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Canine Cough

Dogs get many illnesses and conditions that can cause them to cough. Some are not serious, others are potentially fatal. So if you hear your pet suffering from a bout of coughing don't assume it's nothing, have it checked by a veterinarian.

Common Causes of Coughing In Dogs

Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough, or Canine Cough, is a highly-contagious respiratory infection. It is often caused by a bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica. Another important cause is a virus called virus called canine parainfluenza. The infection results in bouts of dry, hacking coughing. Sometimes the dog may cough up a whitish phlegm. Coughing is often worse at night, and can be exacerbated by exercise, excitement, or pulling on the collar. Dogs get this disease from other dogs infected with kennel cough. It is especially common in boarding facilities where multiple dogs are housed together. The infection can also be spread at groomers, day care and at dog walking parks.
The infection irritates the tracheal and bronchial area, and in some cases, can lead to pneumonia. Uncomplicated Kennel cough will usually resolve within 1 to 3 weeks. Depending on the severity of the cough, veterinary attention may be necessary.

Internal Parasites

Parasites, like young heartworms and some intestinal worms migrate into the lungs, causing coughing and irritation as they develop and mature. Learn more about heartworm and intestinal worms.

Heart Disease and Heart Failure

Enlarged hearts compress the airway, so dogs with serious heart problems can experience bouts of coughing.

How Do I Treat My Dog's Cough?

It all depends on what's causing your dog to cough. If your dog is coughing for more than a day take them to your veterinarian so they can do a proper examination.
Vaccinations can protect your dog against canine cough.

Additional Information

Merck Veterinary Manual: Tracheobronchitis

Veterinary Partner: The Pet Health Library
Kennel Cough
Dr. Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, Dip AVBP

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