FAQ, Health

Understanding Why Your Pomeranian is Coughing


by James Bennett


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Coughing in Pomeranians, as with any dog, can be a symptom of various underlying issues, ranging from mild to severe. Given their small size and unique breed characteristics, Pomeranians can be predisposed to certain conditions that may manifest as coughing. Drawing upon years of experience with these charming dogs, we’ll explore the common causes of coughing in Pomeranians, how to differentiate between types of coughs and the steps you should take to ensure your pet’s health and well-being.

Common Causes of Coughing in Pomeranians

1. Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, or infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It’s characterized by a distinct, harsh cough that often sounds like a “goose honk.” It’s commonly spread in places where dogs congregate, such as kennels, dog parks, and grooming salons.

2. Tracheal Collapse

Pomeranians are particularly susceptible to tracheal collapse, a condition where the tracheal rings weaken, leading to a narrowing of the trachea. Symptoms include a dry, honking cough, especially when excited or after drinking water.

3. Heart Disease

Heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure, can cause coughing in Pomeranians, particularly in their senior years. This cough is often worse at night or early in the morning and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, lethargy, and reduced exercise tolerance.

4. Allergies

Allergies to pollen, dust, mold, or other environmental allergens can cause respiratory irritation in Pomeranians, leading to coughing. This type of cough is usually accompanied by other signs of allergies, such as sneezing, itching, or runny eyes.

5. Canine Influenza

Canine influenza is a viral infection that can cause coughing, along with other symptoms like fever, nasal discharge, and lethargy. This illness can range from mild to severe, with puppies and older dogs being at higher risk for complications.

6. Parasites

Lungworms and heartworms can cause respiratory symptoms, including coughing, in affected dogs. These parasites are typically contracted through the ingestion of infected hosts or, in the case of heartworms, through the bite of an infected mosquito.

7. Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis in dogs, characterized by inflammation of the bronchi, leads to persistent coughing that lasts for months. This condition often requires long-term management and treatment.

8. Foreign Body Aspiration

Inhaling foreign objects can cause sudden onset coughing as the dog tries to expel the item. This situation requires immediate veterinary attention to prevent complications.

Differentiating Types of Coughs

Understanding the nature of your Pomeranian’s cough can provide clues to its cause:

  • Dry, hacking cough: Often associated with tracheal collapse or kennel cough.
  • Wet, productive cough: Can indicate lung issues, such as pneumonia.
  • Soft, low-intensity cough: This may be related to mild throat irritation or early stages of respiratory infection.
  • A high-pitched, gagging cough: Could suggest foreign body aspiration.

When to Seek Veterinary Care

Prompt veterinary care is essential if:

  • The cough persists for more than a few days.
  • It’s accompanied by other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, lethargy, or loss of appetite.
  • The cough suddenly becomes more severe.
  • Your Pomeranian has known heart issues or other underlying health conditions.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your veterinarian may use a combination of physical examination, medical history, and diagnostic tests (such as X-rays, blood tests, or endoscopy) to determine the cause of the cough. Treatment will vary based on the diagnosis and may include medications, lifestyle modifications, or, in some cases, surgery.

Preventative Measures and Care

1. Vaccinations

Ensure your Pomeranian is up to date on vaccinations, including those for kennel cough and canine influenza, to protect against common infectious causes of coughing.

2. Heartworm Prevention

Regular heartworm prevention is crucial, as heartworm disease can be fatal. Monthly preventatives are available and recommended.

3. Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent or reduce the severity of conditions like tracheal collapse and heart disease.

4. Avoid Irritants

Minimize exposure to potential irritants such as smoke, chemical fumes, and excessive dust, which can exacerbate respiratory issues.

5. Regular Veterinary Check-ups

Routine check-ups can help catch and manage chronic conditions early, potentially reducing the risk of coughing as a symptom.


Coughing in Pomeranians can stem from a variety of causes, ranging from the benign to the more serious. Understanding the context of the cough, its nature, and any accompanying symptoms can help you better assess the urgency of the situation. Remember, when in doubt, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian who can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your Pomeranian’s specific needs. Early intervention and appropriate care are key to managing cough-related conditions, and ensuring your Pomeranian remains happy, healthy, and lively.

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