What to do if your dog is coughing: Tips & Tricks

What to do if your dog is coughing: Tips & Tricks

If you have a furry friend at home, you may have observed them coughing at times. Dogs cough for the same reasons as humans do, to clear their airways, but it can be frightening to see your furry friend suffer from coughing. It can also be a sign of an underlying health issue that may require immediate attention. This article provides tips and tricks on what to do if your dog is coughing, including identifying the type of cough, home remedies, and when to seek veterinary care.

Identifying the type of cough

The first step in identifying the type of cough is to determine if it is productive or non-productive. A productive cough is when your dog coughs up mucus or phlegm, while a non-productive cough is dry, with no mucus or phlegm. Here are some of the common types of cough and their causes:

Dry cough

A dry cough is a non-productive cough, and your dog may cough one or two times without bringing anything up. It is a common symptom of kennel cough, where the trachea and bronchi become inflamed.

Home remedy: Honey

Honey is a natural remedy that helps soothe a cough, especially in dry coughs. Mix one tablespoon of honey with warm water and give it to your dog twice a day.

Wet cough

A wet cough is a productive cough, and your dog may cough up mucus or phlegm, which can be yellow, green, or clear. It is a common symptom of bacterial or viral infections, heart disease, and allergies.

Home remedy: Steam

Steam is an excellent way to help your dog clear their respiratory system. Bring a pot of water to boil, and let your dog breathe the steam for 5-10 minutes, twice a day.

Hacking cough

A hacking cough is a deep, harsh cough that produces a “honking” sound. It is a common symptom of tracheal collapse, where the cartilage of the trachea weakens and collapses.

Home remedy: Rest & Elevate

It is recommended to allow your dog to rest as much as possible and avoid any strenuous activities. Elevating your dog’s food and water bowls can also help and reduce the pressure on their trachea.

Home remedies for a cough

If your dog is coughing, and you believe it is not a severe condition, you can try some home remedies to help your dog feel better. Here are some of the home remedies that you can use:


Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help alleviate respiratory problems in dogs. You can add half a teaspoon of grated ginger to your dog’s food twice a day.

Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus oil has decongestant and expectorant properties that help relieve coughs. You can add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a diffuser or put it on a piece of cloth for your dog to inhale.


Thyme has antiseptic properties that help soothe coughs and relieve inflammation. You can make thyme tea and add it to your dog’s food or mix dried thyme with honey and give it to your dog twice a day.


Oregano has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that help fight off infections. You can mix oregano oil with coconut oil and apply it to your dog’s chest or diffuse it in the air.


Garlic has antibacterial and antiviral properties that help fight off infections. You can mince a clove of garlic and mix it with your dog’s food twice a day.

When to seek veterinary care

While home remedies can help relieve mild coughs, there are situations where you should seek veterinary care immediately. Here are some of the signs that indicate you should take your dog to the vet:

– Coughing that persists for more than three days
– Difficulty breathing or wheezing
– Loss of appetite
– Lethargy or weakness
– Cyanosis (blue or purple tinge to the mucous membranes)
– Coughing up blood or a rust-colored discharge

If you observe any of the above signs, take your dog to the vet immediately. The vet will perform a physical examination and may order diagnostic tests such as x-rays, blood work, and bacterial cultures to determine the underlying cause of the cough.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the common questions pet owners ask about dogs and coughing:

What is kennel cough?

Kennel cough is an acute respiratory infection caused by a combination of bacteria and viruses. It is highly contagious and can spread quickly in areas where dogs congregate, such as boarding kennels, dog shows, and grooming salons.

Can my dog catch a cold?

Yes, dogs can catch a cold just like humans. The common cold in dogs is caused by a virus, and the symptoms include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and fever.

Can second-hand smoke cause coughing in dogs?

Yes, second-hand smoke can cause coughing in dogs. The smoke irritates the dog’s respiratory tract, causing coughing, wheezing, and other respiratory problems.

Can dogs cough due to allergies?

Yes, dogs can develop coughs due to allergies. The allergens, such as pollen, dust, or mold, can irritate the dog’s respiratory system, causing coughing, sneezing, and other respiratory problems.

Can heart disease cause coughing in dogs?

Yes, heart disease can cause coughing in dogs. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a common condition in dogs that causes fluid to build up in the lungs, resulting in coughing.


– “Dog coughing: What to do next” by Jennifer Coates, DVM, on PetMD.
– “5 Home Remedies for a Dog Cough – Plus When to See a Vet” by Karen Fazio on American Kennel Club.
– “Kennel Cough in Dogs” by Elizabeth Racine, DVM, on VCA Hospitals.
– “Cold Virus in Dogs” by Karen Becker, DVM, on Mercola Healthy Pets.
– “Second Hand Smoke and Dogs” on Preventive Vet.
– “Allergies in Dogs” by Dr. Pippa Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, on PetMD.
– “Heart Disease in Dogs” by Dr. Katy Nelson, DVM, on Vetstreet.

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