Why Is My Dog Sneezing & Coughing Up Phlegm?

Updated April 17, 2017

Dogs cough and sneeze for many reasons and it is often up to the dog’s veterinarian to figure out why. If your dog has been around other animals and is now suddenly coughing and sneezing up phlegm, it could be a sign of a contagious illness. If the dog only displays these symptoms during certain times of the year, allergies could be to blame. Whatever the case may be, it is helpful to take your dog to the veterinarian for an evaluation of the issue, where it can then receive medication that can help to resolve the issue.


The presence of phlegm is usually indicative of an issue with the dog. When a dog coughs or sneezes up phlegm, it is typically a sign of an irritant or bacterial problem that is creating the mucus. For instance, bronchitis, pneumonia and allergies can all produce phlegm in a dog.


There are a few different causes for sneezing and coughing up phlegm in a dog. According to the Natural Dog Health Remedies website, allergies can cause a dog to sneeze or cough up phlegm. The cough and sneeze are efforts to expel any irritants that may have entered the respiratory tract, including cigarette smoke and pollen. Along with the sneeze and cough comes phlegm, which is often present in a dog’s lungs when it has allergies. In addition, canine influenza can also cause a dog to sneeze and cough up phlegm.


When your dog sneezes, it may produce phlegm that hangs around its nose or that shoots out. When the dog coughs up the mucus, it will likely do so after it gags. The mucus could be a variety of different colours. Clear phlegm is typically a sign that there is no infection present. Yellow, green or brown phlegm is often indicative of an infection.


Any dog that is coughing or sneezing up phlegm should be examined by a veterinarian. The doctor will examine the dog, obtain a history and base his diagnosis on those findings. The vet will likely listen to the dog’s chest, take its temperature and look at its eyes, mouth and throat. If the dog has an elevated temperature, it likely has an infection or virus that is causing the issues, such as parainfluenza or an upper respiratory infection. If the dog’s eyes and ears are irritated, allergies may be to blame.


Allergies are often resolved with antihistamines. If the allergies are quite severe, steroids may also be needed. Antibiotics are given to dogs with upper respiratory infections and also to those with viruses that have secondary infections as a result. The veterinarian will base his treatments on his diagnosis.

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