Why do dogs sneeze, cough, and sniffle?
A dog can sneeze, cough and sniffle just like a human. The dog seems to have a cold, but this is by no means always the case. A foreign object in the nose, dental problems, an allergy, pneumonia or a tumor cause the same complaints. A common cold usually disappears on its own, although the complaints can be worse in a dog with a reduced resistance. The infection takes place through contact with sick congeners. A cold can last for several weeks. Have the complaints not disappeared after a few weeks? Then a visit to the vet may be necessary. He can determine the cause through research.
Sneezing, a natural reaction of the body
Sneezing is the body’s natural response to irritants in the nose and lungs. These can be irritants such as pollen or tobacco smoke, but also objects that are sniffed. When sneezing, the dog exhales deeply and forcefully. Due to the powerful exhalation, the body removes the foreign object.
Does the sneezing turn into a runny nose?
The object does not always disappear with the sneezing. The sneezing diminishes after a few days and turns into a runny nose. That does not mean that the problem has been solved. The vet must (surgically) remove the object.
Grass ears can cause a lot of damage
In the spring and summer the grass will flower and form seeds. The seed has barbs that can only crawl in one direction. When a grass spike gets in the nose, it creeps up further and further. The dog’s body responds with an inflammatory response. Grass ears never disappear by themselves. The vet must remove them.
Inflammation and abscesses
Grass spikes not only get stuck in the nose, but also between the toes, in the lungs, the ears, the coat and the eyes. Sometimes the dog will eat a grass spike. The spikes penetrate everything and cause inflammation and abscesses. They can even crawl through the skin. To avoid this, it is important to check the dog’s coat after every walk.
Dental problems in the dog cause a runny nose
Bacteria in food scraps form plaque on a dog’s teeth. Plaque that is not removed will turn into tartar under the influence of mucus. Tartar irritates the gums, causing inflammation. These inflammations can go to the nasal cavity and cause a runny nose there. Dental problems can be recognized by: a runny nose, deposits on the molars, red and recessed gums and bad breath. After the dental problems have been resolved, the runny nose will disappear.
Sneezing due to an allergy
A dog can also have an allergic reaction to certain substances. Pollen, flowering grasses and tobacco smoke irritate the respiratory tract. The body responds with a snot nose or by sneezing. If there is hypersensitivity to certain substances, you can keep track of when the complaints occur. Based on this data, the vet makes the diagnosis and prescribes medication.
The growth of a tumor in the nose
Sometimes a tumor in the nose causes symptoms that resemble a cold. The dog has a stuffy nose, snot nose or nosebleed. A CT scan can then provide clarity about the size of the tumor and whether the bone is affected. Treatment consists of radiation or surgical removal of the tumor. Lymph node cancer (malignant lymphoon) is treated with drugs.
Cold or kennel cough
Cold in dogs is also called “kennel cough”. mentioned. Kennel cough is common and very contagious. If the dog comes close to a dog with kennel cough, it can transmit the virus through the air. Puppies, older dogs and dogs with a reduced immune system are more likely to be infected. In these dogs the complaints can also last longer.
What are the symptoms of a cold?
- To sneeze
- Running nose
- Bad appetite
When the dog coughs, it looks like something is stuck in its throat. He may also give up some liquid when coughing. Usually a cold goes away on its own. But with a severe cold it can take a little longer. The coughing can then persist for several weeks.
What can you do with a cold?
- Let the dog rest a lot. Rest promotes healing.
- Provide plenty of fresh drinking water.
- Remove stressors as much as possible.
- Exercise is good, but don’t go outside for too long.
- Provide a dust-free environment.
- Provide a smoke-free home.
- In case of persistent complaints, it is better to consult a veterinarian.
Vaccinate against kennel cough
A dog that comes into frequent contact with other dogs (eg the dog shelter) is more likely to develop kennel cough. As a precaution, you can have your dog vaccinated against kennel cough. However, a vaccination does not provide complete protection. Having a good resistance is just as important.
Cough due to pneumonia
A dog with pneumonia is coughing, short of breath and panting. The stamina is reduced and the appetite disappears. Sometimes the dog is slow. The symptoms of pneumonia can differ from dog to dog.
It starts with a cold virus
Young dogs are more prone to being infected with a cold virus. In itself this is a harmless virus, but the virus does affect the resistance of the dog. The reduced resistance gives bacteria the chance to multiply. This increases the risk of pneumonia.
Antibodies in breast milk
A puppy receives antibodies through its mother’s milk that protect it against diseases. But the resistance is weak during the time when the mother’s antibodies decrease and the own immune system starts working. The puppy is then more susceptible and more likely to contract pneumonia.
Swallowing or swallowing foreign objects
Pneumonia can also develop after a dog chokes or swallows a foreign object. Bacteria and fungi enter the respiratory tract and cause inflammation. To prevent this, the dog will cough.
Healthy dogs almost never choke. It mainly occurs in dogs with swallowing problems, epilepsy, diabetes or bronchitis. Dogs who vomit while under anesthesia are also more likely to develop pneumonia. The vomit can enter the lungs.
The treatment of pneumonia
The treatment of pneumonia usually consists of giving antibiotics. Sometimes the inflammation is caused by swallowing an object. The vet will then remove the object by means of a viewing operation. In some cases it is necessary to remove part of the lungs.