Is Dog Coughing an Emergency?

You should see a vet if your dog is coughing persistently. Most of the time, though, it doesn’t need immediate medical attention.

However, depending on the overall circumstance I might see a vet the same day or early the next. Particularly if a cough seems bothersome to my dog.

Such as with Jasmine who one day started coughing after a serious barking session with a neighbor’s dog. At first, we thought all that barking irritated her throat. But she kept coughing throughout the day.

When we got to the vet, they found out her lymph nodes were also enlarged. That was a scary thing. Particularly since the vet was rather blunt in saying that it’s either an infection or lymphoma. Just like that. It was decided to do a therapeutic trial with an antibiotic and, fortunately, the cough resolved quickly and all was well. I still remember how weak my knees got at the word lymphoma, though.

Is Dog Coughing an Emergency?

What are the potential causes of your dog’s coughing?

The most common cause, everybody is familiar with, is kennel cough. If your dog was recently boarded, or spent time in places with a lot of dogs, kennel cough is a top suspect.

Other respiratory infections can be to blame. Your dog might be suffering from an inflammatory or an immune condition. Trauma or foreign bodies can certainly be behind a cough as well. Some of these are more serious than others.

Some of the more serious causes include heart disease, tracheal collapse, fluid accumulation or cancer. Because there is no good way to tell which is which I don’t hesitate to see a vet sooner rather than later.

When is coughing a true emergency?

If your dog needs prompt veterinary help if they:

  • cough for more than 6 hours
  • have a hard time breathing
  • cough to the point of vomiting
  • are coughing up blood
  • are lethargic or depressed
  • stop eating

When you’re unsure whether or not you should take your dog to a vet, take them.

Related articles:
Coughing in Dogs: Why Is My Dog Coughing and Should I Worry?

Further reading:
Why is My Dog Coughing? Common Causes and Treatment Options

Categories: CoughingEmergenciesSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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