Why is my Poodle Coughing?

As all poodle owners know, it’s very common to hear your dog cough. Sometimes it sounds mild. In other cases, it can be scary and serious. Some coughs are dry and raspy while others are wet and gurgly.

In this article, we’ll discuss the various types of cough. We’ll also talk about the possible causes and even give some recommendations on how to treat your poodle’s cough.

Why is my poodle coughing?

There are two things that may be causing your poodle to cough. The first possibility is that a substance such as grass or dust may have become lodged in your dog’s airway. If you have ruled this out, you should consider a second possible cause: an infection or other medical issue.

It is natural and normal for poodle to explore outside. As they sniff around your yard, they are likely to breathe in dirt, small leaves, or any other natural material. This can irritate your pup’s nose and throat and interfere with his breathing. He will reflexively cough to expel these things.

For this reason, you should not be too concerned if your poodle’s coughing fits are rare and brief.

But if your poodle’s cough sounds harsh or painful, or if it is frequent and long-lasting, you should consult with a veterinarian. The cough may indicate a viral infection such as distemper, or it may be a sign of heart or lung disease.

Types of Cough

Poodle owners cannot always tell the difference between a harmless and serious cough. We should try to pay attention to the cough’s characteristics so that we know when the dog needs medical attention.

Perhaps the most useful way to diagnose a cough is by listening to its sound. In this section, we’ll explore the various types of poodle coughs and discuss what they sound like.


Sometimes your poodle’s cough will sound dry and raspy. This is often referred to as a hacking cough.

Poodle parents are often worried when their dogs make these short, sharp sounds. The underlying cause could be benign. Imagine that your dog getting a small piece of grass stuck in his throat and he is coughing to expel it.

However, this hacking type of cough may also indicate an underlying health problem such as kennel cough. If it persists, contact your vet so that it can be properly diagnosed.


The honking cough is deeper and a bit longer in duration than the hacking cough. It resembles the “honk” sound made by geese.

This type is most closely associated with kennel cough. It may also be a symptom of tracheobronchitis, which affects the upper respiratory system but not the lungs.

Whatever the cause, the honking cough has an unnatural sound that can be alarming to many poodle owners. Don’t panic if you hear it, but be sure to call your dog’s vet so that any related medical issues can be addressed.


If you’ve ever had a bacterial or viral infection that cause lung problems, you are familiar with the wet cough. It will sound like phlegm has accumulated in your poodle’s lungs and he is trying to get it out.

The problem is indeed likely to be fluid in the lungs. With this type of cough, your dog may have trouble breathing, even when he is not coughing.

A wet cough can be caused by pneumonia, so medical attention is imperative. Pneumonia may be caused by a virus, bacteria, fungi, or parasite.


In some cases, your dog will be fine during the day, and then go into persistent coughing fits at night.

This can be caused by a number of issues. One of the first things to check is the dog’s bedding. If your dog sleeps on material that is infested with dust mites or other allergens, the cough may be a symptom of an allergic reaction.

If the cough persists after you have tried washing and/or replacing your poodle’s bed, contact your vet and schedule a comprehensive check-up.

Common Causes of Poodle Coughing

For poodle owners who are not trained in animal medicine, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a cough. Still, it’s useful to be aware of the most frequent health conditions that result in a cough.

Some of these causes are fairly common and will resolve themselves on their own. Others are serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses that require immediate medical treatment.

Congestive Heart Failure

A normal heart functions as a pump that distributes blood throughout the body. If your poodle’s heart ceases to do its job, fluid may build up in the lungs.

Poodles are not as susceptible to heart disease as other breeds. However, you should consider this illness if your dog has a persistent cough that gets worse when he lies down, as this may indicate an accumulation of fluid in the lungs.


As we saw with congestive heart failure, coughing from fluid in the lungs may result from heart problems. However, it can also be a symptom of a lower respiratory (lung) illness.

Pneumonia is a common cause of a wet, gurgly cough. Your dog may contract pneumonia if he is exposed to a virus or bacteria, but it can also be contracted from fungi or even parasites.

If your poodle shows signs of labored breathing even when a cough is not present, you should assume that pneumonia is a possible cause and contact your veterinarian immediately.

Kennel Cough

If your poodle is make a deep, honking sound, it may indicate that he has kennel cough. This condition can result from a virus or bacteria and is typically spread in kennels and daycares where many dogs are present.

Kennel cough is not necessarily serious. In many cases, it will make your dog uncomfortable and go away on its own. However, there is also the possibility that it may go deeper into the lungs and cause bronchitis or pneumonia, so be sure to call your doggy’s doctor if the cough is persistent.


Distemper symptoms resemble kennel cough in the early stages, but this condition can be far more severe and often fatal. Distemper may affect the nervous and gastrointestinal systems in addition to the respiratory system.

You can help prevent distemper by regularly taking your poodle to a certified veterinarian. Your vet will ensure that your pup gets vaccinated for distemper from an early age.

Obstructed Airway

As we all know, poodles love to chew and eat random things. Sometimes, though, they may swallow something the wrong way and it may become lodged in their throat.

If the obstruction is small, it may simply irritate your dog, and they may be able to resolve the issue by coughing. In other cases, though, the object may prevent your dog from breathing.

Here is a video that shows what to do when your dog is choking and unable to breathe. These tips could someday save your poodle’s life.

Collapsed Trachea

If your dog’s cough has a deep, honking sound, it could be a sign of tracheal collapse. This happens when the trachea’s cartilage rings become weaker and can no longer support a healthy airflow.

Toy breeds are especially susceptible to tracheal collapse. A poodle is part pug, so you should treat this as a possible cause of your dog’s cough until a veterinarian can confirm otherwise.

Home Cough Remedies for Poodles

Sometimes you are fairly certain that your poodle’s cough is not serious. In these cases, you may be interested in treating the cough without taking them to the vet.

Let’s discuss a few tips for alleviating your dog’s cough at home.


Sometimes dry air is the culprit for a stubborn cough. It can irritate the airway and cause sore throat.

Try putting your poodle in a room with a humidifier for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. You can do this every few hours. If you don’t notice any improvement, it’s possible that dry air is not the cause of the cough.

If you don’t own a humidifier, bathrooms are a great option too! Turn on the hot water in the shower or sink until the bathroom fills with steam. You’ll be surprised at the effect this humidity can have on a coughing dog.

Honey and Warm Water

For both humans and canines alike, this classic cough remedy is great for coating and soothing the throat.

Mix about a tablespoon of honey in some warm water in your dog’s dish. Your poodle will probably love the sweet taste of this mixture. Just keep in mind that honey is loaded with sugar. Use this remedy sparingly to avoid health problems.

Cough Prevention

You don’t necessarily have to wait until your poodle develops a cough. Follow these simple steps to keep your pup breathing clear and healthy.

  • Make sure your poodle eats healthy food and gets plenty of exercise. Certain health conditions that cause cough will be less likely if your dog has strong, healthy lungs.
  • Schedule regular visits with your veterinarian and ensure your pup is up to date with all vaccines (especially the distemper vaccine).
  • Don’t leave small objects scattered throughout your home or yard. These may be ingested and can lead to choking.


Coughing can be very concerning for poodle parents. It’s always hard to know whether a cough is a temporary reaction or a symptom of a serious underlying illness.

In this article, we have discussed various types of cough and illnesses that cause it. We’ve also shown listed recommendations for treating and preventing cough.

We hope this article has helped you understand why your poodle is coughing and how to stop it. As always, if you have any concerns that were not addressed here, contact your veterinarian for advice.