What are the Causes of Chronic Coughs in Puppy Dogs?

Puppy coughing may be a matter of size, environment or heredity.
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Puppies are a lot like people when it comes to coughing. Some dusty air or an allergy can trigger a bout of coughing for a few minutes or a few days. But persistent coughing in puppies can be a sign of something more serious than a respiratory irritation or even an infection. If you're pup's coughing lingers, take her to the vet right away.

Kennel Cough

Puppies as well as adult dogs can contract infectious canine tracheobronchitis, or kennel cough, when in the company of another infected dog. Typically, as the nickname implies, kennel cough results from time spent in close quarters with several dogs. For puppies, breeding centers and pet stores are often the root. The cough itself is a dry hacking cough that may sound like honking. Unvaccinated puppies and young dogs might experience the most severe symptoms, which include lethargy, fever and loss of appetite. Typically, a round of antibiotics cures the condition.

Roundworm and Heartworm

Puppies may contract many types of worms, but roundwotrms and heartworms in particular can lead to persistent, nagging coughing. Puppies contract roundworms by eating the worm's eggs off the ground, or by inheriting them from their infected mother. Roundworms migrate throughout the blood into the lungs, irritating the pup's respiratory system. Pups then cough up the worms. Mosquitoes transmit heartworms to puppies. Symptoms often don't show, but when they do, they include coughing and difficulty breathing. Prescribed medicines usually eliminate both types of worms.


Hookworms are a serious problem for puppies that, if left untreated, are usually fatal for them. Puppies typically ingest hookworms through their mother's milk. Adult dogs typically ingest them through contaminated water. Symptoms of hookworm infestation include pale lips, eyes and nostrils. If hookworms make their way to a puppy's lungs, he will cough chronically. Prescribed medicine typically solves the problem, but if advanced, a hookworm problem may demand iron and nutritional supplements to make puppies healthy again.

Congestive Heart Disease

Persistent coughing is the main symptom of congestive heart disease in puppies. The weakened heart muscle cannot pump blood efficiently, which leads to failure in the liver, kidneys and lungs. In small breeds, chronicvalvular disease with mitral regurgitation typically causes the disease. In older dogs, it's dilated cardiomyopathy. Either way, signs of the disease may not show up until the puppy overexerts and becomes short of breath. Various drugs treat the disease by helping the heart pump, and B vitamins often help.