Canine Cough: What Dog Owners Should Know

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One of the things that new dog owners don't always recognize is that dogs are prone to respiratory problems, including coughing. Hearing your dog cough for the first time can be startling, and it may make you worry that your dog is sick or something is wrong. Understanding what can cause your pup to cough is important for easing that anxiety when it does happen. Here are a few common reasons why your dog might be coughing.

Irritants In Household Air

There are many irritants in the air inside your house, and some of them can cause dogs (and people) to cough. Things like ash, dandruff, mold, dust mites, and cat litter are some of the most common. In addition, deodorizers, household sprays, and similar products can leave particles in the air that can cause coughing.

Just like with people, these things won't affect all dogs. And even if you don't notice these things in the air in your home, that doesn't mean they aren't there. Some dogs are just more sensitive to it, especially if your dog already has an underlying respiratory issue.

Weight Issues

Overweight dogs are more prone to developing a variety of health problems, but what you may not expect is that it can cause coughing, too. The excess weight that your dog is carrying can actually put strain on your dog's respiratory tract. That can cause your dog to cough from the pressure. The only way to resolve that is by getting your dog to drop weight. That often means switching to a lower calorie food and increasing exercise. Your veterinarian can tell you the best way to help your pup drop a few pounds.


One of the last things you'd probably expect your dog to struggle with is coughing due to grass, but it can absolutely be a culprit. In fact, a single blade of grass inhaled up the nose can lead to significant coughing fits. The grass blade can actually lodge in the airway. Some grass types actually have sharp blades that can poke into your dog's skin, ultimately making its way to the lung. This can lead to serious respiratory problems as well.

Now that you understand some of the things that can cause coughing in your dog, you can more easily troubleshoot the problem. Talk with a veterinarian at facilities like Northwest Animal Hospital about any health concerns you might have and to help narrow down the source of your pup's respiratory struggles.