Dogs cough from time to time. Sometimes, they over-exert themselves. Sometimes, they just eat too fast and have something catch in their throat for a moment. Some dogs will cough more than others. But when is it something that you should really start to worry about? Here, we’re going to look at some of the symptoms that should have you on high-alert and what you can do about them.
When it’s persistent
If a cough starts to become persistent and excessive, leading to a shortness of breath, that is a real cause for concern. It can be one of the first symptoms of megaesophagus. This is a serious food regurgitation disease which means the dog has trouble swallowing food or water. Find out more about some of the other symptoms, including that tell-tale regurgitation, refusal to eat, or gurgling sounds from their throat. It can be a life-threatening disease, but it is treatable with surgery so being able to identify it quickly could be key to your dog’s survival.
When they are a certain breed
Different breeds of dog have different health issues. Short-nose breed dogs like pugs, bulldogs, terriers, chihuahuas, and shih tzus are very prone to respiratory conditions. These include obstructions of the upper airway, collapse of the voice box, and blockages in their abnormally small windpipes. If you want to avoid such problems, it might be worth not buying dogs within these problematic breeds. Otherwise, you may have to check out the causes of coughs more often than not.
When it’s followed up by gagging
The regurgitation could be a sign of other things than megaesophagus, too. In some cases, it might be something harmless like they have eaten too much grass while outside. If your dog coughs so hard that they gag or vomit, it could be a sign of tracheal collapse, a very common, chronic and treatable disease that affects an estimated 70% of all dogs. It may also be the sign of a foreign object in the throat, which can be identified by them licking their lips and attempting to swallow constantly. Getting these objects removed quickly by a vet is crucial in preventing infections and pneumonia.
When it sounds particularly rough and rasping
The majority of dog owners are going to develop a keen ear for the different sounds their pet makes, especially if they are prone to coughing from time to time. If a cough sounds particularly rough, rasping, or wheezing compared to usual, then it could be a sign of kennel cough. This is a common disease, with another common symptom being the reverse swallowing and regurgitation of mucus-y fluids that can be mistaken for vomit. Sometimes, rest and hydration is enough to cure kennel cough but for more serious cases, antibiotics may be prescribed.
Most dog owners are going to have their attention immediately caught by the sound of their furry friend having trouble. In most cases, it’s likely to be harmless, but it’s important to be able to recognize when that’s not the case.
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