When the Dog Coughs

The wet, cold weather is classic cold weather – everyone is sniffling and coughing, and the danger of infection lurks everywhere. But what if the dog suddenly starts to cough croakingly? Has he also caught a cold or even been infected by his human?

Coughing in dogs can have many causes – after all, it is a very useful defense mechanism of the respiratory tract, because the body tries to rid itself of all kinds of foreign bodies in this way. Therefore, in the event of a sudden and very strong cough, it must always be remembered that a foreign body, for example, splinters from a stick or pieces of a bone, is stuck in the dog’s throat. In addition, there are of course several diseases that can trigger a cough, such as heart disease. Determining the cause of the cough is not always easy, even for an experienced veterinarian, so a thorough examination is always necessary for clarification.

A common cause of cough — similar to the human cold cough — is an upper respiratory tract infection. A dry, wheezing cough that lasts for several days, accompanied by strong retching with and without foamy sputum, can indicate the so-called kennel cough. “The term is irritating for many pet owners: it refers to the fact that the disease was and is particularly widespread in places where many dogs are kept – i.e. in dog boarding houses, animal shelters, or earlier in dog kennels – due to the high risk of infection,” explains veterinarian Dr . Thomas Steidl.

The pathogens, viruses, and various bacteria, are transmitted by droplet infection, ie infected animals sneeze or cough and infect other dogs. Animals that have a lot of contact with conspecifics, for example in dog training areas or dog playgrounds, are particularly at risk, and these are usually apartment dogs and not kennel dogs.

The kennel cough complex, as it is known professionally, can last up to two weeks and needs to be treated with an antibiotic because of the secondary bacterial infection. It is very important to keep the sick dog as calm as possible during this time so that the coughing does not turn into pneumonia. In addition, he must be consistently kept away from other animals so that they do not become infected.

The vet recommends the vaccination if the dog has a lot of contact with other animals, i.e. works regularly at the dog training ground or has to go to a kennel. It should be vaccinated because once the germs have infested the animal, it is often difficult to get rid of them. Since the vaccines do not cover the entire spectrum of pathogens of the kennel cough complex, vaccination does not guarantee 100% protection.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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