A persistent cough is a good enough reason to take your pet to the vet. Chronic coughing may signal heart disease, heartworms, or lung diseases. Or it could be kennel cough, an infectious tracheobronchitis that causes a harsh hacking cough. Thankfully, kennel cough is mild in most dogs and usually disappears within two weeks. But kennel cough is dangerous for puppies as it can develop into pneumonia.

Also note that kennel cough can be more serious for breeds with short snouts, such as boxers, pugs, bulldogs, and boston terriers. Their unusual head anatomy can compromise their respiratory systems and create breathing difficulties.

If a puppy or dog with kennel cough develops more serious symptoms such as fever, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, or lethargy, it may be getting pneumonia.

While any lasting cough should come to a veterinarian's attention, owners can take precautions by vaccinating their dogs against kennel cough. It would do well to remember that any animal that has difficulty breathing, or is choking should seek veterinary help. Vets should also be informed if there is persistent sneezing or discharge from the eyes.