Coughing in dogs is common on occasion as it is a natural protective reflex that helps clear your pet’s throat or their airways.
However, a chronic cough that last for more than four to five days is not common, and is almost always the first signal that you have that something may be seriously wrong with your dog.
Most all causes of this condition will be the result of an irritation to your pet’s respiratory system that includes their mouth, the nasal passages, the throat, the larynx or voice box.
It also includes the small airways of the lungs.
However, coughing in dogs may also be related to some type of problem developing with their hearts or their lungs.
But there is one thing for certain; it is not a good sign if it persists.
One of the first things you need to do is to very carefully listen to your dog as no one knows them better than you do, and then determine if is actually a cough.
A cough is a forceful act by your dog in an attempt to expel air from the lungs through the airways.
The real key to a cough is that your dog’s mouth will always be open in this process.
It is very easy to confuse coughing with gagging, wheezing, retching, or an attempt to vomit.
It can also be confused with labored breathing as well as what is referred to as reverse sneezing.
Reverse sneezing is actually more common in dogs that coughing.
It is the result of air being pulled in through the nose.
In a regular sneeze, the air in your dog’s noise is pushed out, not in.
If it is reverse sneezing, your dog will make rapid inspirations, stand very still, extend their head forward, and actually make a sound that sounds like a snort.
There is no coughing sound that sounds like a snort.
Their eyes may even bulge slightly, but none of this puts your dog in any real danger. However, coughing does.
Coughing in dogs will sound much different and it can produce many different types of sounds.
The type of sound will not only identify it as a cough, but it also gives you and your veterinarian an indication of what the actual cause may be.
If it is a hacking or honking like sound, it is almost always a condition that is either developing or has developed in your dog’s airways or their bronchi.
If this coughing affects your pets trachea, which is the tube in the throat and upper thoracic cavity in which air passes in normal respiration, it can be especially dangerous.
Small breeds or toy breeds are especially prone to tracheal collapse.
This form of coughing in dogs will sound almost exactly the same as goose honking.
It is the same type of sound you will hear in any dog if their collar is too tight or if you accidentally pull them to hard.
If coughing in dogs is more subtle sounding where it sounds almost light a half of a cough, it is still very dangerous.
It signifies that your pet may be developing pulmonary edema, which is fluid in their lungs.
If the cough is muffled and sounds like it is almost moist, this is a sign of some type of an infection in their lungs or the beginning stages of congestive heart failure.
The time of day that your dog is coughing is also very important to note as this will be extremely valuable to your veterinarian in determining what the cause may be.
If your dog is starting to cough at night when they are settling down, it is almost always some type of heart disease that is starting to develop.
However, this is why it is so important to catch any type of coughing as early as you can, because as the heart condition grows, your pet will start to cough all the time.
If the coughing develops after any type of exercise, this is an indication of some type of bronchitis.
As important as the sounds and the time of the cough are, so is the type and there will two types; productive and non-productive.
If the cough is productive, this does not imply that it is good; it simply implies that something is generally coughed up.
It could be a watery fluid, some type of pus, or even blood; but again be careful not to confuse it with vomiting.
A productive cough is almost always associated with a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. A non-productive cough will make sounds, but produces no type of discharge.
This type of cough is generally a lung disease, an allergic reaction to something, or a heart condition.
Coughing in dogs can have several potential causes and will include bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasite infections, as well as tumors or allergies.
However, it could also be the result of some type of trauma or something physical.
If it is the result of a trauma, the sound that you hear will almost always be a honking sound and is usually caused by excessive pressure by your dog’s collar.
However, it can also be caused by excessive barking.
This type of coughing is non-productive and can easily be corrected if the trauma has not caused any real damage.
If it is the result of a physical factor, it could be a collapsed trachea, some type of a foreign body, or even tonsillitis.
The sound with this cough will also be a goose honking sound, and it will be productive as either liquid or blood will be expelled.
If it is an allergic reaction, it will be a subtle light sounding cough that is non-productive.
In this case it is usually allergic bronchitis or a reaction to second hand smoke. A tumor or cancer of some type will produce a non-productive coughing in dogs.
This case could include labored breathing because of the pressure the tumor is producing.
Bacterial infections will produce a productive cough and may also be associated with a high fever and your dog may become ill very rapidly, depending on the type of bacterium.
Viral infections will also produce a productive coughing in dogs and may be associated with dyspnea, also known as air hunger.
These are especially dangerous coughs, as they could also be complicated by bacterial infections.
However, the most dangerous of all the causes will be from parasites that will produce a non-productive cough and are the result of lung-worms, hookworms, roundworms, or the most dangerous of any infection in your dog; heart worms.
It only takes one or two heart worms to be fatal to a dog that is not protected.
Coughing in dogs can be a minor incident, or it can be something very sinister that is slowly or rapidly attacking your pet. Listen to the cough, its sound, the time, and what type of cough it is.
If you do, it may save your pets life, as coughing in dogs is one of the worst sound you can ever hear from your pet.
Pet Medications for Coughing in Dogs
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