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Just like humans, dogs can experience sneezing and coughing from time to time. While occasional sneezes and coughs are usually nothing to worry about, persistent or severe symptoms may indicate an underlying issue. In this blog, we’ll explore the possible causes of sneezing and coughing in dogs, offer home care tips, and discuss over-the-counter (OTC) medications that may be used safely under veterinary guidance.  Please call us and let us know if your pup has these symptoms.

Common Causes of Sneezing and Coughing in Dogs: Before considering any treatment, it’s important to understand the potential causes of your dog’s symptoms:

  1. Respiratory Infections: Bacterial or viral infections, such as K9 cough, can lead to sneezing and a persistent cough.
  2. Allergies: Dogs can be allergic to various environmental factors like pollen, dust mites, or certain foods, which can cause sneezing and coughing.
  3. Irritants: Inhaling smoke, strong odors, or airborne irritants can irritate a dog’s respiratory system and trigger coughing and sneezing.
  4. Foreign Objects: If a dog ingests or inhales a foreign object, it can cause irritation and coughing as the body tries to expel it.

Home Care for Sneezing and Coughing: Before considering any OTC medications, try the following home care tips:

  1. Isolate Your Dog: If your dog’s symptoms might be contagious, isolate them from other dogs to prevent the spread of illness.
  2. Humidify the Environment: Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, as dry air can worsen respiratory discomfort.
  3. Avoid Irritants: Keep your dog away from smoke, strong odors, and other environmental irritants.
  4. Hydration: Ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated, which is essential for recovery.
  5. Rest and Comfort: Provide your dog with a quiet, comfortable space to rest and recover.

OTC Medications for Dogs: Some OTC medications may be used for dogs, but only under the guidance of a veterinarian. Here are a few examples:

  1. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl): An antihistamine that can help relieve allergies or itching. The dosage must be determined by your vet based on your dog’s weight.
  2. Famotidine (Pepcid AC): Sometimes recommended to manage stomach acid and relieve gastrointestinal upset. Always use the dosage prescribed by your vet.
  3. Cough Suppressants: OTC cough suppressants are generally not recommended for dogs without veterinary guidance, as they can mask underlying issues.
  4. Expectorants: These may help thin mucus and make it easier for your dog to clear their airways but should only be used under a vet’s recommendation.

Always consult your veterinarian before administering any medication to your dog, including OTC options. They can determine the underlying cause of your dog’s symptoms and recommend appropriate treatments, including the safe use of OTC medications. Your vet will also provide guidance on dosages and potential side effects.

In conclusion, sneezing and coughing in dogs can have various causes, and it’s essential to address the root of the issue under veterinary supervision. While OTC medications can be useful, they should always be used according to your vet’s recommendations to ensure your dog’s health and safety.