Cough in Dogs: Home Remedies & Causes

If your dog has a cough, it can be a sign of a harmless infection or it can indicate a serious medical condition.

In general, coughing is not a disease in itself. Rather, it is a protective mechanism of the body to clean the airways.

If we humans cough, it is usually “only” to blame for a classic viral infection. Coughing in dogs can have several causes:

  • Bronchitis or viral infection
  • heart disease
  • allergies
  • foreign bodies in the airways
  • infection with parasites
  • airway malformations
  • cartilage softening of the trachea
  • kennel cough

Dog coughs should always be taken seriously and checked out by a doctor.

In some cases, however, we can help our housemates with simple home remedies to quickly get rid of the cough and cold.

Bronchitis or viral infection

If our animals suffer from bronchitis or virus infection, you as a dog owner can also help your darling to get fit again quickly.

Moist air helps a lot with a light cough. You can put a bowl of fresh water on the heater to improve the air quality in the room.

Essential oils can do a good job here. However, you have to dose very carefully and also pay attention to the variety. Only use real and natural oils.

Be careful with tea tree oil. Not every dog ​​tolerates the intense aroma. Incidentally, it should also be used with caution among us humans.

Inhale with your dog

You can also let your dog inhale. This works very well and loosens stubborn mucus and moistens the airways.

To do this, take a bowl of hot water to which you add a little sea salt and thyme. Then a blanket over the bowl and dog and you’re good to go.

You may need to be a little creative or inhale with your dog.

Our tequila is always in its transport box for inhaling. Then we put the bowl in front of it and put a blanket over everything. He enjoys it and mostly falls asleep while doing it.

A duration of about ten minutes twice a day is ideal.

Heart disease

Cough can be a symptom of a heart problem. Large breeds such as Great Danes, Boxers, Irish Wolfhounds, or St. Bernards are often affected at an advanced age.

The heart enlarges and fluid builds up in the lungs. The dog starts coughing. This type of cough can only be controlled by giving heart medication.


As with us humans, the reason for coughing and respiratory problems in dogs can also be an allergy.

If the allergy is established, the allergen must be avoided. The cough gets better without further medication.

Foreign bodies in the airways

If the dog is coughing because it has a foreign body in its airways, only the vet can help. He will remove the foreign body.

Small foreign bodies and mucus, on the other hand, are coughed up very well.

Infection with parasites

The most important of these is heartworm, which is transmitted by a mosquito. The main distribution areas of this mosquito are the Mediterranean regions. If the dog has become infected, respiratory problems, coughing and general weakness indicate an infestation.

Treatment is very difficult and not always successful. Only prophylaxis can help here. The dog should always be protected with spot-on preparations or appropriate collars. This can also be very useful in our latitudes.

Airway malformations

If dogs suffer from coughing and shortness of breath, malformations of the respiratory tract can also be to blame.

Many small and especially short-snouted breeds have these problems. The pug and the French Bulldog are particularly noteworthy here.

Malformations can usually only be corrected surgically. Dog owners should pay particular attention to the breed line when choosing their pet.

Cartilage softening of the trachea (tracheal collapse)

Tracheal collapse is also common in small dogs like Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers.

The softening of the cartilage reduces the inner diameter of the trachea. She collapses on herself. This causes breathing problems and coughing.

Only medication and, if necessary, an operation can help here.

Kennel cough

Kennel cough may also be the most dangerous thing for you. A dry, irritating cough that dogs suffer from is typical.

This respiratory disease stems from multiple pathogens such as viruses and bacteria that are transmitted through the air. In addition, there is the typical droplet infection of colds.

This is why kennel cough is so contagious when many dogs are nearby. Hence the name kennel cough.

As laypeople, we dog owners are usually unable to distinguish what type of cough it is. For this reason, clarifying the cause by the veterinarian is always the first step.

The better you can describe the symptoms and the nature of the cough to the doctor, the easier it will be for him to make a diagnosis.

Home remedies for dog cough

If your dog suffers from a viral disease, it is usually weak and exhausted. You probably know that about yourself when you have a cold.

Make sure the animal gets plenty of rest and drinks plenty of fluids. Short walks and no romping around – rest helps to become healthy.

good home remedy for colds and coughs is fennel, honey. You can mix it with a little quark or cottage cheese and feed the sick darling as a treat between meals. He will be happy about it.

If the dog likes it, he can also drink tea instead of water, such as thyme or ribwort tea.

Homeopathy can strengthen the immune system

Homeopathic remedies can also be helpful. These can be put together directly by a homeopath for dogs.

But there are also special mixtures in the pharmacy that can help the dog. They often contain echinacea, which strengthens the immune system.

However, when giving home remedies, always remember that they only have a limited effect.

If your dog gets a fever or the cough doesn’t improve after a few days, don’t hesitate to see the vet. Maybe there is something else behind the problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do dogs get coughs from?

There are many causes of coughing in dogs. Infections are the most common reasons (e.g. kennel cough, lungworm infestation), but allergies, heart problems, and tumors are also high on the list, followed by a collapsed trachea (in small dogs breeds) and foreign bodies in the respiratory tract.

What can I do if my dog has a cough?

Special sprays for the throat and upper respiratory tract can relieve your furry friend’s symptoms. If the dog has a wet cough, cough syrup can loosen the phlegm. Discuss treatment with your veterinarian.

How long does a dog cough?

As with the human flu, the duration of kennel cough can only be roughly estimated. Healthy dogs with strong immune systems can overcome the disease within a few days. In severe cases, dog owners must reckon with a duration of several weeks.

What to do if the dog coughs and chokes?

When a dog is coughing and retching, the most important thing is that water is always available. The air in the room should not be too dry, so as not to encourage the urge to cough. Owners should take care of a dog with a cold and keep it warm.

How do I recognize cardiac cough in dogs?

On clinical examination, a heart murmur is often audible and an increased heart rate is noted. Cardiac arrhythmias can also occur. Additional symptoms such as shortness of breath, rapid fatigue, heavy panting, poor performance, reluctance to exercise, or frequent restlessness are typical.

How long does a dog with a heart cough live?

Even puppies can show symptoms such as heart cough. The wrong connection can be closed with an operation that is now possible using a catheter. Affected dogs can then have a normal life expectancy.

What cough syrup can I give my dog?

Pulmostat acute by Virbac is a supplementary feed for dogs and cats. The Pulmostat acute can help reduce coughing. The cough syrup can have a supporting effect on the physiological defenses of the respiratory tract.

What medication for cough dog?

If necessary, additional medication such as antiallergics (antihistamines), anti-inflammatory, and bronchodilator agents can be useful. Depending on whether the dog has a dry or productive cough, cough suppressants (expectorants, mucolytics) or cough suppressants (antitussives) are available.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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