Help: My Dog is Coughing in the Morning [Vet Advice]

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This article was updated on May 1st, 2023

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As a veterinarian, one thing that I see often is dogs that are coughing. The time of day that your dog is coughing and the frequency and help determine what is going on. Some dogs will just cough during the morning, some just at night and others will cough all the time. If your dog is coughing in the morning, there are some important things to consider.

Is my dog coughing in the morning different from coughing anytime during the day?

Yes, coughing in the morning is most commonly due to fluid building up in your dog’s lungs. As your dog is sleeping, this fluid will accumulate, and once your dog wakes up, they will try to cough all this extra fluid up. (Coughing all day or late at night can mean that your dog has more severe issues going on, causing them to continue to cough.)

Why is my dog coughing only in the morning?

These are some of the most common reasons that your dog may be coughing only in the morning (along with symptoms commonly seen in addition to a morning cough):

Heart Disease: if your dog has early-stage heart disease, you may only notice an occasional cough in the mornings. Other common symptoms include difficulty breathing (for example, shortness of breath or panting), weakness or lethargy, loss of appetite, reluctance to exercise, and sometimes fainting.

Bronchitis: often a chronic, dry, hacking cough, which can be worsened by physical activity or excitement.

Pneumonia: many times, dogs with pneumonia will also have other signs such as lethargy, not eating or drinking, rapid breathing, fever or discharge from their nose.

Kennel Cough: dogs with kennel cough commonly will be feeling just fine; they will just have a cough (strong, persistent cough often described as a “honking” sound, and sometimes accompanied by sneezing or nasal discharge).

Allergies: allergies are very common in dogs. They can cause sneezing or coughing. Other common symptoms include itchy skin, eye discharge, chronic ear infections and even GI issues such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Some of these conditions will also cause your dog to cough all day and at night (not just in the morning). Usually, mild signs of these diseases will just cause your dog to cough in the morning (shortly after getting up). As your dog’s disease progresses, you may notice that your dog is coughing more frequently and during the day.

What do I need to do to help my dog?

Once you figure out why your dog is coughing, you will need to treat these issues. If your dog has pneumonia or bronchitis, they will need to see your vet for antibiotics to help clear these infections. For dogs with allergies, there are some at home remedies that you can try to see if your dog will stop coughing. Things such as allergy medication and steam can help your dog stop coughing and feel much better.

Related Post: 8 Best Home Remedies to Help a Coughing Dog

When to see your vet

Sometimes you can easily stop your dog’s coughing at home with just a few simple changes, but sometimes your dog will need to see your vet. These are some reasons that you should bring your dog to the vet for coughing:

  • The coughing becomes more frequent
  • They are having issues breathing
  • Their cough is not improving
  • Their tongue is blue or purple
  • They are lethargic
  • They are not eating
  • They are also vomiting or having diarrhea
  • They are also showing other signs of discomfort or illness

Your vet will be able to quickly assess your dog to see why your dog is coughing and start them on medication.

Related Post: 8 Best Home Remedies to Help a Coughing Dog

For more help for your older dog coughing, read this article from our vet experts.


  • Dr Sara Ochoa, Veterinarian

    Dr. Ochoa earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from St. George University in 2015, and completed her program with excellent scores. She has more than 7 years of experience practicing as a veterinarian for Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Whitehouse, TX.

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Disclaimer: This website's content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian for healthcare decisions. Read More.

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