Dog coughs when excited

Dog Coughs When Excited – Irritation or Abnormality?


The sound of the dog cough rings bells in the dog parents’ heads. What happened? Is my dog sick? Why is he coughing? Should I consult my veterinarian? If your dog coughs when excited, being a responsible dog owner, you have every right to be concerned about it.

Most of the time, if a dog coughs after getting excited you have nothing to worry about but in some cases, it can be an indication of a serious underlying health problem.

Dog Coughs When Excited – Symptoms and Causes

Dogs cough when there is an irritation or abnormality in their respiratory system. Dogs naturally cough from time to time due to minor pollutants or irritation.

But if the dog coughs in an unusual way or more often than usual, it can be a sign of some underlying medical condition. You should keep a check and note the symptoms down if the dog coughs frequently in excitement or other situations.

A dog coughing when excited can be a symptom of mild respiratory tract infection or something serious like a heart problem. If you see your dog coughing with other symptoms, it is recommended to take your dog to the vet for diagnosis of actual problem.

dog coughs when excited

Many pet owners find it concerning that their dog starts coughing when excited. The cough can last for seconds to minutes and the pattern can be irregular.


Other symptoms that can occur alongside a dog cough are stated below

  • Dry barking sound
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Lethargy
  • Mucus cough or nasal discharge
  • Eye discharge
  • Gagging
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

If the problem persists and your dog does not show any other symptoms, you should check with your veterinarian to rule out a bacterial or viral infection in your dog’s lungs.

The reason a dog coughs when excited can be quite varied. In some cases, the cough can be due to their harder and quicker breathing rate. If the frequency of the coughing increases then your dog might be facing any of the the following conditions.

Why is my dog coughing


Give a read to the following causes and figure out if you can treat it at home or should you take your dog to the vet.

Kennel cough 

Kennel cough is usually a dry cough that sounds like something is stuck in your dog’s throat. If your dog has recently been in a kennel, at a park, or anywhere near other dogs, he may have kennel cough.

In this case, the first symptoms will only be coughing, but later on, you will notice that your dog is showing nasal discharge, lethargy, and fever. Kennel cough usually goes away in 1 or 2 weeks with proper care.

Respiratory tract problems

A dog could cough when excited due to respiratory tract problems like bronchitis, pneumonia, or influenza. Other symptoms will include heavy breathing, sneezing, and gagging after coughing. It is best to take your dog to the vet if you sense problems with his respiratory tract.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Simply called chronic bronchitis, this condition involves coughing up fluid. In this case, the mucous membranes of bronchi get inflamed and it leads to a dry and long-lasting cough which worsens with time. It is not always easy to identify the cause of the irritation. Your vet can prescribe appropriate medication to manage the symptoms.

importance of preventive medicine

Dog Tracheal collapse

There is another condition known as a tracheal collapse that is inherited in dogs. Small breed dogs like Yorkies are at higher risk of experiencing a collapsed trachea than other breeds. The tracheal wall becomes weakened and collapses causing coughing or a honking sound. It is mostly caused by excitement or exercise.

Heart disease

Just like humans, your canine friend can also suffer from a heart disease. And some breeds are more prone to heart diseases than others. Weak heart muscles can put pressure on the lungs, so your dog coughs when excited.

Your dog will also show other symptoms such as lack of energy, shortness of breath, weight loss and even total collapse.

These conditions demand immediate medical attention. Your vet will recommend regular checkups, long-term medication, no heavy exercise, and a change in the dog’s diet and lifestyle.


Lungworm is a parasitic worm that can cause coughing in dogs. If not treated on time, it can become serious in some cases. Dogs can catch this parasite outdoors so you need to keep a check if they eat snails or slugs.

It can travel from the intestines to the respiratory tract causing a serious infection. Roundworms and hookworms also cause respiratory tract infections and it can induces coughing in dogs.

Dog cough due to lung worms


Heartworms can induce coughing in dogs accompanied by weight loss and lethargy. It is spread by mosquitoes and monthly medications can be given to treat this condition.

The medication will kill the worms present in the body but it can take a long time and the injections can be risky and costly.  Heartworms can cause damages to the lungs and heart that can be life-threatening for some dogs. Dogs suffering from heartworms should be monitored closely until they recover completely.

Environmental allergens

Almost all dog breeds are prone to allergens. Allergens can be any harmful substances like pollens, or even grass.

These foreign materials travel down the airways and cause breathing problems. These particles can settle down in the lungs and can turn into an infection.

Fungal infections 

Fungal infections such as Aspergillosis can result in irritation in the nose and upper airways triggering a cough in dogs. You may notice a discharge from the nose, nosebleed, swelling, and pain in the area around and above the nose.

My dog coughs constantly


You should pay attention to your dog’s cough as it can be life-threatening in some cases. Diagnosis often starts with a clinical examination and lab testing.

The vet will do a complete physical checkup for any foreign object or particle in the dog’s throat.

If this is not the case, the vet will require laboratory tests to identify the cause of the coughing. It can be a bacterial infection or some allergy.

X rays and CT scans can also be recommended in severe cases.


If your dog coughs when excited, he can suffer from other conditions.

Basic treatments start with cough suppressants, antibiotics for bacterial infections, and steroids are prescribed for allergic reactions.

Treatment for tracheal collapse includes weight reduction and cough suppressants with some sedatives.

You should never give your dog medications on your own as you may misdiagnose the condition. So always leave this work to the professionals. Also, never give human medications to your dog as they can cause toxicity and can be fatal for them.


If your dog coughs as a result of abnormal heavy breathing then you should not hype him up. Especially if your dog is older, you should avoid strenuous exercises.

  • If the cough is due to some other medical conditions as described above then there are some preventive measures you can take to lessen the risk of dog coughing.
  • Vaccinations help reduce the respiratory problem risks for your dog.
  • Take the necessary health care measures if you are planning to keep your dog in the kennel.
  • Keeping your dog’s environment clean and free of allergens and pollutants will reduce the risks.
  • A healthy lifestyle and diet with proper rest are needed for your dog to have a balanced life and help with the above mentioned conditions.

Dog coughs when excited – Wrap Up

If your dog coughs when excited, it may indicate a serious health condition, so don’t it lightly.

Some of the serious conditions include chronic bronchitis, reverse sneezing, heart disease or even cancer.

If the cough is severe, unusual or it does not improve within a week, then consult with your veterinarian and take necessary measures.

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