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7 Common Types of Dog Cough--How to Treat Them?

Updated by Sheryl on Oct 29, 2021

You feel concerned and anxious if any person in your family gets coughs, right? Similarly, when your dog coughs constantly, it can be an alarming situation. Typically, canines go through germs, dust, and allergens in everyday life. So, regular coughing three to four times a day is not a concern. But if your furry friend experiences persistent cough, it can be associated with different diseases.

The good news is, most conditions that cause cough in dogs can be easily treated. Keep reading to discover the types of coughs, and its available treatments.

dog with mouth open
  • What Are Causes of Dog Coughing
  • Common Types of Dog Cough and Treatment
  • When to Contact a Vet for A Coughing Dog
  • FAQs

Naturally, being social creatures, dogs love sniffing and slurping. So, they cough to get rid of anything they breathe in, including dust, allergens, cigarette smoke, germs, and even grass stems. Bacteria and viruses are among the most common causes of infectious cough in canines.

Unfortunately, most dog owners have no idea whether their pet has a medical problem or is just clearing its throat. So, have a look to find which type your pup is going through.

Infectious Cough

Different viruses, bacteria, fungi, yeast, and parasites attack the upper respiratory tract of your dog. As a result, your pet canine may suffer cough due to irritation, sore throat, mouth, and sinuses infection, and even partial blockage in the throat. Similarly, the canine influenza virus is also responsible for cough and fever in dogs.

Treatment: Most infectious canine coughs can go away through cough suppressants and antibiotics suggested by your vet. However, viral cough will go away in a few days. In addition, different medications are available for a cough related to yeast, fungi, and parasites.

depressed dog

Kennel Cough

It is the most common and infectious cough caused by bacteria and viruses alone or sometimes both. For example, if your dog has a persistent, deep, dry, forceful, and honking cough, it might be kennel cough. It is highly contagious. Symptoms may vary from mild to severe. But if the virus descends into the lungs, it may result in pneumonia and severe bronchitis.

Treatment: Its treatment includes antibiotics and cough medicines. Vaccines are also administered to prevent kennel cough, but they don't provide guaranteed protection against it. Mostly, your pet will recover within 3 to 6 weeks. However, contact your vet right away if symptoms persist for an extended period.

dog with a mask

Lung Problems

If your doggy is suffering from a moist phlegmy and wet cough, it could be due to fluid in its lungs. Mostly, the young and senior dogs with a weak immune system fall prey to pneumonia.

Treatment: Your vet may give your pet antibiotics and other supportive care to improve breathing.

sick dog with vet

Collapsed Tracheal Cough

If your young dog's (especially toy breeds and obese dogs) cough sounds like a goose honk, it can be due to tracheal collapse. It happens when the cartilage surrounding the trachea weakens and collapses. It can get severe in hot and humid weather and after doing an exercise.

Treatment: Your vet can only diagnose collapsed trachea in your pet. Treatment includes cough suppressants and inflammation-reducing medication. Severe cases require airways dilation surgery.

take dog see the vet

Reverse Sneeze

Reverse sneeze occurs due to irritation in the back of nasal passages. It can be due to postnasal discharge, fungi, parasites, or inhalation of foreign material. It sounds similar to cough but not an actual cough.

Treatment: It's like a regular sneeze, so no need to worry about it. But if it occurs repeatedly, you should consult a vet for a diagnosis.

dog in outside

Chronic Bronchitis

A dry hacking cough that worsens after exercise and excitement can be the result of bronchitis. It causes severe inflammation in the airways.

Treatment: It can be treated by inflammation-reducing medication that is mainly administered through inhalation.

dog cough

Inhalation Of Foreign Objects

When a dog inhales a foreign material or chokes a foreign object in its throat, it may experience constant coughing. It is an emergency that needs immediate action. Otherwise, it can be life-threatening.

Treatment: In normal cases, the body's natural response clears the air passage. But in extreme cases, surgery is required to remove the lodged object.

dog cough

Often, mild symptoms of cough recover within 2 to 3 days. However, you should consult a vet as soon as possible if your canine pet has;

  • Fever
  • Cough for more than a week
  • Phlegm
  • Lack of sleep, thirst, and hunger.
  • Lack of activity
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abnormal breathing

Your vet will prescribe further treatment depending on the condition of your dog. However, you can make your dog comfortable using a harness instead of a collar and keep your buddy in a well-humidified area.


If your dog has a bad cough, contact your vet as soon as possible. Don't try to treat it at home. Early diagnosis will help your dog to recover quickly. Most types of dog's coughs are treatable. In addition, certain life-threatening conditions such as distemper, heartworm disease, and canine congestive heart failure can be treated if diagnosed at an early stage. First, however, you should focus on improving the immunity of your dog. In addition, keep a sick dog away from kids and other pets until it recovers.

Why is your dog coughing like something is stuck in its throat?
If your dog has a hacking cough and persistently makes choking sounds, it may be suffering from kennel cough, canine upper respiratory tract infection, or tracheobronchitis.
How do you know if your dog's cough is serious?
Your dog's cough can be severe if it lasts more than a week, and lack of sleep, thirst, and activity. It may be soft and continuous during the daytime and worsens in the night when your dog is resting on its side. Please consult a vet as soon as possible in such a situation.
Sheryl is an editor from iPetor, owns extensive pet care experience. As a professional writer, she can provide useful pet care tips for all "parents".
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