Causes and Treatments for Your Dog’s Coughing

If you’ve noticed your dog coughing frequently, you should pay attention. There are several mild causes of coughing in dogs, but there are also some more serious causes that may need your quick response, too. It’s important to work to figure out when your dog’s coughing is an emergency and when it isn’t.

dog coughing in bolingbrook, il

Common Causes

In this article, we’ll tell you some of the most common causes of coughing in dogs and let you know what you might be able to do to treat them. Be sure to take your dog to the veterinarian if you need more accurate information. Call Boughton Square Animal Clinic in Bolingbrook at (630) 759-0093.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is one of the most common causes of coughing in dogs who have not been vaccinated against it. If you’ve just adopted your dog from a rescue or if they’ve spent time at a dog park, doggie daycare, or boarding facility recently, kennel cough may be the culprit.

You can prevent kennel cough by having your dog vaccinated against Bordetella, which is the most common cause. Otherwise, there is no treatment for this condition, but your dog should be able to recover from it fully with enough rest. Your vet may give your dog a cough medication if their coughing is very severe.


Although cats are more prone to developing seasonal allergies than dogs, it’s still very possible for dogs to have them as well. Dogs may also cough as a result of food allergies, especially in situations where the food allergy is serious. If you think your dog is coughing from allergies, take them to the vet to determine this for sure.

Your vet may give your dog steroids to deal with a serious allergic flare-up. Otherwise, your dog may be given cough medication or may not be given any medication at all, depending on the severity and frequency of their allergies.


Dogs with heartworms usually develop a chronic cough during the later stages of the disease. If your dog has not been given a heartworm preventative and hasn’t been tested for heartworms in a long time, there is a chance that their cough could be caused by this parasitic infection.

Dogs who are infected with heartworms can live long, full lives as long as you keep up with the management of the condition. However, if your dog’s heartworm infection has progressed too far, you should speak with your vet about the options in terms of management.


Distemper is a common respiratory illness that is more often found in puppies than in older dogs, although it can affect dogs of any age. It can be fatal in puppies, so it’s important to get your dog’s shots on time during their first couple of years of life to prevent this disease.

Dogs who have been vaccinated against distemper cannot contract it. However, if your dog develops a bad cough and other respiratory symptoms and you know they haven’t had their distemper vaccination yet, then you should take them to the vet to rule out the possibility of this disease.

Heart Disease

Dogs who have heart disease or congestive heart failure may develop a chronic cough. This is because of the buildup of fluid and the heart’s inability to pump the way it is supposed to. If your dog is diagnosed with heart disease or CHF, you’ll need to work with your vet to figure out how to manage their condition.

There is no cure for these illnesses, but you can help your dog live out the rest of their days comfortably by working with your vet. Your vet can also help you choose when euthanasia might be the best option.

Airway Obstruction

Dogs may easily inhale foreign objects while they are sniffing, or they may get pieces of toys or other items lodged in their throat while playing. When this happens, a dog’s airways can become obstructed, and this can quickly lead to suffocation if not treated immediately.

If you think your dog has inhaled or swallowed an item that is keeping them from being able to breathe properly, take them to the emergency vet right away. The vet will need to surgically remove the item and ensure that your dog is getting enough oxygen.

Contact Your Veterinarian

Remember that only your vet can tell you for sure what’s causing your dog’s coughing. It’s important to work with a quality, trusted vet to figure out the underlying cause of coughing in your dog and determine the best course of action for treatment, too. Call Boughton Square Animal Clinic today at (630) 759-0093.

If you think your dog is coughing due to a serious problem, don’t wait—take them to the emergency vet right away. Responding quickly by taking your dog to the emergency vet may mean the difference between life and death, especially when the coughing is caused by something major such as an airway obstruction.

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About Boughton Square Animal Clinic

Since 1979, Boughton Square Animal Clinic has served Bolingbrook, IL and surrounding communities as both a veterinary care provider and a devoted partner in treating your animal family members for life.