart Failure

Coughing may also be a sign of congestive heart failure, which be diagnosed by your vet with ultrasound or electrocardiogram.

Collapsed Trachea

It is a progressive condition when the dog's windpipe weakens causing a harsh, dry cough, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. It is more common in small dogs.

Canine Influenza

Dogs, like humans, are subject to contracting the flu, known in dogs as canine influenza. The cough exists as the result of a respiratory infection that can last anywhere from ten to thirty days.

Reverse Sneeze

While technically not a cough, many dog owners mistake the sound of a reverse sneeze with coughing. Reverse sneezes tend to occur in clusters and are produced when something irritates the back of the nasal passages.

Treatment for Dog Coughing

Treatment for your dog's cough will depend on what’s causing it. Don’t treat your pet without talking to a vet.

Options for treatment may include cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroids or other drugs, and even surgery, but you should work with your vet to find the best option.

If your dog is coughing, contact our Franklin vets right away. Early diagnosis and treatment will give your pooch the speediest recovery possible.

New Patients Welcome

Advanced Veterinary Care is accepting new patients! Our friendly and experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Franklin companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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