If your dog has a cough and diarrhea at the same time, we outline the potential causes of dog cough and diarrhea, as well as what to do and when to seek help.
Here’s why dog cough and diarrhea occurs
Dog coughing with diarrhea can be caused by a wide range of conditions, from mild to serious, including intestinal parasites, diarrhea alongside a respiratory infection, allergic reaction, ingestion of toxins or foreign objects, underlying medical conditions such as cancer, and side effects of medication.
Is it normal for dogs to have diarrhea and cough?
It is not normal for dogs to experience both diarrhea and coughing at the same time. While these symptoms can be caused by a variety of factors, they typically indicate an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed.
Common Causes of Dog Cough and Diarrhea
Common causes of dog coughing and diarrhea include:
Worms like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and giardia can irritate the intestinal tract leading to loose stools or diarrhea. Coughing may occur if larvae of the worms migrate to the lungs.
Diarrhea alongside a respiratory infection
Dog diarrhea as a result of underlying causes may also occur alongside a respiratory infection that a dog may currently have. This results in coughing and diarrhea occurring at the same time.
Canine distemper is a viral infection that causes respiratory signs like coughing, nasal discharge, and pneumonia as well as gastrointestinal signs like vomiting and diarrhea.
Kennel cough is also an upper respiratory infection that is usually caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica.
The main Kennel cough symptom is a harsh, dry cough. Dog hacking cough and diarrhea are likely the presence of Kennel cough. Other symptoms include sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea, or gagging, especially after strenuous activities and lethargy. Fever may also be present, but not in all cases.
Ingesting or inhaling something the dog is allergic to like certain foods, pollen, or chemicals may trigger coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The allergen may inflame the throat and lungs, causing swelling, excess mucus production, and coughing as the dog’s body tries to expel the irritant.
Inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract by an irritant can cause irritation, mucus production, and muscle contractions in the gastrointestinal tract which results in vomiting and diarrhea.
Further reading: Understanding dog diarrhea and allergies
Ingestion of toxins or foreign objects
Eating something toxic like certain foods, plants, or medication can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and coughing. Small lodged objects may also irritate the throat.
Related: Dog diarrhea and shaking (Explained)
Underlying medical conditions
Diarrhea and coughing can be caused by underlying medical conditions such as viral or bacterial infection, and cancer.
Certain types of cancer can cause diarrhea and coughing as symptoms.
Chronic bronchitis is a condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways, leading to coughing and difficulty breathing.
Parvovirus is also a highly contagious virus that attacks the intestines and immune system. Fever, lethargy, vomiting, and severe diarrhea containing blood are common. Some dogs may also develop a cough.
Side effects of medication
Some medications can cause side effects such as diarrhea and coughing in dogs.
When to see a veterinarian for dog coughing and diarrhea
It is important to see a veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog is experiencing both diarrhea and coughing, as these symptoms can indicate an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed.
Here are other signs that indicate that you should see a veterinarian immediately:
Persistent symptoms: If your dog’s diarrhea and coughing persist for more than 24 hours, or if the symptoms are getting worse, it’s important to have them evaluated by a veterinarian.
Severe or bloody diarrhea: When your dog’s diarrhea is severe or if there is blood or mucus in the stool, this could be a sign of a serious underlying condition and requires immediate veterinary attention.
Dog coughing and bloody diarrhea are signs of a serious underlying condition, therefore do not hesitate to seek medical care for your dog.
Other symptoms: Other symptoms may accompany diarrhea and shaking, such as vomiting. If your dog is vomiting along with diarrhea, this can lead to dehydration and other complications and requires immediate medical attention.
Other symptoms to look out for include lethargy, high fever, lack of appetite, breathing difficulties, signs of pain or discomfort, fever, and signs of dehydration, such as a dry nose or mouth and sunken eyes.
Suspicion poisoning: If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.
A senior dog or a dog with a pre-existing condition: If your dog is a senior or has a pre-existing condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, it is important to have them evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible, as these symptoms can indicate worsening of their condition.
If your dog is a puppy: Puppies are generally more vulnerable than healthy adult dogs so delaying treatment could result in their condition worsening or becoming more difficult to treat. Therefore, it is essential to seek immediate medical care.
Treatment for dogs with diarrhea and cough
The treatment options for dogs with diarrhea and cough will depend on the underlying cause of the symptoms.
Treatment options that may be recommended by your veterinarian include:
- Medications: Depending on the cause of the diarrhea and coughing, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, or other medications to help alleviate the symptoms and treat the underlying condition. Depending on the underlying cause of the symptoms, your veterinarian may also recommend other treatments such as deworming, or heartworm preventatives.
- Diet: Your veterinarian may recommend a special diet to help manage the symptoms, such as a low-fat, low-fiber diet or a prescription diet that is easily digestible to manage allergies.
- Fluids: If your dog is dehydrated, your veterinarian may recommend administering fluids intravenously to help rehydrate them.
- Follow-up care: The veterinarian may recommend follow-up care to monitor your dog’s progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. Regular check-ups and preventive measures can help detect and prevent these symptoms from occurring.
Key Takeaway: Dog coughing and diarrhea
Coughing and diarrhea in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which can be serious.
It is important to see a veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog is experiencing both symptoms, as they can help determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment to help your dog feel better.
Dog diarrhea can be a challenging issue for dog owners, but fear not! Our comprehensive guide on dog diarrhea is a must-read resource that provides in-depth guidance on managing this common problem. Discover expert tips and strategies by visiting the full article.