Why is My Pug Coughing? Common Causes and Home Remedies

Just like us humans, your Pug may cough from time to time. Most of the time, this is nothing to worry about. 

After all, Pug coughing is just the body’s natural response to irritation. 

However, if your Pug develops a persistent or violent cough then it’s time to take action. This could be a sign of an underlying health condition, allergy, obstruction, or illness. 

For example, a cough that sounds wet or mucousy can be a sign of fluid build-up in the lungs due to infection. If your Pug has a lung infection they will need prescribed antibiotics. 

So, if you’re concerned about your Pug’s coughing, make sure to take them to your local vet. 

In this article, we’ll share everything about Pug coughing, let’s go to check it out.

Why is My Pug Coughing?

Coughing is a natural bodily function that helps protect the respiratory system. Coughing is a reflex process. 

When your Pug coughs it is the body’s way of trying to expel anything that may be blocking or irritating the airway. That could be anything from mucus or dust to a larger obstruction caused by a foreign object or blockage. 

Pugs and other dogs may be prone to coughing because they spend so much time nuzzling and exploring the world around them. 

When your Pug is sniffing through the yard, they’ll be picking up dirt, dust, grass, and other materials that may enter their airway or throat. If these materials or particles cause an irritation your Pug’s natural response is to cough until that irritation is cleared. 

So, coughing is perfectly natural. But it doesn’t mean that all coughing should go undisputed. 

Coughs that do not go away on their own are often signs of viral or bacterial infections and/or other underlying health conditions which will require medical attention from a vet. 

What Are The Types of Pugs Coughing?

As a pug parent, it’s better to understand the different types of cough that your Pug might develop. 

Not all coughs are the same and, depending on what is causing your Pug to cough, each type will present with different signs and symptoms. 

Let’s take a look at some of the features and each type. 

Hacking cough

A hacking cough is a dry cough accompanied by a raspy, hacking sound. Your Pug might sound like they are trying to remove something from their throat, airway, or mouth. 

Hacking coughs should be taken seriously as they could indicate that your Pug has developed kennel cough, or that your Pug has an obstruction that needs to be removed. 

Honking cough 

A honking cough is a dry cough accompanied by a honking noise (a bit like a goose honk). 

Again, honking coughs should be taken seriously as they could indicate kennel cough, infection, or even a tracheal collapse. 

Ensure that you visit your veterinarian immediately if you notice that your Pug develops this kind of cough.  

Wet cough

A wet cough will sound moist and usually indicates the presence of excess phlegm. This could be a sign of dog flu or canine pneumonia. 

You may notice a gurgling sound and your Pug may try to cough up phlegm. 

It’s important to visit your vet as soon as possible as wet coughs are often caused by issues with the lower airways and lungs. 

High pitch cough/ gagging cough 

A high-pitched cough often sounds like gagging. Pugs may let out high-pitched coughs if they have a sore throat, blockage, or upper airway irritation.  

Night-time cough 

If your Pug’s coughing fits only occur in the nighttime hours or during sleep then this is often an indication of more serious underlying health conditions. 

It is really important that you bring this up with your vet as soon as possible. 

Common causes of Pug coughing

Again, much like for humans there is no one, single cause of Pug coughing. Coughing is an accompanying symptom of many conditions, ailments, and allergies. 

Below we’ve outlined a wide range of conditions that could be causing your Pug’s persistent cough. 

Heart disease

Coughing can sometimes be a warning sign of a heart condition. 

Other symptoms that might indicate heart disease include: breathlessness, panting, lethargy, weight loss, fainting, exercise intolerance, and heart murmur. 

Heart disease is a very serious condition that must be treated by a veterinary professional. 

Lung disease

Lung disease/ pneumonia will present as a wet cough. This occurs when fluid builds up in a dog’s lungs as a result of infection. 

Bacterial lung infections will need to be treated with a course of antibiotics that can only be prescribed by your veterinarian. 

Kennel cough

Kennel cough is a well known phenomenon in boarding kennels, doggie daycares, salons, or any place where dogs are together on mass. This infectious disease often causes fever, eye discharge, abnormal breathing, and a very dry cough.  

Kennel cough can be experienced by any dog breed. However, Pugs are particularly prone to upper respiratory diseases such as this. 

If you suspect that your Pug has kennel cough it is essential that you contact your vet as soon as possible. 

Kennel cough is extremely infectious and you will need to keep your infected Pug away from other dogs until they have recovered. 

Canine distemper

Here’s one you may not have heard of before. Canine distemper is characterized by a persistent cough caused by a viral infection. 

Canine distemper is very serious and affects a dog’s respiratory system, gastrointestinal function and nervous system. 

If not treated, canine distemper can be fatal, so if in doubt visit your vet immediately. 

Top-tip: Canine distemper can be easily prevented by ensuring your Pug gets their annual vaccinations. 


Coughing might also be caused by an obstruction. If your Pug swallows something that then gets stuck in their airway then they will cough to try and get it back up. This is very common (especially amongst puppies) because, as we all know, puppies like to chew….everything! 

It’s important to note that if your Pug is choking, this must be taken seriously. This video will help you take the right steps if your Pug is choking. 

Tracheal Collapse

Coughing is sometimes an indicator of tracheal collapse (especially with small breed dogs like Pugs). 

A tracheal collapse occurs when the rings of cartilage that surround the trachea become weakened and the trachea collapses in on itself as a result. 

This is a progressive condition that develops over time and gradually restricts the airway. If your Pug develops a honking cough it’s important to get them checked for tracheal collapse. 


Coughing is a common symptom of canine pneumonia. Pneumonia occurs when the lungs and airways become inflamed due to bacterial infection, canine influenza, or kennel cough (amongst other causes). 

Older Pugs will be more susceptible to developing pneumonia and further complications, so it’s important to take persistent coughs in your senior Pug seriously. 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), otherwise known as chronic bronchitis,  is quite common amongst pugs due to their short airways

COPD is caused when an airway becomes obstructed. A pug’s elongated soft palate makes them much more susceptible to COPD which can be triggered by a range of factors including environmental particles, chemical irritants, and disease. 

Typical symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and gurgling. 

Other possible causes include:

  • Lung cancer 
  • Canine influenza
  • Allergies 

How Do I Know if My Pugs Cough is Serious?

Most coughs will go away quickly. But if your Pug’s cough is persistent or your Pug seems to be having difficulty breathing or is gasping for air, then you’ll need to seek immediate medical support. 

Worrying symptoms that warrant immediate attention include:

  • Your Pug is coughing even worse
  • The coughing lasts over a week 
  • Your Pug is lethargic
  • Your Pug has difficulty breathing
  • Your Pug is not eating anything

If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms, visit your vet immediately. 

Pug coughing diagnoses

When you take your Pug to the vet they will conduct an in-depth clinical examination and take a detailed health history. 

Your vet will examine your Pug to check their heart and lungs, and if necessary they will conduct further diagnostic testing to identify the cause of your Pug’s cough. 

Testing may include:

  • Blood tests
  • X-ray 
  • CT/ MRI 
  • ECG 
  • Fecal screening 

Once your vet has identified what is causing your Pug’s coughing, they will prescribe the necessary treatment options. This may include antibiotics, worming treatments, environmental modifications, or in-patient treatment (for more serious conditions). 

How to Cure a Pug’s Cough at Home

If your Pug just has a mild cough, there are various things you can do at home to help them feel more comfortable. 

Give Them Raw Honey

Honey is a well known natural remedy for soothing both human and kennel cough. Honey will soothe your Pug’s throat. 

Simply mix up to one and a half to one tablespoon of honey in warm water and offer it up to your Pug two or three times per day. 

Try Essential Oils

According to research, a number of essential oils can have an effect on relieving cough symptoms.

To help your Pug, put one or two drops of essential oil in a diffuser, for example, eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender have all been shown to help smooth and alleviate symptoms of a cough.

Other natural remedies include garlic and coconut oil (though make sure you’re using the unrefined, virgin coconut oil). 

Try a Humidifier

If your Pug is coughing because of the dry air, a humidifier could help a lot.

Have your Pug stay in the room with a humidifier for at least 15 minutes, and repeat it every 2 to 4 hours. You will see some improvement.

If you don’t have access to a humidifier, don’t worry. A great alternative is your very own bathroom!  Turn on the shower and let the hot steam fill the room. When your Pug breathes in this hot steam it will help clear their throat and alleviate symptoms of dryness and sore throats. 

How to Prevent Future Coughs

The best thing you can do to avoid coughs is to put in place some simple preventive measures. 

Regular veterinary checks will ensure that your pet is in healthy condition, but there are also a few things you can do as part of your pet-care routine that will prevent illness and coughing long-term. 

These include:

  • Making sure your Pug has all their vaccinations 
  • Applying regular anti-parasite treatments 
  • Keeping your Pug at a healthy weight with proper diet and exercise
  • Removing any hazardous items from the home that could cause obstruction

Let That Pug Cough be Gone!

So, there we have it. Coughs are a common phenomenon for all of us- Pugs included. 

Though much of the time a cough will just go away naturally, it’s important to know when your Pug’s cough is something to be concerned about. 

As a general rule, if your Pug’s cough is persistent, hacking in nature, wet, or accompanied by other symptoms, you’ll want to visit your vet for a professional diagnosis and treatment plan.