Dog Coughs When He Barks: Causes & Types (Explained)

Last Updated on: June 10, 2024

Has your companion been coughing too much off late? Generally, our pups use their noses when exploring everything around them. Therefore, they’re bound to pick up carpet fibers, grass, dirt, and, in some cases, viruses and germs.

These materials are most likely some of the reasons why a dog coughs when he barks. 

However, the intensity of the Dog’s cough does matter. It could just be trying to clear its throat. But if the Dog’s cough is filled with phlegm, or it’s a honking cough or deeper, then you should get your pet treated. 

Your Dog may be suffering from canine influenza or chronic bronchitis.

Why Does My Dog Cough When It Barks?

If your dogs cough when they bark, it could be due to various reasons, and it’s important to consider their overall health and any other accompanying symptoms. 

Here are some common causes of dogs coughing when they bark:

  • Irritation: Sometimes, the Dog’s throat is irritated, or it has a sore throat, then it can start coughing. This dog cough happens if your Dog barks excessively or in a harsh manner.
  • Allergies: Dogs, like humans, can have allergies that may cause coughing, especially during specific seasons or in the presence of allergens.
  • Respiratory Infections: Respiratory infections, such as kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis), can lead to persistent cough in dogs. This Dog’s cough often gets worse when they bark.
  • Heart Issues: In some cases, coughing can be related to heart problems, like congestive heart failure, which can cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs.
  • Tracheal Issues: Dogs with tracheal problems, such as collapsing trachea and chronic bronchitis, may cough when they bark because of the irritation and pressure on their airway.
  • Foreign Objects: If a dog has swallowed a foreign object or something is stuck in their throat, it can cause coughing.
  • Exercise-Induced Cough: Some dogs may experience coughing after strenuous exercise or excitement, which is often referred to as “exercise-induced cough.”
  • Environmental Irritants: Exposure to smoke, strong odors, or other environmental irritants can lead to severe coughing in dogs.
  • Brachycephalic Breeds: Breeds with flat faces (brachycephalic breeds) are more prone to respiratory issues, and they may cough more frequently, especially when barking.
  • Dental Problems: Dental issues, such as gum disease or a foreign object caught between the teeth, can sometimes lead to coughing.

Types of Dog Coughs When Barks

When dogs cough, specifically while barking, it may be due to various underlying causes. The type of cough can provide some insight into the potential cause. 

Here are some types of coughs when the dog barks:

  • Excitement-Induced Cough: Some dogs get so excited when barking that they may cough. This type of cough is often short-lived and occurs when the Dog is highly enthusiastic or anxious. It’s generally not a cause for concern.
  • Irritation-Induced Cough: If the Dog’s throat or airways are irritated, they may cough when barking. This can result from barking excessively, inhaling irritants, or having a sore throat.
  • Tracheal Irritation Cough: Dogs with sensitive trachea may develop a cough, especially when they pull on their leash or bark loudly. This is common in small and toy breeds and is sometimes called “collapsing trachea.”
  • Allergy-Induced Cough: Dogs with allergies may cough while barking due to irritation in their respiratory tract. Allergies can be triggered by various factors, including pollen, dust, or certain foods.
  • Infectious Cough: Dogs with respiratory infections like kennel cough may cough more when they bark. This type of wet cough is typically harsh and may sound like they have something stuck in their throat.
  • Cardiac-Related Cough: Dogs with heart conditions can develop a cough, which may become more pronounced when they exert themselves by barking vigorously.
  • Inflammatory Conditions: Some dogs may have chronic inflammatory conditions affecting their respiratory system, leading to a cough that can worsen when they bark.
  • Dental Problems: Dental issues, such as gum disease or a foreign object caught in the mouth or throat, can cause a dog to cough while barking.
  • Stress-Induced Cough: Dogs that are stressed or anxious may develop a cough while barking. This cough can be related to their emotional state.

Is Coughing Dangerous for Our Dogs?

Coughing can be quite dangerous, particularly kennel cough. Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs. It is characterized by a persistent, harsh, and dry cough that can sound like the Dog has something stuck in its throat.

Kennel cough is caused by a combination of infectious agents, most commonly the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica, and viruses like parainfluenza and adenovirus

Some of the key characteristics of kennel cough include:

  • Hacking Cough: The most recognizable symptom is a dry, hacking cough that often becomes more pronounced when the Dog is active, excited, or barking.
  • Runny Nose: Dogs with kennel cough may have a runny or clear nasal discharge.
  • Sneezing: Some dogs with kennel cough may also exhibit sneezing.
  • Low-Grade Fever: In some cases, a mild fever may be present.
  • Lethargy: Kennel cough can lead to a temporary decrease in a dog’s energy level and appetite.
  • Transmission: Kennel cough is highly contagious and can spread easily in environments where dogs are in close contact, such as kennels, dog parks, grooming facilities, and shelters. It can also be transmitted through the air or via contaminated surfaces.
  • Self-Limiting: In most cases, kennel cough is a self-limiting condition and resolves on its own within a few weeks. However, in some cases, it can progress to a more severe respiratory infection, especially in puppies, older dogs, or dogs with weakened immune systems.

Treatment for kennel cough excessive coughing may include rest, humidity to soothe the respiratory tract, and, in some cases, cough suppressants. In more severe cases, antibiotics may be prescribed if there is a bacterial component to the infection. 

Any pup can catch kennel cough; therefore, dog owners should isolate dogs with kennel cough.

Preventive measures include vaccinating dogs against Bordetella and other respiratory pathogens and practicing good hygiene and sanitation in dog facilities to minimize the risk of transmission. 

If your Dog is showing symptoms of kennel cough, consult your veterinarian for guidance on appropriate care and treatment.

Conclusion

Dog barking is normal, but when it coughs, then you have a problem. If your dogs cough when they bark, especially if it persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, or difficulty breathing, it’s important to consult a veterinarian.

They can perform a thorough examination and may recommend diagnostic tests, such as X-rays or blood work, to determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment. The specific treatment will depend on the diagnosis, which is why it’s crucial to consult a professional for a proper evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my pup fake coughs?

Yes, our dogs are like kids, so they can fake a cough to get your attention or even let you know that they’re unwell.

Is coughing the same as gagging?

No, they may be similar, but they are not the same thing. Gagging resembles vomiting, with nothing coming out, while coughing is a hacking noise.

Is gagging a serious problem among dogs?

Unlike dogs cough, gagging is quite common and not a severe issue. However, it can become problematic if your pet loses its appetite or becomes unresponsive after gagging.

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