Q: Our spayed female coughs and sneezes when she comes in from the cold and also when she gets excited. Is there anything we can give her to stop the cough?
— W.T., Akron
A: Chronic coughs can be a complicated issue, and conditions like that should always be checked over by a veterinarian before you make any changes at home. Serious diseases like asthma and laryngeal paralysis can manifest as coughs, so it’s prudent to have those issues ruled out — for best results and for your own peace of mind.
You didn’t mention your dog’s breed, so it may be that there is a genetic predisposition toward respiratory issues, particularly if you have a short-nosed breed (like a Pug or a French Bulldog). In these cases, dogs can have a combination of narrow nostrils and constricted nasal passages that cause snorting, dry coughs that can worsen over time. Many times this is a structural issue that can’t be remedied without serious intervention (sometimes surgical).
Age is also a contributing factor when determining the best course of action. Older dogs may have normal aging changes that make the respiratory tract less efficient, and the coughing could be resultant of poor oxygenation.
Because the cough is elicited during two very different situations (one temperature dependent, the other excitement dependent), it’s almost impossible to determine a “cure all.” One product we like to use is the Breathe blend from doTERRA. It’s an essential oil blend that fights congestion, soothes throat and nasal tissue and combats airborne bacteria.
Dilute 10-15 drops in a 1 ounce bottle of distilled water and mist the air around your pet during the coughing episodes, being mindful to avoid her eyes. This natural treatment would be appropriate for use as needed and should help the problem to some degree, regardless of the cause.
— Stephanie Sivula
Practice manager and
Dancing Paws Animal
Wellness Center, Richfield
Please send questions about your pet to Kathy Antoniotti at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name and address and a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Questions will be forwarded to an expert best suited to address your pet issue. Phoned-in messages will not be taken.