Dog Training

Dog coughs and chokes? (7 interesting facts)

Almost every dog owner has heard their dog cough or gag at some point. Are you sure? But when is it safe and when should you act? We will show you in this article. In addition, for this article we have obtained advice from the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic.

Dog cough
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Whether the cough occurred after eating too hastily, drinking too quickly, or after strenuous physical activity. Coughing is a natural reflex of your pet. This reflex is to help remove foreign bodies or various secretions from the airways as quickly as possible.

Why do dogs cough?

Coughing is not necessarily a sign that your protégé is sick. It is just like you: a symptom.

A distinction is made between dry and moist cough.

Dry cough sounds hard and rough. It is also painful for your pet. Dry coughs can be triggered by infections or inflammation of the respiratory tract. If you've personally ever had a rough cough, you know how agonizing it can be. 

When wet cough your pelt-nose usually throws up sputum. You can recognize this type of cough by the fact that it sounds softer and also rattling or gurgling. If the cough is rather moist, pneumonia may be a possibility.

In both forms, retching may occur. However, wet cough is often accompanied by vomiting of fluid or mucus.

Causes & Symptoms

Coughing in dogs can have many different causes. A common reason for coughing is an acute or chronic disease of the respiratory tract. The reason is often bacteria or viruses.

Also, an allergy can be the trigger. 

You should always consult your veterinarian if the cough does not subside or if it occurs on a regular basis.

1. heart cough

Often the animals suffer from the so-called heart cough. Especially if your dog is a bit older, you should consider the heart cough as a cause. This is caused by dilated or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or colloquially a Causes enlargement of the heart muscle. 

In a normally functioning heart, oxygen-rich blood flows into the left ventricle and is then pumped into the aorta.

In most cases, a valve defect is the cause of cardiac muscle enlargement and/or thickening. This valve defect causes congestion in the lungs, which leads to pulmonary edema and subsequently to breathing difficulties. 

The main cause of the heart cough However, is the enlarged heart that due to their significant increase in size presses on the trachea and large bronchi of the lungs. This mechanical stimulus then causes the cough.

Four-legged friends who have this cough often also suffer from Loss of appetite. That is why they often lose additional weight. In addition, there may still be symptoms such as Shortness of breath or heavy panting come to it. The cough sounds more like a gurgle and occurs more at night. 

If you observe that your faithful friend is suffering from such a cough, you should consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Your veterinarian can use cardiac auscultation, an EKG, or an ultrasound to find out exactly what your pet is suffering from. He can also determine which treatment is the best possible. 

Treatment for heart disease is done with medications that relieve the heart. This ensures a higher quality of life for your furry companion.

2. fast eating

Diet plays a big role in the health of your charge. Very fast gulping can cause coughing. Because it is not uncommon for a chunk to enter the respiratory tract. This situation is due to the extremely high Risk of suffocation life-threatening for your darling.

Another consequence for your four-legged friend is a dangerous Gastric torsion.

If your hairy companion gulps down his food very hastily, it is recommended to give him a Anti-snare to get. 

If you are barfeeding or preparing his food yourself, cut the pieces large enough to force your pelt nose to chew.

3. allergies or polluted air

An allergy or polluted air can be a trigger for cough. 

If you have a lot smokes and your pet suffers from coughing, it is very likely that smoke is the cause. In this case, it is advisable to stop smoking as much as possible or not to smoke in the presence of your pet.

With a Allergy the attending veterinarian must decide what the further treatment will be. 

Other external circumstances, such as Dry room air can be to blame for the cough. If the air in the room is dry, a simple humidifier can help.

4. lung tumor

In lung tumors, coughing is one of the first signs. However, this symptom also occurs quite late. Usually when the cancer has already metastasized or is greatly enlarged.

The cough in lung tumors may occur at irregularly large intervals or may be chronic. Other symptoms include weight loss, decrease in performance, fever, and fluid in the lungs. 

If your pet has been diagnosed with a lung tumor, euthanasia is often the only way to end his suffering. However, individual tumors that have not metastasized can be surgically removed. 

Various medications can also prolong and improve his life in the short term. A tumor in a dog is usually detected by an X-ray examination.

5. tracheal collapse

Tracheal collapse could be another reason for the cough. This occurs mainly in dwarf dog breeds, such as Yorkshire Terrier or Maltese. 

In this disease, the trachea collapses. Tracheal collapse can be treated conservatively with medication, but it is not possible to completely cure a sick dog of it. 

6. pneumonia

Pneumonia can also not be ruled out. It is a frequent trigger of cough. In the early stages, this still sounds quite dry, rough and barking.

If the inflammation is not treated, what was initially a fairly dry cough develops into a wet cough. This is then often used by rattling breath sounds and wet rattle accompanied. In addition to the cough, other symptoms may include Fever, fatigue and listlessness occur. In addition Shortness of breath and Oxygen deficiency not uncommon with inflammation of the lungs.

Pneumonia can usually be treated well and effectively if the disease is detected early enough. Because if pneumonia is left untreated in your pet, it can lead to serious damage or even death.

7. lung worms

Another condition that could be considered are. Lungworms. These also occur in the Central European region. 

Lungworms are more common in young dogs, which are between one and two years old. Infection occurs when the dogs, either out of curiosity, have found a lungworm-infected infected snail eat or ingest the snail unconsciously. 

An example of this would be if there is a snail in the drinking bowl and the dog ingests this animal by drinking.

The worms then develop in the pulmonary vessels. The symptoms here are besides the Cough also Shortness of breath and moreover increased coughing

Diagnosis follows through a stool sample or endoscopy and is then treated with the proper medications.

What if my dog coughs up phlegm or has a barking cough?

Mucous sputum is not uncommon and can have many causes. Often infections of the respiratory tract or the larynx are the cause of the mucus. In case of inflammation of the lungs, your fur bearer also often coughs up mucus. You should definitely contact a veterinarian here. 

If you hear a barking cough from your four-legged friend, it could be a sign of Kennel cough be. You can find more information about it below.


Depending on the cause, your pelt-nose will be treated accordingly. Mild infections usually heal without medication. However, severe inflammations and infections must be treated with antibiotics and other medications.

In the case of chronic bronchitis, your four-legged friend will be prescribed inhalation therapy and tablets. 

Heart disease is well adjustable with medications. With lung problems, sometimes the lungs also need to be drained.

Irritant cough at night?

To provide relief, the humidity should not be too low at night. Because dry air makes the cough even more irritating. 

In addition, before going to bed you can Ribwort sprinkle over the feed. This will clear the airways. 

Please note that essential substances can have unpleasant side effects on your pet. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your veterinarian before using herbal remedies.

Home remedies for cough

Natural medicine

Besides conventional medications, you can also support the healing process with natural remedies.

One of the oldest methods to cure cough is the Inhalation of water vapor. Here you can just turn the shower on hot until steam comes, and let your dog inhale.

The steam soothes the bronchial tubes and helps to cough up mucus.

Honey has an antibacterial effect and supports the respiratory tract. Just give your four-legged friend a teaspoon of it every few hours.

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Does your pet often suffer from respiratory infections? You can reduce the risk by strengthening the immune system. Herbal remedies such as honey have proven particularly effective here. 

You should also avoid stress, a regular daily routine and a warm-hearted interaction with your furry nose will work wonders. In addition, a lack of hygiene can lead to diseases. 

If you give your beloved four-legged friend to a boarding kennel because you might be traveling, you should make sure that the boarding kennel is hygienic and that the animals there look healthy. You may also want to talk to your vet about possible vaccinations.

What is reverse cough?

Reverse cough or "reverse sneezing" usually occurs in short-headed dog breeds. It is often seizure-like and progresses similarly to an asthma attack. 

This process usually lasts only a few seconds. If your dog has such attacks, don't worry! Of course, you should have it checked out by your veterinarian, but reverse coughing usually does not require treatment.  

You can hold your nose briefly during an attack and thus help your protégé.

Kennel cough - The flu of dogs

Kennel cough is a very feared disease among dog owners. However, in healthy animals this disease usually passes without problems and heals well. 

However, in puppies and immunocompromised animals, kennel cough can cause great suffering and last for a long time. 

What is kennel cough exactly?

In technical terms, kennel cough is infectious tracheobronchitis called. The kennel cough is also known as Dog flu or Dog cough known. 

In this disease, the upper respiratory tract is infected by bacteria or viruses. Kennel cough is transmitted by droplet infection and is highly contagious, but not necessarily life-threatening. Most often, infection occurs when an infected dog sneezes or coughs. 

Where can my dog get infected?

The other term dog flu applies here rather than the term kennel cough. Because your four-legged friend can catch it not only in the kennel, but also in other places, such as animal boarding facilities, animal shelters or dog schools. 

Wherever your pet meets another infected dog, there is a risk of infection. After infection, a few days pass before the disease finally breaks out. 

Symptoms of kennel cough

Typically, after the outbreak of canine flu, your charge will suffer from a dry cough suffers. This cough occurs more at night and when pressure is applied to the trachea. An example of this is when you pull too hard on the leash. For relief, you could get a chest harness. 

" Cough usually occurs suddenly and strongly. An accompanying Gag reflex is also not a rare symptom. 

Through Inflammation of the respiratory tract it can lead to Respiratory problems and to increased clear Nasal and eye discharge come. Unlike other diseases, at the beginning the general condition is usually in a good state. 

In the advanced phase, however, the symptoms are accompanied by Fever, general malaise, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes. You should also use the Vital signs keep an eye on.

Diagnosis of kennel cough

The attending veterinarian can usually tell if this is kennel cough based on the symptoms and the course of the disease (contact with many other dogs). 

In addition, the veterinarian might also ask for pathogen detection from your pet's bronchial or nasal secretions. 

How is kennel cough treated?

In any case, whenever you notice such symptoms, you should visit your veterinarian. This person can determine the right treatment option for your four-legged friend.

If the triggers for the dog flu were bacteria, an antibiotic will usually help. If necessary, your veterinarian will also prescribe a fever-reducing medication.

However, healing does not always have to be supported by medication. The chances of cure are very good and most of the cats have overcome the kennel cough in one to two weeks. 

But even this time is variable and different for each dog. 

However, if your charge's immune system is weakened, illnesses such as pneumonia and pleurisy can develop or the healing process can be greatly delayed. 

Much rest and little stress are extremely important for your dog right now. Also, you should let him keep away from other dogsso that the disease does not spread further. If you keep several dogs, you should separate the others as well as possible from the sick dog.

Prevention of kennel cough

To prevent kennel cough, your pet should have a healthy standard of living enjoy. That is, he should move a lot in the open air may and a balanced diet get 

Another precautionary measure here can be a Vaccination offer. Whether your dog needs a vaccination, you best discuss personally with the vet. Because this is individual. 

Vaccination does not completely prevent the risk of infection. But vaccinated dogs show a much weaker course of disease than non-vaccinated.

Recommendation from the vet

Rough or wet, just as it is for us humans, coughing is very unpleasant for our faithful four-legged friends and can have more profound causes.

That's why you shouldn't hesitate for long to make an appointment with your vet to follow up.

The earlier a diagnosis is made, the less chance a creeping disease has to settle in and spread!

Examined by the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic
Examined by the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion and it is my personal concern to create medically accurate articles and videos to inform pet owners as much as possible.

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