Definition of Coughing
Everyone knows what a cough is: the sudden, noisy, forceful expulsion of air from the lungs, which usually happens after an exaggerated “breathing-in” effort. Coughs are symptoms of some other problem, not an isolated problem of their own. They are triggered by airway irritation, which can come from infection and inflammation (tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia), cancer, heart disease, a collapsing trachea, blunt trauma, tight collars, internal parasites and inhaled foreign objects such as seeds, grass awns, foxtails or food particles. Coughs can also be caused by airborne environmental irritants. Long-lasting, dry hacking coughs can damage the sensitive lining of the respiratory tract, causing even more coughing and chronic discomfort. On the other hand, a productive cough can help clear unwanted mucus secretions from the airways, speeding up a dog’s recovery. Either way, any dog with a significant or prolonged cough probably should be seen by a veterinarian.