What Does It Mean If My Pet Has A Cough? – Pet Care FAQs

What Does It Mean If My Pet Has A Cough? – Pet Care FAQs

When people cough, it’s usually to clear our throats. Sometimes, however, it’s due to an underlying issue like a cold, flu, and pneumonia, among others. The same basic principles hold true for pets as well. If you’ve been asking yourself ‘what does it mean if my pet has a cough,’ then you should rest assured the answers are available. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why your pet may be coughing.

The Most Common Causes of Coughing in Pets

In most cases, if your dog coughs once in a while, and doesn’t persist, you should not have any cause for concern. However, if your pet is experiencing a persistent cough that is not going away, it’s time to visit the vet. This kind of cough is a sure sign that something unusual is happening just under the surface. Here are a few reasons your pet may be coughing.

Something in Their Throat

Pet’s can get things stuck in their throat just as you can. If you notice your pet is suddenly coughing violently, possibly sounding more like gagging, while trying to swallow and licking their lips there may be something lodged in their throat. It could be anything from a tiny grass seed or a larger object. If the object is not dislodged through your pet’s coughing efforts, you better play it safe and bring your pet into the vet for assistance.


Kennel Cough

If your otherwise healthy dog suddenly gets a bout of coughing that persists for more than a day, then there is a good chance they have contracted a viral or bacterial infection, often referred to as ‘kennel cough.’ It can sound like a deep, dry cough that may also include sneezing, gagging, and even vomiting.

This issue can persist for up to twenty days if left untreated and can recur if your pet undergoes any periods of heightened stress. This is an infection that is passed to your pet from another animal they came into contact with.

This cough should naturally go away within three weeks or so but can take twice that in an immunosuppressed senior pet. Most pets can recover on their own without medical intervention.

Even so, there are risks associated with untreated kennel cough, like pneumonia for instance. Play it safe and visit your vet to make sure complications do not arise.


There is a chance that your pet may be experiencing the effects of heartworm infection. If heartworm takes up space in the lungs (a common site for infection), your pet may end up with a mild cough. This is a condition that requires medical assistance form your vet.


If the sound of your pet’s cough is wet and gurgly, it can be a sign of fluid on the lungs. This is a sign that there may be a bout of pneumonia occurring that will require veterinary assistance to remediate.

Congestive Heart Failure

If there is fluid on the lungs due to congestive heart failure your dog may begin coughing. This is a sign of great concern and requires immediate medical attention.

Tracheal Collapse

Small breed dogs have a higher chance of experiencing tracheal collapse. This is a progressive, chronic condition that includes symptoms of honky coughs, problems with food, and an aversion to exercise.


If your pet has gone through all their shots, you shouldn’t have to worry about distemper. This condition is caused by an airborne virus that causes all kinds of problems, including a persistent cough. It’s a serious condition and can be avoided entirely through medication.

Final Thoughts

If you’re asking ‘what does it mean if my pet has a cough,’ then you may already have a coughing pet. Don’t get yourself all worked up thinking that it could be the worst. It’s wise to be aware of all the things that could be wrong, but you can always turn to us for help. We are here at all times to ensure that your pet is in great shape. If you suspect your pet may be experiencing an abnormal cough, please give us a call here at Snodgrass Veterinary Medical Center. Being a top veterinary clinic in the area, we will make sure everything is taken care of for you.