Why Does My Dog Cough When They’re Excited?

Key takeaway

Dogs cough for several reasons, but dogs coughing when excited isn’t uncommon. Your dog may also cough as a result of a medical condition, such as kennel cough or tracheal collapse. If your dog has a persistent cough, consider taking them to the vet for an exam.

A dog coughing can be a worrying sign for pet parents, but coughing isn’t always something to be concerned about. Believe it or not, dogs coughing when excited is actually fairly common, so there’s a chance you have nothing to worry about. That being said, it’s important to make sure your dog isn’t coughing because of a medical condition, which is why you need to watch out for other symptoms.

Dogs cough for lots of different reasons, but excitement is one of them. If your dog coughs when excited and you don’t notice them coughing at other times, there’s likely nothing to worry about. However, if you notice your dog is coughing while they’re walking around the house or lying down, it may be a sign of a medical condition.

You might be wondering, why does my dog cough when excited? And should you be worried about your dog coughing due to excitement? Here’s what you need to know about why dogs cough and whether your dog’s cough is a concern.

Why Dogs Cough

There are several reasons dogs cough, from medical conditions to excitement and anxiety and simply trying to get something out of their throat. Here are some of the potential causes of coughing in dogs.

Excitement & Anxiety

1. Excitement & Anxiety

For many dogs, excitement and anxiety can be a trigger for coughing. Some dogs get very excited when they’re playing or when somebody walks in the door, and that excitement can lead to coughing. A dog coughing when excited isn’t anything to worry about as long as your dog doesn’t seem to be experiencing discomfort from frequent coughing. If you’re worried about it, you can talk to a veterinary behaviorist about dealing with your dog’s anxiety.

Kennel Cough

2. Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a disease that can be caused by several different viruses, leading to a loud, hacking cough in dogs. Other symptoms of kennel cough may include a runny nose, low-grade fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. If your dog has kennel cough, you should take them to the vet for a diagnosis and get started on treatment right away.

Allergies

3. Allergies

Whether your dog is allergic to something in their food or the pollen in the spring air, those allergies can cause a cough. Irritation of the respiratory system is a common cause of coughing in both dogs and humans, and that’s precisely what many allergies trigger. If your dog has allergies that cause coughing, talk to your vet about giving them allergy medication to reduce symptoms.

Infections

4. Infections

Just like allergies can cause irritation in the respiratory system, so can infections. Various types of infections, including kennel cough, can lead to a dry cough in dogs. The good news is, your dog’s cough should go away when the infection goes away, so treating their infection is typically enough to relieve symptoms. If your dog has an especially bad cough that’s caused by an infection, your vet may also recommend cough suppressants.

Choking

Choking

Sometimes, dogs cough because they’re choking. While it’s not unusual for dogs to cough from time to time, you should check on your dog if you notice they’re coughing while they’re eating. Some dogs have a tendency to eat too quickly, which can cause them to choke because they’re not chewing their food properly. If your dog is choking, you should gently restrain them and do a finger sweep to try to remove the food or object from their mouth. If that doesn’t work, you can do the Heimlich maneuver to help expel the food that your dog is choking on.

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is a medical condition where a dog’s trachea becomes soft and narrow, which makes it more restrictive and can make it difficult to breathe. This is a chronic condition that’s more likely in older toy and miniature breeds, but it can happen to any dog. A dog with tracheal collapse may have difficulty breathing and a dry cough that won’t go away.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is an infection caused by a worm parasite that infects the bloodstream in dogs, which can be fatal if you don't treat it early. Heartworm disease is particularly common in areas with a lot of mosquitoes, as mosquitoes can transmit the larvae and eggs in the blood they get from other animals. Fortunately, heartworm disease can be prevented with heartworm prevention medication. You can also talk to your vet about taking your dog in for routine deworming treatments to keep infections at bay.

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer

If your dog has a chronic cough and seems to be in poor health in general, they may have lung cancer. This is a very serious medical condition, so it’s important to talk to your vet about steps you can take to keep your dog as comfortable as possible.

When to See a Vet

You probably don’t have anything to worry about if your dog is only coughing occasionally, but when should you call your vet to schedule an appointment? It’s important to consider the frequency and duration of your dog’s cough, as well as the severity of the cough and any other symptoms they’re experiencing.

If your dog has been coughing several times each day for many days or even weeks, they may be dealing with tracheal collapse or a similar medical condition. You should also be concerned if your dog seems to have trouble breathing before or after coughing fits.

When in doubt, it’s never a bad idea to call your vet and ask about your dog’s symptoms. When it comes to your pets’ health, you can never be too cautious.1

How Can I Prevent My Dog From Coughing When Excited?

In order to keep your dog from coughing when excited, you need to take steps to keep them calm. Training can be a good way to instill an overall calmer demeanor in your dog. You can even train your dog to sit down or go to a particular spot when somebody comes in the house, rather than getting excited and jumping up on you and your guests. And when you come in the house, try to enter with a calm demeanor and avoid causing too much commotion.

Keeping your dog calm can work wonders when it comes to reducing coughing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my dog coughing but acting normal?

If your dog is coughing but acting normal otherwise, that could be a sign that their cough is excitement or anxiety-related. Coughs that are caused by infections and other medical conditions typically present with other symptoms, including a runny nose, sneezing, or lethargy. If your dog is coughing when they’re playing or running around the yard, they might just be coughing because they’re too excited. However, it’s still worth talking to your vet about.

Does kennel cough get worse with excitement?

Your dog may experience a worse cough when they’re excited if they have kennel cough because excitement causes them to breathe more rapidly, which can lead to respiratory system irritation. It’s important to make sure your dog gets plenty of rest if they have kennel cough, that way they’re not exacerbating their cough and their body has time to recover and fight off the infection.

How do I know if my dog’s cough is serious?

For the most part, dogs coughing isn’t a huge concern. However, you may want to talk to your vet if your dog has a cough that persists for several days, or if they’re having difficulty breathing in addition to coughing. While a cough that’s caused by excitement is no big deal, kennel cough, infections, and other medical conditions can be serious if left untreated. If your dog is coughing more than usual and you’re worried about it, you can always schedule an appointment with your vet to figure out what’s going on.

Owner holding happy dog

Final Notes

From excitement and anxiety to kennel cough, allergies, and heartworm, there are several reasons your dog might develop a cough. What’s important is keeping an eye on your dog’s symptoms to make sure their cough isn’t serious, and taking them to a vet if you’re worried.

With Dutch, you can easily get vet help from the comfort of your home. Schedule an online video chat with a vet and get professional advice without loading your dog up in the car and driving to the vet. If you’re tired of the hassle that comes with vet trips, try Dutch today.