Get Your Dog Care Questions Answered by Experts
Hello, this is Dr. Jess. I am sorry to hear about Niko.
How long has the cough been going on for?
Is Niko eating and drinking normally?
Is his energy level normal?
Is he having any trouble breathing?
Ok. And how often is the cough? Is he able to sleep normally?
Does he have any history of health problems or heart murmur?
Any discharge from the nose or eyes?
Ok. And any history of going to the groomer or a kennel? Does he go on walks?
What vaccines has he had? Has he had the kennel cough/bordetella vaccine?
Does "all his shots" include kennel cough/bordetella? There are numerous different vaccines we give dogs, not every dog gets exactly the same vaccines... so "all his shots" may mean something different to different people!
So there are many different things that can cause coughing in dogs. One of the most common is an upper respiratory infection, such as kennel cough. Even a dog who has been vaccinated can get an infection, it just usually ends up being milder than an unvaccinated dog. If this has just been going on for a few days and he is otherwise normal (normal appetite,energy, breathing) and no nasal or ocular discharge, then that would be my first rule out on our list of possibilities. I also worry about heartworms (sounds like your dog is hopefully on preventative), heart disease (especially if any history of murmurs), collapsing trachea in a small breed like a pomeranian, and other infections (such as bacterial, fungal, and viral).
The safest thing is obviously a visit to your vet to ensure there isn't a more serious issue going on causing the cough. The other benefit is that if it is an upper respiratory infection like kennel cough, then they can prescribe an antibiotic which will shorten the course of the disease. If untreated, many cases will resolve on their own but it can take a few weeks and we do run the risk of it progressing to a lower respiratory infection/pneumonia. HEre is an article with some information on the disease:http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=600. Until you are able to see a vet, sometimes a humidifier in the room with the dog will help keep airways moist or you can put them into the bathroom while running a steamy shower for 5 to 10 minutes to help keep the respiratory passages moist.
Sometimes over the counter cough medicine (robitussin DM) can be helpful, but without knowing if the cause of the cough is an upper respiratory infection for certain, it is hard to gaurantee it may help and may not harm (i.e. if this cough is due to heart disease this isn't going to be helpful). I always recommend consulting your dog's vet before starting any medications, even over the counter. Here is an article on this drug including uses, side effects/interactions, and dose: http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/dextromethorphan-robitussin-dm.
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