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Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  breeder/ vet assistant.
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My dog won't stop coughing. What should I do?

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What should I do if my dog won't stop coughing. She sounds like she is trying to "hack" something up? She is not eating and seems very sleepy.

It is possible your dog may have caught an upper respiratory illness such as kennel cough or possibly canine influenza. A heart condition such as heartworms can also cause a cough, which will need to be checked if your dog is not on heartworm preventative or an older dog. Kennel cough is normally contracted when a dog has been boarded or kenneled or around a large number of dogs such as at a dog show, dog park or pet store. Here is a website with more information on kennel cough.

Canine influenza is now becoming more prevalent and like it sounds it is a canine flu. Here is an excellent site on it.

You will want to monitor your dogs condition looking for colored discharge from the nose or eyes, a productive cough (coughs stuff up), stops eating or lethargy. These are signs of a possible bacterial infection as well and my require antibiotics. If your dog appears to be having a difficult time breathing, you will need to see your Vet as some dogs dog get really sick with canine influenza and need support to recover.

To help your dog breathe easier you can run a NON-medicated humidifier in the room your dog is in, or sit in a steamed up bathroom with your dog to help keep the mucous moving. Robitussin DM at a 1/4 teaspoon per 5 pounds can be used to control the cough. Dosages can be obtained at this website.

The following site goes over canine coughs.

Since your dog has stopped eating, have your dog seen by your vet as soon as possible.

I hope you find this information helpful.

jadedangel57 and 2 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Thank you for your answer but could my dog's cough have anything to do with the fact that she may have eaten a bird (pigeon) the same day she started this cough. She is 9 years old.

She may have irritated her throat in eating the bird. If she is vomiting and having diarrhea, she may have an intestinal blockage which you can read about here:

In addition, since she ate a bird and probably some bird feces, she could contract Cryptococcosis by inhaling infectious spores that may be present in bird droppings (frequently pigeons). Animals with suppressed or immature immune systems are most at risk of contracting Cryptococcosis. It does have a tendency to strike the nervous system. Symptoms include weight loss and lethargy, and if the central nervous system has been infected you can see head tilts, back and forth eye movements, inability to blink, incoordination, circling and even seizures. Some eye problems may also occur with cryptococcosis. You can read more about this here:

I urge you to have her seen and be sure and mention everything to the vet so he can run appropriate tests.