Dogs can start to cough for a whole host of reasons, some of which are usually minor and will go away on their own, such as if they’ve gulped their water down too quickly or they’re straining on the leash. Some causes of coughing may be more serious though and require urgent medical attention, such as if your pet has a heart defect or problem with their lungs. Here are a few pointers for detecting which type of cough your pet has when you should seek veterinary help and what the treatment might be:
Doggy coughs and their possible causes:
Some types of dog, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, and who are known as brachycephalic breeds, have anatomic problems with their airways that may cause them to develop a cough at some stage in their life. Toy breeds also have narrowed windpipes or trachea which commonly leads to a cough resembling the honk of a goose, especially if the pet is obese. Some breeds of dog who are susceptible to tooth and mouth infections and/or gum disease are prone to developing secondary infections of the airways which often results in excessive and persistent coughing. Smaller pet breeds who go on to pick up infections in their mouths, may find that it spreads to their heart valves, which can cause a nasty cough. Kennel cough is an infection that most of us have heard of, and if a dog goes on to develop this, it can cause pneumonia if left untreated.
A cough that appears to be caused by something such as the fast eating of food or drinking of water, should of course be monitored, but if symptoms appear only at these times and not at any other time, then there is little cause for concern. However, if in doubt, do consult with a professional. On the other hand, if your dog develops a cough that persists and has no obvious cause, you should seek immediate veterinary assistance.
Treating your pooches cough:
After a thorough examination by your preferred veterinary professional, they will be able to assess whether your pet dog has an infection, a cough caused by an anatomic defect or heart disease. Most coughs requiring further treatment fall into one of these categories, and the treatment will naturally be dependent on the cause. For infections, antibiotics may be prescribed along with treatment and prevention of intestinal parasites and heartworms or lungworms. If you wanted to go down the herbal, homeopathic route when treating your dogs cough, you could try herbal immune stimulants that include echinacea, goldenseal and elderberry.
Pet dogs having anatomic or infectious causes of coughing may be prescribed bronchodilators, while corticosteroids may be given for non-infectious cough causes.
For a dog suffering from heart disease, a vet may prescribe medicine to dilate the blood vessels, along with various other treatments depending on the severity of the case.
If your dog has developed a cough and you’re concerned that it’s not going away, please consult with a qualified professional and have your pet checked over before purchasing any over the counter, or herbal remedies.