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Why Does My Bichon Cough?

| Updated September 26, 2017

Dogs tend to cough from time to time. If your Bichon Frise is coughing more than you are comfortable with you might be wondering what might be the cause. The breed is a sturdy one without major health problems. However there are some particular scenarios to keep in mind as reasons for your pooches cough. Some may require a visit to your vet and some can be resolved at home. Being aware of possible causes can set your mind at ease and help you keep your Bichon safe and healthy.


The Bichon breed is seen as a reasonably healthy breed but like all pets they may be prone to particular illnesses. According to the Bichon Frise Club of America's listing of primary health problems for the breed, skin and allergies are number one. While there are no noted high numbers of respiratory issues for Bichons, an allergy may cause your dog to cough. Itchy eyes that come from allergic reactions will often cause the dog to sneeze and cough. Take note when your dog has a coughing fit. Check his eyes to see if they have red edges or are watery. These may be signs of an allergy that you should bring to the attention of your vet.

Collar Irritations

A dog collar that is too tight will cause a slight tracheal irritation or collapse leading to coughing. Check the collar often, especially with a growing dog. Bichons are very active and playful dogs. Although they are easy to train, lease training can be difficult for the excitable Bichon and you may find yourself tugging the leash to get your pet to follow your lead. Repeated sharp tugs can injure the trachea and your dog can have a coughing fit even when not on the leash. To avoid this, buy a harness for your dog that does not place pressure on the neck. The harness should attach to the leash on the dogs back instead of near the neck and is fitted on your dog around the front legs and chest.

Kennel Cough

Bordatello or kennel cough is a bacterial and viral infection that affects the tracheobronchitis. If you recently boarded your dog, you were required to have him immunized for kennel cough. However, dogs can pass it to each other through muzzle nuzzling so your dog could have picked it up on a walk or at the local dog park. Kennel cough is characterized by a harsh barking cough that can last up to a week to ten days. It can resolve itself. If you have one dog, you can isolate it at home and allow it to recover. If the cough does not go away in ten days or if your dog begins to show signs of fever and vomiting, take it to your vet immediately.

Normal Reactions

It is quite normal for a dog to cough occasionally just like we do. It may inhale some dust as it sniffs its way around the house or a smell may cause it to have an irritated throat. It may have a tendency to lick itself and hair might build up harmlessly in its throat causing irritation and the need to cough it up and out. It is important to pay attention to your dog from a whole body perspective. Watch him. Paying attention to your dog's typical behaviors is key. Coughing may be its way of making its way comfortably through its environment. If there is no sign of blood, vomiting, severe panting, weight loss, or infection your dog is probably just fine. Remember that it is always a good idea to bring up any concerns you have with your vet.