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Why Is My Dog Coughing Like Something Is Stuck in His Throat?

Dog Coughing, Pet Health, Canine Health, Dog Throat Issue,


You’re sitting in your living room, enjoying a quiet moment, when you hear it—your dog starts coughing as if something is lodged in his throat. It’s a distressing sound that can make any pet owner worry. The reason your dog is coughing like something is stuck in his throat could range from a simple cause like a hairball to more complex issues such as kennel cough or foreign objects.

Identifying the Underlying Causes

Before jumping to conclusions, it’s crucial to observe the symptoms closely. Various factors can lead to this kind of cough, including:

  • Hairballs or foreign objects: These are among the most common reasons. Dogs are curious animals and can sometimes swallow things they shouldn’t.

  • Kennel Cough: This is a highly contagious respiratory disease. You’ll typically notice a harsh, dry cough.

  • Allergies: Yes, dogs can have allergies too. This can often lead to coughing and sneezing.

  • Tracheal Collapse: This is a more severe condition common in small breeds.

Immediate Steps to Take

If you notice your dog is struggling with a cough, immediate action can often alleviate the issue.

  • Inspect the mouth: Put on some gloves and carefully check for any foreign objects.

  • Hydration: Offer your dog some water. Sometimes, simple hydration can alleviate the cough.

  • Isolation: If you have other pets, keep the coughing dog separate to avoid any potential spread of disease.

When to consult a veterinarian

Though you may be tempted to treat the issue yourself, there are situations when professional help is essential.

  • Persistent Cough: If the cough lasts more than 24 hours, consult a veterinarian immediately.

  • Additional Symptoms: If you notice lethargy, loss of appetite, or discolored gums, seek professional advice.

  • Labored Breathing: Any breathing difficulty warrants immediate veterinary attention.

Diagnostic Procedures and Treatments

Once you consult a veterinarian, they may recommend diagnostic tests to identify the underlying issue.

  • X-rays: These can show any foreign objects or abnormalities.

  • Blood tests: These tests can identify underlying conditions like allergies.

  • Bronchoscopy: In more severe cases, a bronchoscope may be used to look directly at the airways.

Depending on the diagnosis, treatment could range from antibiotics for infections to surgery to remove foreign objects.

Prevention is better than cure.

To avoid future occurrences, consider the following preventive measures:

  • Proper Diet: Make sure your dog is eating a balanced diet that is appropriate for its breed and size.

  • Regular Exercise: Adequate physical activity helps with overall well-being, including respiratory health.

  • Avoid Toxic Substances: Keep toxic substances, including certain plants and foods, out of your dog’s reach.

    Dog Coughing, Pet Health, Canine Health, Dog Throat Issue,
    Why Is My Dog Coughing Like Something Is Stuck in His Throat?

Additional Factors that Can Cause Coughing in Dogs

Beyond the commonly considered reasons, there are other factors that can contribute to your dog’s discomfort:

  • Heart Disease: Sometimes a cough can be indicative of cardiovascular issues. This usually comes with symptoms like sluggishness and reduced enthusiasm for exercise.

  • Dental Problems: Infected or rotting teeth can sometimes cause a dog to cough.

  • Smoke and fumes: Exposure to environmental irritants like cigarette smoke or strong cleaning chemicals can result in coughing.

Non-Medical Interventions to Consider

There are a few at-home remedies you might consider if your dog’s coughing is infrequent and not accompanied by other alarming symptoms:

  • Steam Therapy: A little exposure to humid air can help relieve minor respiratory discomfort.

  • Herbal Remedies: Some herbs, like licorice root and marshmallow root, can help alleviate mild coughs. However, consult your veterinarian before administering any herbal remedies to your pet.

  • Cough Syrups: While there are over-the-counter cough syrups for dogs, consult a veterinarian for proper dosing and suitability for your pet.

Canine Coughing: Breed-Specific Concerns

Certain breeds are more susceptible to respiratory issues.

  • Brachycephalic Breeds: Dogs like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shih Tzus often have congenital respiratory challenges that may result in frequent coughing.

  • Small Breeds: Miniature and toy breeds often have more delicate tracheas and are more prone to tracheal collapse.

Natural versus synthetic treatments

You might find a variety of treatment options online, ranging from natural home remedies to pharmaceutical solutions. Here’s what to know:

  • Natural Treatments: While they can be effective for minor issues, natural treatments are usually not sufficient for severe conditions.

  • Synthetic Treatments: Medications like antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs are more potent and can address the root cause quickly, but they come with side effects.

Monitoring Your Dog’s Health Post-Treatment

After your dog receives treatment, it’s essential to continue monitoring for any signs of recurrence.

  • Regular Check-ups: Keep up with regular veterinary visits to monitor your dog’s overall health.

  • Follow-up Tests: Some conditions might require subsequent diagnostic tests to ensure complete recovery.

  • Lifestyle Changes: Your veterinarian may recommend changes to your dog’s diet or environment to prevent future incidents.


Understanding why your dog is coughing like something is stuck in his throat requires close observation and, in some cases, medical intervention. Whether it’s a mild irritation or a symptom of a more serious condition, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are essential for your dog’s well-being. So, take action swiftly and consult professionals when necessary to ensure your furry friend lives a long, healthy, and happy life.

Coughing like something is stuck in a dog’s throat is not uncommon and can often be treated effectively. Always observe the symptoms closely and consult a veterinarian for a professional diagnosis and treatment plan.