Sometimes a cough is just a cough. Maybe you drank something too fast, or you have a slight allergy to something blowing around outside. However, when you have a dog coughing, this can be a sign of trouble. A dog’s cough may sound like a hacking or whooping noise. Most times it is just a reaction to an environmental irritant, and coughing is a way for humans and animals to clear their respiratory tract of foreign materials or excess secretions. However, there are times that a cough is indicative of a more severe condition. Here are some reasons why your dog may be coughing and times when you should visit the vet.
Indoor Irritants May Cause a Dog to Cough
Dust, second-hand smoke, mold, and aerosolized products can all cause respiratory irritation in dogs. Since dogs have a greater sense of smell than humans, they are more prone to being bothered by an indoor allergen.
If you find that your dog starts coughing every time you change the cat’s litter box, they may have an allergy to the litter. The same is true if your dog starts coughing when someone smokes or sprays air freshener.
To be on the safe side, you may want to have your dog screened by the vet for a respiratory illness, such as bronchitis, if the cough gets bad. However, if your dog has an occasional cough, it may just be something that they are breathing in.
Eating Something Poisonous
Things that are safe for humans to consume are sometimes dangerous to dogs. Grapes, onions, and chocolate are some foods that can be fatal for a dog to ingest. Then there are items that are harmful to just about anyone or anything that eats it, such as rat poisons.
Rat poisons act as anticoagulants in dogs and prevent their blood from being able to clot. This can be incredibly dangerous. If your dog starts to bleed internally, the only symptom they may have is a sudden cough; the coughing is caused by blood entering the chest cavity.
In this situation, you must get your dog to the vet to prevent life-threatening bleeding. If you know your dog ate rat poison or ate a creature that ingested the poison, it is best to take them to the vet right away. Bleeding is almost always imminent and getting them to a doctor quickly is better than waiting for internal bleeding to occur.
Heart and Lung Worms can Cause a Cough in Dogs
Lungworms are a parasite that can infect the pulmonary artery of the lungs and right heart ventricle. The first symptoms of worms can be a cough or swelling. You will need to get them to the vet if the latter begins to occur since you will most likely not realize just a cough to be that dangerous at first. Treatment typically requires prescribing de-worming medication such as fenbendazole.
Lung Lobe Torsion
More common in small dog breeds, lung lobe torsion is a condition where the dog’s lungs rotate and twist. Eventually their airway can become blocked. In addition to coughing, your dog may be feverish, lethargic, coughing up blood, or in obvious pain. If any of these occur, they need a vet pronto.
Inhaling a Blade of Grass May Cause Coughing
Occasionally fine blades of grass can get caught in a dog’s airway and cause your pet to cough to remove it. In addition to inhaling grass, certain types of grass can penetrate a dog’s skin and migrate into their lungs. This can cause your dog to cough too. It can also cause more severe conditions to unfold, including pneumonia, lung abscesses, or a collapsed lung.