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Healthy Dogs

When Your Dog Can’t Stop Coughing

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When to See the Vet

Make an appointment with your dog's doctor if:

  • His cough lasts more than a week, or worsens
  • He seems extra tired
  • He has a fever
  • He won’t eat
  • He has other health problems

Your vet may ask you some questions like:

  • Does your dog have trouble breathing between coughing fits?
  • When does he do it? (At night? After eating? After drinking water? After exercise? When he’s excited?)
  • What does it sound like? (A goose? A seal?)
  • Is the cough dry or moist?
  • Does it sound like he's about to vomit?
  • Where has your dog been lately? (In a place with other dogs? With you on a family vacation? Around a smoker?)
  • Have there been any changes to his daily routine?
  • Is he up-to-date on his shots, and heartworm prevention?
  • When did he last take his medication?

Your vet will examine your dog and run tests to find out if the problem is due to a virus, an infection, an allergy, or a different problem. The treatment will depend on the cause.

Puppy Love

Just like any other sick member of the family, your dog deserves a little TLC until his cough clears. Make sure he has plenty of water, healthy dog food, and rest. Steer clear if he wants to be alone. Tell kids to let sleeping dogs lie, and keep him away from other dogs until he's well.

The best way to keep your dog healthy is to prevent problems before they start. Make sure your dog gets his shots every year and gets heartworm prevention as directed. Don't let him play with other dogs who are coughing or sick.

WebMD Pet Health Feature

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on August 25, 2014
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