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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

What to Do if Your Dog is Coughing Up a Storm

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Coughing is a common symptom in dogs and is usually caused by several factors. A dog cough can be due to environmental irritants to underlying health issues. If your pup is coughing up a storm, it’s important to get to the bottom of the cause and take action if necessary. As a veterinarian, here’s what I recommend you do if your dog has coughing fits. 

Observe Your Dog’s Coughing Pattern

The first step in diagnosing your dog’s cough is observing its pattern and frequency. Is it occurring intermittently throughout the day or constantly? Does it happen when they are playing or while they are resting? Does it sound dry or wet? Does your dog seem uncomfortable or distressed when coughing? These details should be considered and reported to your vet for an accurate diagnosis. 

Monitor Your Dog’s Environment 

Environmental factors can trigger coughing fits in dogs. If you notice your pup coughing after being outside, consider potential allergens like pollen, grass, mold, etc., that may be causing their reaction. If the cough continues indoors, look for other possible irritants like smoke, aerosols, dust mites, etc. Make sure to keep an eye on any changes in their environment that could trigger their cough and adjust accordingly. 

Consider Possible Health Issues 

The most common causes of coughing in dogs include respiratory infections like kennel cough or bronchitis. Heartworm, allergies,  asthma, foreign bodies (like toys) lodged in the throat, tracheal collapse, and even cancer can also result in coughing. It’s essential to pay attention to other symptoms that may indicate one of these underlying health issues—such as difficulty breathing, fever, lethargy, or loss of appetite—and seek medical help immediately if any of those arise in conjunction with the cough. 

Seek Vet Assistance 

If you’ve tried adjusting to your pup’s environment, but they are still coughing up a storm, it’s time to seek professional medical assistance from your vet. After discussing your observations with them and ruling out any environmental causes of the cough, they will likely perform physical exams and diagnostic tests such as chest x-rays or blood work to identify the root cause of the issue and devise an appropriate treatment plan for your pup. 

Take Action Accordingly 

Once a diagnosis has been made, it’s important to take action right away according to the recommendations provided by your vet. Depending on the cause of their cough—which could range from something minor like allergies to something more serious such as heartworm—your pup may need antibiotics, steroids, or other medications to relieve their symptoms. Depending on the diagnosis, you may need to make lifestyle changes, such as avoiding certain activities that could exacerbate your dog’s condition or altering your dog’s diet if necessary. 

Be Proactive About Prevention 

When it comes to coughing fits in dogs (regardless of what caused them), prevention is always key! Regular visits to the vet for checkups and vaccinations can help prevent respiratory illnesses from occurring in the first place and detect any underlying issues as early as possible before it become more serious conditions down the road. Additionally, being mindful of potential environmental triggers for coughing fits can help keep them at bay before they even start!  


Coughing fits can be scary for pups and pet owners alike! That’s why it’s important to observe any changes in your dog’s behavior related to their cough and take action accordingly if necessary—whether that means eliminating environmental triggers or seeking professional medical help immediately, depending on what caused it. With these tips in mind, you can be sure that you take care of your pup no matter what coughing fit they may encounter!

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