Coughing and gagging are problems that we see regularly in dogs. We make a distinction between dogs who have acute problems with dogs and dogs that are chronically suffering from cough complaints. On this page you will find everything you need to know about cough symptoms in the dog.
What are the possible causes of coughing in dogs ?
As mentioned earlier, we distinguish between dogs that cough acutely, so the cough symptoms have only recently started to play, and dogs that cough for a long time.
The causes of acute coughing :
– Kennel cough.
This is by far the most common cause of acute coughing in dogs. Dogs with kennel cough are usually not sick, are still cheerful and eat well. They can cough up white mucus and owners often think that the dog has something in the throat. Read all about kennel cough with the dog on our information page.
– The dog has something in the throat.
This is very rare. Sometimes there is a bone stuck in the throat, but this can be anything. Often the owner has seen that the dog had something in the mouth before the cough symptoms started. Dogs with something in the throat gagging often also violently.
– A pneumonia.
Pneumonia can occur from an acute anterior respiratory infection (such as kennel cough) or after a choking. Dogs who breathe water when swimming can also contract pneumonia. In case of pneumonia the dog is also generally ill. In addition to coughing, the dog eats less or no more and problems with breathing can also occur.
– Longworms and heartworms.
These are rare causes of coughing in dogs, and both can also be the cause of chronic cough complaints. Read elsewhere on our website more about heartworms in the dog and lung worms in the dog.
The causes of chronic coughing are :
– Heart failure.
Dogs with heart problems can go into what we call heart failure. Usually, there is fluid in the lungs in heart failure. Dogs with fluid in the lungs due to heart failure can cough, breathe more easily and get an accelerated breathing (more than 30 times per minute at rest). Dogs with heart failure can also have an enlarged heart. Sometimes the heart becomes so large that the trachea is pressed against the vertebrae. At each heartbeat the trachea tapes against the vertebrae. This can also cause cough symptoms in dogs. Also look for more information on heart failure in the dog.
– A flattened trachea (trachea collaps).
This is a problem we see only in small dog breeds, such as the Chihuahua, Yorkshire terrier or other terriers. With a trachea collaps, the trachea has become flattened instead of round so that the walls of the trachea touch each other. This allows the dog to cough mild to severe and sometimes also difficulty breathing. A trachea collaps is a condition that typically occurs in older dogs.
– Chronic (allergic) bronchitis.
This is similar to asthmatic bronchitis in humans. In chronic bronchitis, there is inflammation in the bronchus, the smaller airway branches. The cause can be an allergy, but is usually not available. These dogs can best be treated with inhalation medication, the so-called “puffertjes”. These contain medications that are anti-inflammatory and promote mucous discharge from the bronchus and also dilate the bronchus.
– Lung tumors.
Fortunately, this cause of coughing in dogs is less common to the previous causes. Usually these metastases of tumors elsewhere in the body to the lungs. Often there are also other complaints present, such as losing weight and a worse appetite.
– A foreign object (this is something that should not be in the body) in the lungs.
Sometimes, for example, a dog inhales a crawler (see also our blog message about crawlers in the dog) and this is in the lungs.
What can I do if my dog ??suffers from coughing ?
Because there are many different causes of coughing in the dog, this depends on the cause. By far the most common cause of acute coughing in the dog is kennel cough. Mild cases of kennel cough usually disappear with a few days. More serious cases can be better treated with an antibiotic cure.