Have you heard your dog coughing? Well, if he is, we have to admit that is not very easy to identify if it’s already an emergency or not. It is for that reason why we came up with this article. That way, the next time you hear your dog cough, you will know if he needs the attention of a vet.
Dog cough, also called kennel cough, is very common among canines. More often, it can be treated with minimal treatment. Then again, it may also be an indication of an underlying or serious problem that require early intervention.
Why Your Dog Is Coughing
One of the reasons why a dog coughs is irritation or blockage in the airways, specifically in the upper respiratory tract and down to the lungs.
However, things can get confusing here if vomiting or dry retching is involved. Because it appears like kennel cough, it is best that you observe your dog and record what he is doing. After that, take him to the vet and show the details you’ve recorded.
And since vets enjoy a good story, they also would appreciate if you imitate what your canine buddy sounds when he coughs. Promise, they really wouldn’t mind.
The Different Types of Dog Cough
For you, the sound of a dog cough may be similar all throughout. But if you pay close attention to the sound, you will notice the differences.
In some cases, the sound can already give you an idea about its cause. However, if you are in doubt, just record the cough and let the vet listen to it.
Basically, a dry, loud cough that sounds like your pet is trying to push out a stuck bone is a form of tracheitis. On the other hand, a wheezy and soft cough is often a sign of a heart or lung problem. A cough that sounds like a car’s honk is an indication of tracheal collapse. This is very common among small dog breeds and it happens when there is excitement.
Should You Be Worried or Not?
Depending on how your pet dog is acting, you might need to take action immediately or maybe not. Now, when should you be worried?
- Your dog has been coughing for more than a week.
- Your canine buddy is lethargic and does not want to exercise.
- The cough makes your dog feel like collapsing or passing out.
- Your dog has a bluish tint in his gums. If not, he has pale gums.
- Your dog does not want to eat or is experiencing other problems like vomiting or diarrhea.
When should you not be worried?
- The dog cough is very mild. It seems bright and normal.
- Your pet seems to be very enthusiastic and healthy.
How to Diagnose the Cause
After your trip to the vet, you should already have an idea what the real cause of the cough is. Normally, the vet will listen to the lungs and heart of the dog. After which, he will check the lymph nodes and take his temperature. If he thinks something else is wrong, he may recommend more tests or perhaps suggest a course of treatment.
Further testing can include heartworm testing, x-rays, and blood tests. Once the results are in, the vet can rule out the cause of the cough. If the results say that the dog cough is chronic in nature, laryngoscopy will be done to identify the true cause of the issue.
How to Treat a Dog Cough
The treatment will often involve antibiotics and cough suppressants. But in most instances, supportive care works best.
The vet will often suggest providing a warm, humid environment, such as in a dog kennel, and the use of a coupage to somehow moisten the airways of the dog and help clear the mucus that is blocking them.
If the cause of the problem is more serious, such as heart disease, heart medications might be prescribed.
What You Can Do
To avoid the situation from becoming worse, it is best that you don’t give any human medications to your pooch, unless the vet recommends it. By nature, dogs have a different way in metabolizing and processing drugs. Even worse, some human medicines are toxic to them and may yield side effects. If you suspect your dog has cough, keep him rested in a comfortable and quiet room until the day you are scheduled to see the vet.
Hopefully, this short article has given you the right information about dog cough and helped you identify whether or not your pet has a serious cough problem that requires immediate treatment. Just always take note that if you are uncertain about what you should do, consult the vet for proper advice concerning your dog’s true condition. Do not do anything you are not sure of. Remember that it is your pet’s safety that is at risk here.