Dog Coughs - Types and Symptoms

Kennel Cough in Dogs | Home Remedies for Kennel Cough

Canine Respiratory Diseases

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Dog coughs can be put into three general categories, acute, chronic or intermittent, and in nearly all instances, there are different fundamental conditions behind the symptoms. Besides the original cause of the symptom, a cough is self- perpetuating in nature, as it causes dryness in the pharynx. Some of the main causes of dog coughs are, tuberculosis, distemper, Internal parasites, infection, allergic reactions, fungus diseases, and pollutants.

Kennel cough

Kennel cough in canines is characterized by a dry and hacking cough and is caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica. This is a communicable disease and is typically found in dogs that have recently been in boarding kennels, to a dog show or other places where dogs congregate.

Puppies that have been recently given a new home, particularly from pet stores, are more likely to show early signs of kennel cough. A dry cough in puppies should be seen to by a vet to quickly eradicate infection. While the length of kennel cough in dogs is limited, preventive steps like vaccination can help fend off future episodes.


A dry cough that is often accompanied by fever, thick yellow nasal discharge and watery eyes, is the first phase of distemper. Although the symptoms of distemper are similar to a common head cold in humans, dogs do not catch colds. Distemper in dogs is preventable by vaccination and a boost to the dog's immune system.


Intestinal parasites like roundworms are highly migratory. Roundworm larvae travel to the lungs, through the bloodstream and creep up to the trachea. Here they can be swallowed again where they will arrive at the intestines. These can cause bouts of dog coughs while they stay in the windpipe. A proper de-worming is essential in these situations.

Heartworm microfilaria can be communicated to dogs by mosquitoes. Heartworm larvae can get into the bloodstream of a dog when the dog is bitten by a mosquito. These larvas can then swim towards the lungs. The process of infection can last up to six months and dog coughs can surface when adult heartworms curtail exchange of oxygenated blood between lungs and the heart. Treatment of heartworm can be a long procedure and is expected to be successful only when it has been diagnosed in its early stages.


Tuberculosis, though not usual, can affect dogs. It induces a moist, strained and productive cough. Infected dogs may also cough up blood.

Fungal Infections

Tuberculosis and fungus diseases can show similar symptoms. Dogs that have been in kennels close to assembled chickens, pigeon or bird dung may inhale fungus spores that can cause coughing, a change in breathing patterns, pneumonia and fever. Fungus diseases are safer prevented, because diagnosis can be difficult.

In some cases, dog coughs can be a caused by a small blockage in the throat that the dog will sooner or later discharge by coughing. But the cause of a dog’s cough may not always be that simple. Err on the side of caution and investigate dog coughs further with your vet so he can diagnose the problem quickly.

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