Reasons Why Your Cat or Dog is Coughing

If your pet develops a cough, it's important to contact your veterinarian. The cough can be very subtle and seem like nothing, but it should always be viewed as an important clue. There are many reasons why a pet may cough ranging from a gag reflex from drinking water to cancer. Many of the reasons are quite serious such as heart disease, pneumonia or asthma. A cough can be a symptom of a contagious condition (e.g. kennel cough) and some breeds are more prone to coughing as a result of congenital conditions. Regardless of the reason, a cough should not be taken lightly and always warrants a visit to the vet.


Tessie's Story
A few years after we adopted our rescue dog Tessie, we noticed a very subtle cough. It occurred infrequently and didn't seem to bother her. However, we brought her to the veterinarian and after a month of repeated ultrasounds, a tiny mass was found on her heart. Unfortunately our beloved dog had hemangiosarcoma. While we were devastated with her diagnoses, we were grateful we found the mass early because hemangiosarcoma is one of the most aggressive cancers and had we not known about her condition, the tumor could have burst unexpectedly. Finding the cause of her cough ensured that Tessie had a good quality of life without suffering.

If your pet is coughing, here are some possible causes:

Kennel Cough: One of the most common cause of coughing, in an otherwise healthy dog, is found to be kennel cough. It is a very contagious disease and your dog should avoid exposure to other dogs. The cough will tend to be a dry, deep, hacking cough and may be worse when exercising our walking on a leash. Using Quentans and Notatum can be helpful and adding Amazing Omegas for immune support should be considered.

Pneumonia or Bronchitis: Your pet may have a wet cough, and you may hear a gurgling sound in their chest. In addition to coughing, your pet could also have discharge from the eyes and nose, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, lethargy and difficulty breathing. Antibiotics may be prescribed and using
Quentans and Notatum along with Power Probiotic will help. Infections can be viral, fungal or parasitic as well. Cats with viral conditions may be prone to chronic upper respiratory infections.

Obstruction: If it is sudden onset, your pet is gagging and licking their lips, they could have something stuck in their throat. If it continues, or grows worse, seek medical attention right a way.

Feline Asthma Can Cause A Cat To Cough

Asthma or Allergies:
Pets may cough due to asthma or allergies. Changing the cat's diet, using a few supplements and making some environmental changes can greatly improve the health of your pet. For an indepth article about feline asthma please click here.

Food allergies can also be a trigger for both dogs and cats. Avoiding common allergens such as poultry can help. A list of common food allergens in pet foods is included in this article.

Collapsing Trachea: Many tiny breed dogs may be predisposed to a collapsing trachea. They may make a honking sound (similar to a goose) and it is made worse with pressure of a collar or pulling on a leash. It can also happen after eating or drinking. You can read more on our blog about collapsing trachea. Holistic supplements including Amazing Omegas and Ultra-flex Collagen for Pets can help.

Heart Disease: Coughing can be a sign of congestive heart failure, especially if your pet coughs at night when lying down. Treatment will depend on how severe the problem is and the overall condition of your pet. We have found that Amazing Omegas, Purrfect Pet CoQ10, and Heart Terrain for Pets have been shown to be beneficial for pets with heart disease.

Cancer: Coughing can accompany fluid accumulation around the chest and lungs (pleural effusion) making breathing difficult. The pet may be panting, have difficulty settling down, have exercise intolerance and water retention in the belly. Pleural effusion may occur due to non-cancerous causes such as an infection or congestive heart failure, so determining if there is a tumor is essential. An ultrasound, XRAYs and biopsy of the fluid, along with other laboratory tests are often needed: Immune Harmony. Resveratrol for Dogs and Purrfect Pet CoQ10 are helpful to use along with medications prescribed by your veterinarian.

There are other reasons why your pet may be coughing and this is only a partial list. It's important to understand though, that a cough should not be ignored as timing could be crucial to your pet's welfare. Need help with your pet? Please don't hesitate to email us at We will respond promptly and are happy to help.