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Why Is My Chihuahua Coughing? 12 Reasons Why

Why Is My Chihuahua Coughing? 12 Reasons Why

Oh, help me, PupVine! Why is my Chihuahua coughing? He seemed fine yesterday, but today, the cough just won’t stop.

Don’t be desperate. As always, PupVine is here to help. We’re about to give you a dozen of the most common reasons why your Chihuahua is coughing. You’ll still have to go to the vet if the coughing continues because it may be a sign of some severe problems.

So, Why Is My Chihuahua Coughing?

Chihuahua with open mouth

First of all, check if your dog has something stuck in his throat. In most cases, your Chihuahua might be coughing because he has swallowed a toy or a piece of a ball. You’ll recognize if this has happened because your dog will be dry heaving and trying to get it out.

In this case, you either try to induce vomiting at home, or rush him to the vet. There’s no inbetween. 

If all your dog’s airways are unblocked, and he’s still coughing, then you should consult your vet. The following 12 health conditions might be the reason behind the coughing.

1. Canine Influenza

Canine influenza is nothing different than the common flu – the same one that strikes all dogs, so our Chi buddies aren’t excluded. Influenza is the same as the flu we get. And, no… it’s not pleasant for dogs either.

It takes time for a pup to get over influenza. The most common symptoms include nasal discharge, coming down with a fever, and coughing. 

If your Chihuahua coughs, and he has been diagnosed with canine influenza, the cough is a result of respiratory infections.

The good news is that it cannot be transferred to humans. However, you should lock your dog away if you have other pets in the house so they don’t catch it, too. 

As I said, it takes time to get better because influenza can last even up to a month!

2. Allergies

Chihuahuas, as a breed, aren’t so susceptible to allergies like some other breeds. However, their small buddies, Frenchies, as well as Pugs, are extremely prone to skin allergies. 

But, they can come up with a cough as a result of allergies. Allergic reactions are a response of a dog’s immune system to environmental factors known as allergenes. 

Your Chihuahua might cough because he has been triggered by allergens like pollen, dust, plants, and even some food.

But, coughing isn’t the only symptom. Sneezing, itchiness, runny eyes, and vomiting can all be signs that your Chihuahua is allergic to something.

The most important thing about fighting allergies is to find what’s causing them. Once your vet eliminates all the possible triggers, he will prescribe a treatment for your Chihuahua, such as anti-inflammatory meds and bronchodilators.

3. Bronchitis

Chihuahua wrapped up in blanket

Believe it or not, dogs can get bronchitis, too. It’s not just a disease reserved for humans. 

Bronchitis is nothing more than a chronic inflammation of your dog’s airways. The cough your dog will experience isn’t productive or packed with discharge. The cough is dry, and it gets worse if your dog gets too excited about something.

What you can do to ease the trouble for your little Chi is to give him inhalations with dog-friendly inhalators that will dilate the airways and reduce the inflammation. But, don’t forget to consult your vet first.

4. Kennel Cough

Unfortunately, kennel cough is becoming pretty common in the States, and it’s nothing harmless. While it usually strikes younger pups, kennel cough can still be dangerous for older dogs. So, no dog gets spared.

But, what is kennel cough?

The term kennel cough stands for the inflammation of the windpipe. It’s a combination of viral and bacterial infections that occur in larger groups. For example, your puppy can develop this condition if one of his classmates in the dog training group was infected.

As you can see, kennel cough is contagious. The cough is dry and painful. If you suspect your dog has kennel cough, make him stay away from other dogs, even those in the park. 

Luckily, there is a vaccination against this disease, and it wouldn’t harm you to ask your vet about it. Once your dog is vaccinated, there’s no chance of developing the cough and other secondary issues such as pneumonia.

5. Tracheal Collapse

Stop for a moment and think about this: do dogs have an Adam’s apple? 

What even is an Adam’s apple? Is it a bone or…?

The Adam’s apple is the cartilage surrounding your dog’s voice box. If it wasn’t for this, your dog wouldn’t be able to bark, and his windpipe would be exposed and susceptible to numerous infections. And, you simply must keep your dog’s windpipe in good condition at all costs.

But, what if something happens to your Chihuahua’s windpipe?

Then, your dog will develop a condition called tracheal collapse. Simply put – tracheal collapse means your dog’s trachea has gotten soft, and the main symptom of this condition is a dry, painful cough. 

Since tracheal collapse affects small dogs like Chihuahuas, I’d be extra careful about putting them on a leash and letting them pull on it.

6. Heart Disease

owner petting Chihuahua

Chihuahuas aren’t the healthiest dogs of them all. They are prone to numerous health problems, including heart conditions. In most cases, those heart conditions mean your Chi is either suffering from degenerative myelopathy, mitral valve degeneration, or congestive heart failure.

Unfortunately, all of the listed conditions have coughing as a symptom, so you won’t be able to diagnose your dog at home. Better let your vet handle the situation if the cough doesn’t seem to go away, and your dog is getting weaker by the day. 

7. Esophagitis

Do you know what GERD is? Of course you do! This reflux disorder where the stomach acids climb up to the esophagus affects a lot of humans.

Well, dogs can suffer from GERD, too, but this condition does not have the same name in the canine world. Dogs can actually suffer from esophagitis. This condition is normally caused by some type of food, or some medications. 

You can suspect your Chihuahua has esophagitis if he keeps on coughing and his appetite suddenly decreases. Luckily, it’s one of the mild conditions, which can be treated with some antacids.

8. Obesity

Having a fat Chihuahua is no fun at all. Chihuahuas are the world’s smallest purebred dogs. Their anatomy doesn’t allow them to be fat in any circumstance. 

Obesity is a severe illness, especially with such small dogs. 

A Chihuahua that has no other health problems besides obesity can be coughing because of the extra pounds. Simply put… the weight pressures the dog’s airways, and your dog could develop something called Pickwickian syndrome. 

The only thing you can do is to have your dog lose weight.

9. Heartworm Disease

Chihuahua sleeping in bed

Heartworms are a menace to deal with. Sadly, lots of rescue dogs suffer from this condition. Still, it can affect adopted dogs, too. Heartworms are transmitted by a mosquito’s bite. 

You have a mosquito that bites an infected dog, and then moves on to healthy ones and bites them, too, spreading the larvae of the heartworm.

This condition is something you should worry about. Heartworms can be fatal if not detected. I must warn you… treating your coughing Chihuahua for heartworms can be quite pricey. 

It’s not a breed-related disease. Any dog can get it.

10. Lungworms

Worms are simply terrible. Those white specks in your dog’s poop are a terrible sight to see. But, in most cases, those worms aren’t dangerous at all. It’s the ones we don’t see that drive us mad with worry, and put our dogs under a lot of pain.

Lungworms may not be that common, but they’re still parasites that cause horrible infections in your dog’s pulmonary artery and right heart ventricle. 

You can’t prevent lung worms for good because your dog ingests them with things he swallows when you’re out and about. You can’t hover over your dog wondering if he will eat a slug or swallow a small bird. Those things just happen within seconds. 

Lungworms can explain your Chihuahua’s coughing, especially if the coughing appears shortly after the dog being out in nature for a while. 

11. Pneumonia

sick Chihuahua

Pneumonia is a serious infection that occurs when a dog inhales water, vomit, or food. Those materials end up in the dog’s lungs and cause infections and inflammation. Bacteria grows, your dog’s body temperature increases and won’t come down, and the coughing seems to last for hours.

Sadly, pneumonia is not a joke. It should be treated immediately with antibiotics.

12. Cancer

No matter how much we fight it, cancer can still affect our dogs. I’m sorry to tell you, but if none of the mentioned reasons for a Chihuahua’s cough are behind your dog’s coughing, then it’s probably cancer.

Lung, heart, tissue, or respiratory cancer all have prolonged cough as the first symptom. Don’t waste your time – call the vet!

How To Help Your Chihuahua Stop Coughing

Chihuahua sitting on pillow

Mild coughing isn’t normally a huge issue. If your dog is acting fine, without any fever or decreased appetite, you should wait a couple of days to see if the coughing will stop.

However, if the coughing is followed by other symptoms, and your Chihuahua is experiencing issues like fever, vomiting, lack of appetite, or desire to drink water, you should inform your vet immediately.

In most cases, the vet will prescribe antibiotics as soon as he figures out the reason behind your Chihuahua’s coughing. Other medications like steroids or inhalations can also help. 

The problem isn’t how to treat the cough. The problem is what causes it, and how to address that issue.

To Sum Up…

sick Chihuahua sitting on floor

After reading this article, you’ll never wonder why is my Chihuahua coughing. You’ll be an expert on detecting different types of cough, and you’ll have a general knowledge on what causes it. 

Okay, this doesn’t mean you should diagnose the disease yourself. Your vet will still need to do that. However, it’s good to know what to expect.

Seeing such a small dog like a Chihuahua coughing for hours really wrecks the owner’s heart. Just imagine what it does to the Chihuahua!