Can Dogs Cough? 5 Major Reasons Why Your Pooch Might Be Coughing Non-Stop!

Can Dogs Cough? 5 Major Reasons Why Your Pooch Might Be Coughing Non-Stop!

You might have heard your dog hacking away or constantly making noises that sound like they’re choking. At such times, you must have probably wondered if your dog is coughing. But, wait a sec, Can Dogs Cough?

The answer is yes, dogs can cough. Like humans, dogs can suffer from colds and show symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and coughing. Sometimes a cough might be nothing to worry about, but other times the coughs may be a symptom of a life-threatening condition. You might have a lot of questions regarding your pup coughing. Don’t worry we’re here to clear all your doubts. Continue reading to learn everything about coughing in dogs.

Types of Coughing in Dogs

There might be various reasons for your dog’s cough – External particles like dust, dirt that entered their throat, colds, or allergies. However, if you can differentiate between different types of coughing in your dog as well, you can easily discern your pup’s symptoms and quickly follow up for their treatment. Some examples of different types of coughing in dogs are listed below:

  • Wet Cough – Moist sounding coughs
  • Hacking Cough – Dry sounding coughs (Sounds as if the dog is trying to get something out of the throat)
  • Honking cough – Almost sounds like a goose honk
  • Gagging cough – A high-pitched gag sound while coughing
  • Coughing in sleep – Only coughing while sleeping

Each type of cough comes with its own particular problems.

In case their cough becomes persistent get to a vet as soon as possible. If you can correctly identify the type of coughs your dog is facing, you can relay it to your vet for faster and more reliable treatment.

You might also be interested in “Can Dogs Get Cold?”

Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis is a respiratory infection in dogs caused by a number of bacteria and viruses. Many dogs contract kennel cough during their lives. It is a highly contagious disease but it isn’t much life-threatening. Kennel cough usually clears up without any medical treatment within a few weeks. However, in puppies, elderly dogs, and dogs with existing medical conditions kennel cough can develop into a much more dangerous condition, like Pneumonia.

Causes of Kennel Cough

Dogs can come down with kennel cough if they inhale the bacteria or viruses responsible for the disease. Bordetella bronchiseptica, a bacteria strain is the most common cause of kennel cough in dogs. There are also a few viruses that can induce kennel coughs in your pup, some of them being canine herpes, parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus, and canine distemper virus.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

A deep, dry, forceful, and hacking cough signifies kennel cough in dogs. There aren’t many symptoms for kennel cough other than dry coughs. Most dogs will have a healthy appetite and will remain fit. Still, some dogs will have a runny nose, sneezing, or eye discharge.

How Do Dogs Get Kennel Cough?

Many dogs get kennel cough from being in shelters and dog kennels; hence the name. They can contract the disease by staying around other dogs with the same illness. Kennel cough is also highly contagious, meaning it can easily spread between two or more dogs. One dog may spread the disease to another simply by coughing. It can also be transmitted through dog toys, food bowls, and shared objects. The incubation period for the disease is between 2 and 14 days. Your dog’s immune system will fight against the infection but there are certain environmental factors that leave them more vulnerable to the illness. The main reasons why your dog might be coughing are: 

  1. Cold Temperatures
  2. Poor Ventilation
  3. Heavy dust
  4. Cigarette smoke
  5. Crowded places

Treatment of Kennel Cough

Most dogs recover from Kennel cough without any medical treatment. It usually clears up within three to six weeks. If your dog has a healthy appetite and seems fit, you can use home remedies to make your canine buddy more comfortable. Some of the remedies include keeping them in a humid area and avoiding the use of a collar. With plenty of rest, your pup should recover quickly.

If you’re still worried, you can take your dog to see the vet. The vet can provide you with some antibiotics, canine cough medicines, and anti-inflammatories to soothe the pain.

Also, Check out Can Dogs Have Cough Drops?

Protection against some viruses that can cause kennel cough is included in puppy and booster vaccinations, but since kennel cough has a wide range of causes and strains, the vaccination can’t fully guarantee protection against kennel cough.

Also, check out this Safe Bay Dog Cough Supplement on Amazon that is sure to get rid of your pet’s persistent coughing.

Can Humans Get Kennel Cough?

No, humans can’t get kennel cough. The viruses and strains are species-specific, meaning that most canine viruses can’t be transmitted to humans. Still, the main bacteria, Bordetella bronchisepticacan infect humans with weakened immune systems. Since such cases are very rare, it shouldn’t be much of a concern.

Other Reasons of Kennel Cough

  • Sore Throat and Blockage:

High-pitched, gagging coughs mostly signify throat issues like upper airway irritation, infection, or blockage. Blockage in your dog’s esophagus can be life-threatening if not treated right away. If your dog does have a blockage, seek immediate veterinary care as soon as possible.

  • Lung Problems:

Wet coughs could be a symptom of lung problems. The wet, gargling sound might mean that there is fluid in your dog’s lungs. In this case, breathing will be labored even while the dog isn’t coughing. If you find the cause of your dog’s coughs to be lung problems, rush to the vet as soon as possible.

  • Tracheal Collapse:

A honking cough usually indicates tracheal collapse. Obese dogs and toy breeds are more likely to develop tracheal collapse. It sounds almost as it would when your dog is pulling against his/her collar.

  • Heart Diseases:

Various heart diseases may also be the reason behind your dog’s coughing. When the heart doesn’t pump blood properly, fluid starts accumulating in the lungs. This condition is known as Congestive Heart Failure.

Other Less Common Causes of Dog Cough

When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog’s Coughs?

If your dog has occasional colds due to the change in the seasons, or if their coughs are short-lived, you don’t have much to worry about. If you let your pup has enough rest and exercise, they can get better in no time. But, if your dog is coughing consistently or frequently, it might be better to call your vet as soon as you can. If you notice your dog coughing in an unnatural way, check their airways first. Make sure there is no obstruction. Still, whether or not there are any foreign objects in the airways, rush to the vet. Explain the situation briefly to your vet for faster and more reliable treatment.

Your vet can then diagnose your dog through various methods. Some of the diagnosis methods are:

  • X-rays
  • Fecal Exam
  • A physical exam
  • Urinalysis
  • Blood Pressure Management

After the diagnosis, treatment will depend on the cause of the cough. Your vet might prescribe some antibiotics against bacteria along with some cough suppressants. However, if the cause of your pooch’s cough is much more dangerous like tracheal collapse, Lung Cancer, and heart diseases, surgery might be necessary.


So, the conclusion to the question “Can Dogs Cough?” is yes. Like humans’ dogs can also catch colds or get infected with viruses and bacteria. You don’t have to worry if your dog has occasional coughs but if they’re coughing persistently, get a vet to take a look at your dog as soon as possible. The sooner you get your pup to a vet, the higher chance they have for recovery.

Thank you for reading the article.

To explore more, check out other articles that we have covered on kennel cough. 

Has your dog ever suffered from kennel cough? What measures do you take to prevent cough in dogs? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!

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