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Coughing in Dogs

5 min read



The major goal of treatment is to treat the underlying cause along with treatment of the cough itself. Resolution of the underlying cause will ultimately result in a cure.


In cases of severe disease, your dog may need to be hospitalized and provided with intensive care and treatment. Oxygen can be given to dogs that are having difficulty breathing properly, and broad spectrum antibiotics will be used to curtail the most common types of infections that cause coughing. Medications for suppressing cough may be given to your dog, but that will be decided on by your veterinarian only after confirmation of the diagnosis, as cough suppressants are not always medically helpful, especially for certain diseases like respiratory infections. It should be remembered that in most cases the cough is not the issue, it is the underlying disease that needs to be treated. Suppressing cough will not resolve the problem, and in fact may only hide the condition and allow it to worsen.


Living and Management


Diagnosing the underlying disease causing the cough may require an extensive diagnostic workup. Follow the directions given by your veterinarian for treatment. If your dog is prescribed antibiotics, it is essential that you follow through the entire course of the medicine. Many people will forget to continue drug administration once the symptoms have improved and the infection will return, sometimes worse than before.


You will need to stay in communication with your veterinarian throughout the treatment period, relaying information about your dog's response to the treatment and whether it is improving or worsening. You may also need to take your dog back to the clinic for follow-up examinations so that your veterinarian can evaluate your dog's disease status and treatment progress. The treatment will be adjusted accordingly. In some dogs long-term therapy is required for a complete recovery.


Take care with all drugs you are administering to your dog, as any drug, including cough suppressants, can be dangerous for your dog in the wrong amounts. It is important to note that one of the leading causes of death in household pets is over dosage of medication.

Image: Kathleen Tyler Conklin via Flickr


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