dog coughing in boston, ma

My Dog is Coughing — Should I Call the Vet?

Have you noticed your dog coughing recently? When dogs cough, it can be alarming, especially to pet parents who haven’t seen this symptom very much in their pets. However, you don’t have to automatically rush off to the vet every time your dog coughs, and it’s important to learn how to tell the difference between a serious cough and a mild one.

Read through the article below to find out more information about recognizing when you should call the veterinarian for your dog’s cough. With the help of this list, you can better understand your pet’s symptoms and what they might mean.

Wait and Monitor Your Dog’s Coughing

It is not necessary to call the vet each time your dog coughs. Here are a few scenarios to wait and monitor your dog before calling the vet.

Coughs Once or Twice

If your dog only coughs once or twice in a day which may be signs of only very mild problems. It is possible that coughing a couple of times a day may worsen, but if it does not—and if it goes away in a few days—no vet visit is required.

There are No Other Symptoms

If coughing is the only symptom your dog is showing, it’s okay to wait a few days and see how things go. They may just be dealing with some allergies that will clear up quickly.

Your Dog has a Diagnosed Condition

If your dog is coughing normally for their diagnosed health condition, there’s no need to rush to the veterinarian. Dogs with heart disease, collapsing trachea, and other conditions may cough frequently as part of their normal lives.

Kennel Cough

If your dog has recently had kennel cough it takes a while to clear up. If your dog has recently had kennel cough and has been medicated for it already, it may just take a bit longer for the cough to go away. You can always talk to your vet to be sure in this instance, however.

When to Call the Vet for Your Dog’s Cough

There are some instances when it is best to call your veterinarian about your dog’s cough sooner rather than later.

Cough Lasts for Days

Call you veterinarian if your dog’s cough lasts more than a couple of days. Most of the time, mild causes of coughing in dogs will run their courses in a couple of days. However, if the cause is moderate to severe, your dog could continue coughing for several days. In this situation, it’s time to make an appointment with the vet.

Your Dog has a Fever

A fever along with a cough usually means your dog has some type of respiratory infection. They will need to see the vet to figure out the right treatment plan for your dog’s fever and cough.

Not Drinking Enough Water

If your dog is coughing so much that they don’t want to drink much water, this may mean your pet has an infection or illness that requires medical treatment. Your vet will be able to tell you more about what’s going on with your dog.

If you are unable to get your dog in to see the regular vet for more than two days, and your dog isn’t drinking enough fluids, go to the emergency vet. Your dog may need fluids sooner than your regular vet will be available.

Worsening of a Diagnosed Condition

If your dog has a condition that causes his coughing, such as heartworm disease or congestive heart failure, you may be used to coughing fits by now. However, if you notice his condition worsening, it’s a good idea to reach out to the regular vet for another checkup.

When Your Dog Should See an Emergency Vet for Coughing

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms along with coughing it is best to call the emergency vet.

Trouble Breathing

Trouble breathing with a severe cough can be a sign that your dog has inhaled something that is blocking their airways. It may also be a sign of serious heartworm disease. In both instances, your dog will need to see an emergency vet without waiting.

Lethargy or Weakness

Lethargy, weakness, or inability to rouse when combined with a serious cough can be an indicator of a variety of dangerous canine illnesses. If your dog exhibits symptoms like these together, it’s important to take them to the emergency vet quickly, as your pet may need medical intervention as soon as possible to help recover.

In Conclusion

Most of the time, dogs don’t need to be taken to the vet or emergency vet right away for a cough. Many coughs can be monitored for a few days to see if they get better first. However, as you can see in the article above, there are some situations that do require a very quick response from you as a pet parent.

If you have any doubt at all about your pet’s symptoms, it’s better to go ahead and see a vet than to wait. Otherwise, keep this information in mind the next time you notice your dog coughing.

If you need to talk with a veterinarian about your dog’s coughing, Boston Veterinary Clinic can help, book an appointment online!