Why is My Dog Coughing and Sneezing?

As a dog owner, it can be about when your furry friend starts coughing and sneezing. Dogs can develop respiratory problems that result in similar symptoms, just like humans can. Sometimes, dogs sneeze, which is okay. But if your dog keeps coughing and sneezing a lot, it could mean something is wrong. This article will discuss why your dogs coughing and sneezing and when you should take them to the vet.

1. Common Causes of Sneezing in Dogs

Dogs sneeze for different reasons. It may be a little issue or something more significant. Knowing why your dog sneezes helps you see if it’s okay or if you must take it to the vet. Here, we elaborate on the common causes of sneezing in dogs in greater detail.

1.1 Environmental Allergies

Environmental allergies, often called atopy, are among dogs’ leading causes of sneezing. Just like humans, dogs can be sensitive to allergens in their surroundings. These allergens can include:

1.1.1 Pollen:

In spring and fall, when there’s a lot of pollen in the air, dogs can breathe in pollen. This can make them sneeze and have allergies.

1.1.2 Dust Mites:

Tiny organisms that thrive in household dust can trigger sneezing and other allergy symptoms when inhaled by dogs.

1.1.3 Mold Spores:

Mold can grow in damp environments, and when dogs encounter mold spores in the air, it can provoke sneezing and nasal discomfort.

1.1.4 Household Cleaners and Fragrances:

Strong smells from cleaning stuff, perfumes, or air fresheners can bother a dog’s nose. This can make them sneeze.

1.2 Infections

Another frequently occurring reason for canine sneezing is respiratory illnesses. These infections can be viral or bacterial and often affect the upper respiratory tract. The most notable Upper respiratory infections include:

1.2.1 Kennel Cough (Infectious Tracheobronchitis)
Dogs in busy kennels, dog parks, or grooming places can easily catch a contagious cough. Along with coughing, sneezing is a prominent symptom.
1.2.2 Canine Influenza

Similar to human flu, canine influenza can lead to sneezing and coughing. It spreads quickly among dogs nearby.

1.3 Nasal Irritants

Dogs are curious creatures, and they explore their surroundings by sniffing. This behavior can expose them to various irritants that may trigger sneezing, including:

1.3.1 Strong Odors:

Dogs might sneeze when exposed to potent chemical odors, such as paint fumes or cleaning agents.

1.3.2 Foreign Objects:

If a dog sniffs or snorts a foreign object like grass, a small toy, or a piece of food, it can cause sneezing as the body attempts to expel it.

1.4 Nasal Polyps or Tumors

Sometimes, dogs might sneeze because of nasal polyps or tumors. These can block their nose and make them sneeze a lot. If your dog keeps sneezing a ton, especially with stuff coming out of their nose or bleeding, you should take them to the vet.

In short, sneezing in dogs is usually okay, but watch out for changes or other problems. Finding out why they’re sneezing helps keep them healthy. If you’re worried about your dog’s sneezing or it isn’t good, ask a vet for help.

2. Common Causes of Coughing in Dogs

ommon Causes of Coughing in Dogs' with bullet points, indicating various reasons for canine coughing.
Uncover the Why: Explore the Common Causes of Coughing in Dogs

Coughing in dogs is a common symptom that can arise from various underlying causes. Identifying the issue’s root is crucial to ensuring your canine companion’s health and well-being. Here, we provide an in-depth exploration of the common causes of coughing in dogs.

2.1 Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections are a prevalent cause of coughing in dogs. These infections can be viral or bacterial and affect various respiratory system parts. Common respiratory infections include:

2.1.1 Kennel Cough (Infectious Tracheobronchitis):
Dogs can catch this sickness easily in busy places like kennels, grooming spots, or dog parks. The primary symptom is a persistent dry cough, like a “honking” sound.
2.1.2 Canine Influenza:

Canine influenza, or dog flu, can lead to coughing, nasal discharge, and fever. It spreads rapidly in areas with close dog-to-dog contact.

2.1.3 Pneumonia:

Bacteria or viruses can give dogs pneumonia. This makes them cough, feel tired, have trouble breathing, and get a fever.

2.2 Heart Disease

Heart disease can result in a chronic, dry cough in dogs. This cough typically occurs when the heart struggles to pump blood effectively, leading to fluid buildup in the lungs. Heart-related coughing is often more noticeable during exercise or excitement.

2.3 Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is more common in small dog breeds like Chihuahuas and Pomeranians. The trachea can get narrow when the cartilage weakens. This makes a unique honking cough. Excitement, exercise, or pulling on a leash can make the dog cough.

2.4 Foreign Objects

Dogs are curious and might eat small things stuck in their throats. When something blocks their airway, they cough to get it out.

2.5 Allergies

Environmental allergies, similar to those in humans, can cause coughing in dogs. Pollen, dust mites, mold spores, or specific foods can cause dog allergies. This can make them cough or sneeze.

2.6 Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis in dogs is characterized by persistent inflammation of the airways. This condition can lead to a regular, productive cough, often seen in older dogs.

2.7 Smoke and Irritants

When dogs breathe in smoke, strong smells, or irritating stuff like cleaning chemicals, it can bother their lungs and make them cough.

2.8 Lungworm Infection

Lungworms are tiny bugs that can get into a dog’s lungs. This can make the dog cough, have trouble breathing, and cause other lung problems.

2.9 Heartworm Disease

A dog with bad heartworm disease can make them cough because the parasites block their lung arteries. This can cause problems in their heart and lungs.

2.10 Cancer

While less common, lung cancer or tumors in the chest can also manifest as coughing in dogs. This typically occurs in older dogs.

In short, dogs can cough for many reasons, some not too serious, and others terrible. If your dog keeps coughing a lot, especially if they also seem tired, have trouble breathing, or don’t eat like usual, you should take them to the vet quickly. Finding the problem early and treating it can make your dog feel better.

3. How to Determine the Cause of Dog Coughing and Sneezing

To find out why your dog is coughing and sneezing, watch how they act and ask a vet. The vet will check your dog carefully and might do X-rays, blood tests, or nose swabs.

3.1 Treatment Options

The treatment for your dog’s coughing and sneezing will depend on the underlying cause. It may involve medication, Surgery, or removing allergens from your dog’s environment. The best course of action will be suggested to you by your veterinarian.

3.2 Preventive Measures

Preventing sneezing in dogs involves maintaining their overall health. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and a clean living environment can go a long way in keeping your furry friend sneeze-free.

4. How to Protect Your Dog from Coughing and Sneezing

As a good pet owner, you take steps to keep your dog from coughing and sneezing. Even though you can’t control everything, there are things you can do to keep your dog healthy.

4.1 Regular Veterinary Check-Ups

Make sure to set up regular appointments with your vet. These visits help the vet find and fix health problems early, like coughing and sneezing.

4.2 Vaccinations

Ensure your dog gets all their shots, especially ones that prevent diseases like kennel cough. Vaccines can help stop them from getting sick.

4.3 Good Hygiene

Maintain good hygiene practices for your dog:

4.3.1 Regular Grooming:

Regularly groom your dog to keep their coat clean and free of allergens, dirt, and potential irritants.

4.3.2 Clean Living Environment:

Keep your dog’s living space clean and free of dust, mold, and other potential allergens. Regularly wash bedding and vacuum to minimize irritants.

4.3.3 Avoid Smoke and Strong Odors:

Stop your dog from being near cigarette smoke, strong smells, or perfumes. These things can make their breathing uncomfortable.

4.4 Allergen Management

Identify and manage allergens that may affect your dog:

4.4.1 Know Your Dog’s Allergies:

If your dog has known allergies, work with your vet to develop a management plan, including testing and treatment.

4.4.2 Limit Outdoor Exposure:

Consider limiting your dog’s outdoor activities to reduce allergen exposure on days with high pollen counts.

4.5 Exercise and Weight Management

Maintain your dog at a healthy weight through proper diet and regular exercise. Obesity can put additional strain on their respiratory system.

4.6 Avoid Overexertion in Extreme Weather

Don’t let your dog play outside too much when it’s hot or cold outside. Hot or cold weather can make them cough or have trouble breathing. Always provide shade and fresh water.

4.7 Proper Leash and Collar Use

Put a good-fitting collar or harness on your dog. This helps avoid pushing too hard on their neck, which can make some breeds with tracheal collapse cough.

4.8 Avoid Exposure to Sick Dogs

Minimize contact with dogs exhibiting signs of illness, especially if you’re in an area where infectious diseases are prevalent.

4.9 Dental Care

Maintain your dog’s dental health to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which can lead to coughing if left untreated.

4.10 Parasite Prevention

Make sure your dog is safe from bugs like heartworms and lungworms. Do what your vet says to keep them protected.

4.11 Stress Reduction

Your dog may become more prone to infections if their immune system is compromised by stress. Provide a stable and loving environment to reduce stress.

4.12 Healthy Diet

To promote general health, give your dog a healthy and well-balanced diet. For advice on the ideal diet for your dog’s requirements, go to your vet.

Doing these things can help stop your dog from coughing and sneezing. And if your dog keeps having problems or gets sick, go to the vet early. It can help your dog stay healthy and happy.

5. Treatment of Coughing and Sneezing in Dogs

Veterinarian treating dog's cough and sneeze.
Providing relief for coughing and sneezing in our Dog

Treating coughing and sneezing in dogs depends on the underlying cause of these symptoms. While reasons may require professional veterinary care, others can be managed at home. Here are general guidelines for addressing coughing and sneezing in dogs:

5.1 Consult a Veterinarian

You must talk to a vet if your dog constantly coughs and sneezes. The vet will check your dog carefully and might do tests like X-rays or blood work to determine why.

5.2 Follow Veterinary Recommendations

Once your vet has identified the cause of your dog’s coughing and sneezing, follow their recommended treatment plan diligently. Treatment options may include:

5.2.1 Medications
  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections.
  • Antiviral medications for viral infections.
  • Cough suppressants or bronchodilators to alleviate coughing.
  • Antihistamines or corticosteroids for allergies.
  • Heart medications for heart-related issues.
5.2.2 Surgery
  • Surgical intervention may be necessary for conditions like tracheal collapse removal of nasal polyps or tumors.

5.3 Provide a Comfortable Environment

Create a comfortable and stress-free environment for your dog to aid in their recovery:

  • Ensure a clean living without irritants like smoke, strong odors, or allergens.
  • Maintain a consistent temperature in your home, avoiding extreme cold or heat.
  • Keep fresh water in your dog’s water bowl at all times.
  • Provide soft bedding to help them rest comfortably.

5.4 Administer Medications as Prescribed

If your vet gives you medicine for your dog, give it to them just like the vet says. Please don’t change the amount or stop without asking the vet because it can make your dog sicker.

5.5 Monitor Your Dog’s Progress

Keep a close eye on your dog’s symptoms and overall condition. If you notice any improvement or worsening of symptoms or the emergence of new issues, inform your veterinarian promptly.

5.6 Preventive Measures

Taking preventive measures can help reduce the risk of coughing and sneezing in the first place:

  • Ensure your dog gets all their shots, especially for illnesses like kennel cough.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices, including regular grooming and cleaning your dog’s living space.
  • Avoid exposing your dog to smoke, strong odors, or harsh chemicals.
  • Manage allergens if your dog has known allergies through environmental control or prescribed treatments.

5.7 Follow-Up Visits

Keep going to the vet as they tell you to. This helps see how your dog is doing and changes the treatment if needed.

5.8 Emergency Care

If your dog is sick with lousy coughing, trouble breathing, collapsing, or other serious problems, immediately visit the vet or an animal clinic.

Remember, what helps your dog get better depends on what the vet says. Finding and treating the problem early is essential so your furry friend can be healthy and happy.


In conclusion, while occasional sneezing is usual for dogs, persistent coughing and sneezing should not be ignored. It’s crucial to identify the underlying cause and seek appropriate treatment. Remember that your veterinarian is your best resource for ensuring your dog’s health and happiness.

FAQs About Dog Coughing and Sneezing

Is it normal for dogs to sneeze when they play?

Yes, dogs often sneeze when they're excited or playing. It's usually not a cause for concern unless it becomes chronic.

Can I give my dog an over-the-counter antihistamine to treat his sniffles?

It's essential to consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication, as some human drugs can harm dogs.

How can I reduce allergens in my dog's environment?

Regular cleaning, using air purifiers, and washing your dog's bedding can help reduce allergens in your home.

When should I be worried about my dog's sneezing?

If your dog's sneezing is persistent, accompanied by other concerning symptoms, or lasts for more than a few days, it's time to consult a vet.

Can nasal tumors in dogs be treated successfully?

The prognosis for nasal tumors in dogs depends on various factors, including the type of tumor and how advanced it is. Some cases can be treated successfully with surgery or other therapies.

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