Coughing in dogs

  • Home
  • Coughing in dogs
Is it harmless or not?

Coughing in dogs

Your dog is coughing and you are worried about what's wrong with your beloved four-legged friend? That's a good thing, because unfortunately, heart diseases are far too common in dogs. Every tenth four-legged friend is affected. In most cases, the signs of cardiac insufficiency are not noticed as such at first or much too late. Age must of course not be disregarded here, because the older your four-legged friend gets, the more plausible it seems to you that his joy of movement decreases more and more and the walks together are always shorter - it is often no different with us humans. Heart failure is one of the most common diseases in dogs and, unfortunately, it is also a fact that most heart diseases develop slowly and over a long period of time. This is exactly why it is important to observe any changes in the beloved four-legged friend in order to be able to react accordingly in good time.

Dog stands coughing in the park

Forms of cough in dogs

The dog cough sounds similar to the human cough. If your dog coughs frequently or for a longer period of time, the dog owner should already be prudent. It is also important to note which cough is involved, because a distinction can be made between dry and wet coughs, so the question to be answered here is whether the present cough is heart-related (cardiac) or whether it is more a problem of the respiratory tract (respiratory) is present.

Dry cough

Dry cough is usually associated with suffering and pain for the dog. There are several causes of a dry cough, such as when the dog chokes or hastily devours its food, so that unchewed pieces of food or foreign objects such as bones get into the airways. Other causes of dry cough could include:

  • Infections or inflammations in the windpipe, throat and larynx area
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Accident or chest injury
  • Tracheal collapse - collapse of the windpipe (often affects smaller breeds of dogs)
  • Heart disease

Wet cough

The wet cough is expressed in dogs by a muffled noise, which is accompanied by a liquid or slimy discharge during the coughing process and can also have several causes:

  • Advanced pneumonia or tonsillitis
  • Parasites such as heartworm or lungworm
  • Advanced stage of heart disease
Dog stands there panting

The heart cough

The most common cause of a heart cough in dogs is mitral valve regurgitation. This is the thickening of the mitral valve, which leads to an incorrect closing process and the valve becomes leaky. If this is left untreated over a longer period of time, the left atrium can increase in volume and thus the heart can become enlarged.

  • When and how often does your dog cough?
  • Does he cough at night?
  • Do you have several dogs and are they all affected or just one animal?
  • If there are other symptoms besides the cough, such as discharge from the nose or eyes,
  • Sneezing or poor appetite? Is he choking?
  • Important: It is not always clear whether the dog is coughing or choking. Most animals vomit when they have a coughing attack, and it is sometimes not easy to differentiate between the two symptoms.
  • Has your dog gained a lot of abdominal girth? This could be a sign of water retention in the abdomen (ascites).
Dog sits panting in the nature

What happens with a dog's heart cough?

Dog heart cough most often occurs when the dog is at rest, i.e. mostly in the evening, as well as after joy, excitement or stress. The dog then coughs more and more loudly and sounds like it is trying to choke something up. Shortly afterwards everything seems to be all right again and the dog poodle feels good again. Dogs with heart cough also often suffer from poor appetite and lose a lot of weight as a result. If you examine them, heart murmurs, cardiac arrhythmias or an increased heart rate can be noticed. Typical side effects are also shortness of breath and heavy panting as well as rapid fatigue and poor performance.


You cannot heal a sick heart, but you can treat it well or you can prevent it. Special examinations such as an EKG can confirm the suspicion of a heart cough. Since the heart cough is accompanied by symptoms that are sometimes life-threatening, an electron cardiography (EKG) - a measurement of the electrical activity of the heart of your four-legged friend - is inevitable. So that you can give your beloved four-legged friend a long and carefree experience To enable you to live with the disease, it is very important that you and the veterinarian work together at an early stage.

Key facts at a glance: