Most coughs should be seen by a vet, particularly any new coughs that are getting worse.
Other signs of something more serious include:
- Coughs that persist for longer than a week or are getting worse
- Your dog is lethargic and exercise intolerant
- Loss of appetite
- Fever (if you have access to a pet-friendly thermometer)
It’s best to call your vet first to discuss the risk of an infectious cough, as most clinics and animal hospitals will have protocol for seeing pets under those circumstances. Sometimes this requires you to come at a certain time or through a back door to avoid contact with other dogs.
With newer protocols, especially for Covid-19, telehealth may be a good option for a cough that is suspected to be infectious. For chronic coughs and coughs in older dogs that are accompanied by weight loss, exercise intolerance or decreased appetite, the dog should be seen by a vet, likely have chest X-rays and other lab work. Hopefully an underlying diagnosis and treatment can then be established.