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What To Do If Your Dog Coughs Up Blood

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If this ever happens to your dog, then you should immediately take him to the vet. The vet will evaluate his symptoms and run a diagnostic test to come up with an appropriate treatment. 
What To Do If Your Dog Coughs Up Blood
Last update: 12 September, 2018

Regardless of whatever is causing your dog to cough up blood, this is an obvious sign that something is wrong. We strongly advise you to take your pet to the vet as soon as you notice your dog coughing up blood.  

In this article, you can about some of the usual causes of this symptom in dogs. However, by no means does this article replaces a professional diagnosis.

Reasons why dogs cough up blood

A cough is a physical reaction to irritation in the respiratory tract. It can be caused by an accumulation of mucus, a throat infection or the presence of a foreign substance that is making it difficult to breathe. Plus, you should also consider that it might be an indication of an underlying disease that is more serious. 

The following are some of the most common diseases that could cause your dog to cough:

  • Canine infectious laryngotracheitis, also known as kennel cough.
  • Pharyngitis
  • Diseases that affect the trachea, such as tracheal collapse or stenosis.
  • Presence of a foreign substance.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Parasites that affect the lungs.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Vascular pulmonary disease, such as pulmonary edema.

Your animal’s cough could end up causing capillary ruptures or an injury that causes expectoration of blood or bloody mucus, also known as hemoptysis

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A hemorrhage can originate from the larynx, trachea or lungs. Sometimes, the blood may simply be caused by a nosebleed or a mouth infection so, before you get too alarmed, ask your vet.

Run different tests during the diagnostic process

When you’re at the veterinarian’s office, the vet will first run a complete physical examination to see if there is any infection or presence of a foreign substance in your dog’s airways.

These tests will also focus on verifying if your pet’s lungs are functioning properly and if there is any type of wound in the oral cavity or in the mucus. 

In other cases, your vet will run tests to determine your dog’s blood clotting levels or the functioning of certain internal organs. If your dog has a recent history of parasites, he will also have to undergo testing for that.

What you can do if your dog coughs up blood

First, don’t wait for a cough to disappear or for the blood or mucus to stop. Take your pet to the vet as soon as possible to run all necessary tests.

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If the cause of a cough happens is caused by a problem with a vital organ like the intestine, waiting too long can be deadly.

If your dog is also vomiting, try to examine the vomit to check for any blood. This can help your veterinarian determine if the problem is in the digestive system.

Most common veterinary treatments

Once the cause of the blood is determined, veterinarians can prescribe a medication to your dog:

  • Administration of intravenous fluids
  • Anti-nemetic medication (medication that fights nausea and vomiting)
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-parasitic medicine

If your pet has ingested any foreign substance, he will be given a laxative to naturally expel it out and antibiotics that will help prevent possible infection. If your dog’s coughing is really bad, your pet may need surgery.



All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Guevara, Manuel & Oviedo, R. & Ratti, Silvia & García Menéndez, Sebastián & Gargiulo, Pascual Angel. (2015). Terapéutica antiemética veterinaria. 25. 1-17.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.