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Help! My Overweight Dog Is Coughing.

overweight dog coughing
overweight dog coughing

We often think of excess weight in dogs slowing their ability to move and causing stress on joints and muscles. But, the symptoms of obesity in dogs include difficulty breathing and heart stress.

Why is your overweight dog coughing? There’s a high likelihood the cough is more than obesity. But, a severely obese dog can suffer from coughing caused by the pressure of excess fat on the respiratory tract — decreasing its respiratory rate and lung capacity.

Any reoccurring cough needs a veterinarian’s attention.

Coughing can be a sign of a more significant — even life-threatening — health issue and should not be taken lightly or brushed off due to a dog’s obesity. Common causes of coughing include: 

  • Dirt or debris
  • Kennel cough
  • Canine influenza
  • Heart disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Tracheal collapse

Obesity is detrimental to a dog’s health. Maintaining a healthy weight prevents discomfort and pain while preventing obesity-causing diseases in dogs. and extending your time together.

How can I tell if my overweight dog’s coughing is excessive or normal?

Our dogs are always sniffing their way through life. Navigating by scent provides plenty of opportunities to inhale pollen, dirt, grass, and various irritants that cause coughing.

An occasional cough is normal, but you must monitor signs of repetitive coughing. To better understand the severity of overweight dog coughing, ask these three questions:

1. In an ordinary course of a day, when is your overweight dog coughing? 

If you spend your mornings sneezing and blowing your nose, that same hay fever may impact your dog. Allergens in the air affect our dogs, too, causing red eyes, sneezing, and coughing.

The time of day your dog coughs — and your dog’s activity when coughing — can answer many questions.

Increased nighttime coughing is common in dogs with kennel cough. Kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection commonly spread at dog parks and while sharing toys. 

Congestive heart failure can cause a dog to cough more when sleeping or laying down due to fluid buildup in the lungs. The most common symptom of heart failure is a persistent dry cough.

overweight dog coughing. A beagle lays on a rug not feeling good

2. Is your dog showing more symptoms?

When we call our veterinarians, there’s one question they always ask “is your dog eating and drinking water?”. Since our dogs can’t communicate with us, observing behaviors helps identify concerns. 

Coughing is no different. To help diagnose, look for some of the following signs:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fainting or collapsing

When any additional signs of illness accompany a repetitive cough, seek medical attention immediately.

3. How does your dog’s coughing sound?

Aside from behavior, the type of cough can be telling. An overweight dog coughing due to pressure on the lungs should be short and dry.

Other coughing sounds to listen for in dogs are:

  • Dry, Hacking cough: A dry hacking cough is commonly a sign of throat irritation or debris like dirt or hair. The symptoms of kennel cough may also be a dry hacking cough.
  • Honking cough: A honking cough is deep, sounding like a goose. Bacterial infections and kennel cough cause honking along with conditions to the windpipe, like tracheal collapse and laryngeal paralysis.
  • Wet cough: A phlegmy wet cough is often a sign of flu or pneumonia.
  • Gagging or high-pitched cough: Blocking and irritation to the upper airway can cause a high-pitched cough.

Final Thoughts

If your overweight dog’s coughing is from excess fat — and your veterinarian confirmed — it’s time to focus on your dog’s weight loss.

Coughing is a mild symptom of obesity in dogs and can be the beginning of more severe issues. Health risks from obesity include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney Disease
  • Cancer
  • Liver Disease

Start a weight loss diet for your dog immediately to start shedding fat. To cut back on calories, carrots, watermelon, and cucumber are excellent and delicious low-calorie natural dog treats.

At the same time introduce daily walks and playtime. An obese dog exercise plan will slowly ease daily exercise into your routine. With a small amount of dedication, A dog can safely lose 1% to 1.5% of body fat weekly.

Helping your dog maintain a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do to promote their long-term health, wellbeing, and happiness.

And your dog will stop coughing.

Did you determine the cause of your overweight dog’s coughing? Share this article so others can learn too.

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