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Can Dogs Get A Sore Throat? 11 Symptoms + 17 Treatment Tips

Can Dogs Get A Sore Throat

Is your dog acting weird recently?

Are they coughing, drooling, licking their lips, making swallowing motions, and refusing to drink or eat?

If so, then they might have a sore throat. 

But “Can dogs get a sore throat?” you ask.

This article will answer that. And tell you all you need to know about the causes of these symptoms.

So, waste no time and read on to find out:

  • 11 telltale signs that your dog has a sore throat.
  • Whether tea can help relieve your dog’s symptoms.
  • If dogs can get a sore throat from barking too much.
  • 17 treatment tips to help soothe your dog’s throat and calm down coughing.
  • And so much more…

Can dogs get a sore throat?

Though it is a rare occurrence, dogs can get a sore throat. Some causes include infections, viruses and bacteria, and even canine hepatitis. A dog can also get a sore throat from vomiting, excessive barking, pulling on the leash, and the presence of irritants in the throat.

Can dogs get a sore throat from barking too much?

Dogs can get a sore throat from barking too much. From a physiological point of view, dogs use their throat to bark. Excessive barking can make them sick, or lead to a hoarse bark. However, there are some dogs that can bark too much but not get a sore throat.

People also ask:

5 Causes of sore throats in dogs

#1: Medical problems

Many illnesses and medical conditions can explain why your dog has a sore throat.

Let’s look at each one briefly:


This is one of the most common causes of sore throat in dogs. 

Infection can come from anything. Including:

  • Infection in the sinuses.
  • Infections from tartar buildup.
  • Infection in the respiratory tract.
  • Infections from chronic coughing.

Here’s a dog with a sore throat due to a respiratory infection:

The dog’s parent thought that the sore throat was from pulling on the collar. 

Viruses and bacteria

These include parvovirus, distemper, and kennel cough. All of these will give your dog an itchy throat.

Kennel cough, in particular, leads to a dry, hacking cough. That’s why your dog sounds as if they have a sore throat.

Here’s how kennel cough sounds like:

I’ve heard many dog parents asking whether their dog can give them a sore throat. Yes, it is possible.

A dog can carry the bacterium after being exposed to a human with strep throat. This bacterium in the dog can infect other humans.

Infectious canine hepatitis

Hepatitis is also a cause of sore throat in dogs. One of the clinical signs of hepatitis is enlarged tonsils. In some cases, the enlargement is severe.

According to this report, the virus is spread through urine, feces, and saliva. It is then contracted through the nose or mouth. Then the virus reproduces in the tonsils.

Note: Young dogs are more prone to infectious canine hepatitis.

#2: Vomiting

Your dog can get a sore throat after vomiting.

Sometimes it is normal for dogs to vomit. If it happens rarely, it’s not anything serious.

But chronic vomiting needs attention.

It leads to a sore throat because gastric juices burn the throat lining. Which results in inflammation.

It worsens the more your dog vomits. It might get to a point that your dog cannot swallow or bark.

#3: Excessive barking

Your dog has a sore throat from barking too much.

Some dogs will bark non-stop. Usually, this means that they don’t get adequate physical and mental exercises. 

Excessive barking can also stem from boredom, separation anxiety, and getting attention.

Reading tip: Do Dogs Get Tired Of Barking? The Truth + 7 Anti-Barking Tips

#4: Pulling on the collar

Your dog can get a sore throat from their collar.

This is more likely in dogs that are not leash-trained. They pull on their leash constantly.

This causes their collar to put pressure on their throat.

You might also like: Why is my dog out of control?

#5: Irritants in the throat

Irritants include plant matter or pieces of stick or bone. If not removed asap, it could lead to a sore throat.

If this is your dog’s case, you’ll notice them gagging or coughing. Sometimes they make a hacking sound then swallow repeatedly.

They do this to try to remove what’s causing the irritation.

Bonus: Anal gland problems

I bet you raised your eyebrows in confusion.

But yeah, what’s sore throat got to do with anal gland problems?

First, let’s talk about these glands. These are small pouches located on either side of the anus. Here, your dog produces a very smelly fluid that is released when they poop. 

Sometimes, anal glands get impacted. This happens when there is inflammation. As a result, the glands become swollen and infected.

Your dog will relieve themselves of any discomfort or pain by licking their anus. As a result, some of the fluid might get into their mouth. 

And so they spread the infection from their anus to their mouth. It’s highly likely that they’ll have a sore throat a few days later.

11 Symptoms of sore throat in dogs

#1: Fever

Dog With Sore Throat Has Fever

One of the dog’s sore throat symptoms includes fever. It doesn’t occur in all sore throat cases, but your dog will likely have a fever due to infection.

A fever can also be accompanied by shivering.

Note: A dog has a high fever if their body temperature is over 39.4℃ (103℉).

#2: Too much drooling

A dog with a sore throat will have more drool than usual. 

That’s due to the infections present.

And when dogs drool a lot, it’s either they have a sore throat or nausea.

Be sure to look out for other symptoms.

Read also: Why Does My Dog Drool In The Car? 5 Reasons + 7 Tips

#3: Dry mouth and lip licking

When dogs experience discomfort or pain, it can make them anxious. The resulting tension leads to a reduced saliva flow. Hence, a dry mouth. 

Your dog’s first response is to lick their lips.

This article goes deeper into the functions of lip licking. It says that the act releases endorphins.

So when dogs lick their lips while having a sore throat, the act reduces pain and makes them feel better.

#4: Swollen tonsils

You can tell a dog has a sore throat if they have swollen and red tonsils.

However, this is challenging to know. Your dog may not let you open their mouth wide. 

But this study can help you. The author had observed 12 dogs (7 females, 5 males) with tonsillitis.

According to the study, you’ll observe the following from your dog:

  • Fever.
  • Gagging and retching.
  • Soft cough (sometimes with mucus).

In severe cases, you’ll observe:

  • Drooling.
  • Restlessness.
  • Difficulty swallowing.

#5: Repeated swallowing

How do you know if your dog has a sore throat?

Consider it the case if you see your dog swallowing repeatedly.

Most often, dogs with sore throats feel as if there’s something lodged in their throat. 

This is a very uncomfortable feeling. So they do swallowing motions to get rid of whatever it is.

#6: Decreased appetite

Your dog has a sore throat and won’t eat.

Imagine eating when your throat is feeling raw. You won’t be able to eat. Even if the food is delicious, or you’re hungry.

That’s how it is with dogs, too.

And even if they try to eat, they might appear to choke on their food. It’s painful to swallow food so they’ll refuse to eat and drink.

But in some cases, dogs with sore throats will drink more. Some will find it that water relieves their inflamed throat.

#7: Sluggish

You try to get your dog to play ball with you. But instead of fetching the ball, they just look at you.

Don’t worry, your dog’s not a killjoy. They just feel under the weather.

Sore throats are caused by an infection.

And a dog’s body uses energy to work hard fighting this infection. So your dog may appear weak. And won’t be in their usual play mood.

Your dog will behave like this while they’re recovering.

You might want to read: 7 Reasons Why Your Dog Is So Lazy + 3 Dangers & 5 Tips

#8: Gagging

Your dog sounds like he has a sore throat. That’s after they emit a high pitched gag a few times.

They do this because of the irritants in their throat. It’s their attempt to remove whatever it is.

#9: Whining when yawning/opening the mouth

Dogs go through a great deal of discomfort when they have a sore throat.

So any movement they do with their mouth is either uncomfortable or painful.

When they yawn, chew, pant, or open their mouths, the muscles inside stretch. It leads to more pain. 

And your dog ends up whining or crying.

#10: Coughing

Dog Cough

Aside from gagging, another sore throat infection symptom is coughing.

That’s because dogs feel as though there’s something in their throat.

For instance, they’ve swallowed a strand of hair. Or a stick/bone splinter is stuck in their throat.

Also, a cut in their throat can make it sore. 

So dogs end up coughing to clear their throat of these things.

#11: Hoarse bark

A hoarse bark is an indication of a dog with sore throat symptoms.

You know how their normal bark sounds. So if there’s a change in the tone, or if they’re hoarse, something’s up.

The swollen tonsils and inflammation in the throat affect how the bark sounds.

Bonus: Pawing the face

If a dog feels anything off with their body, their first reaction is to scratch or lick it.

That’s why you’ll see them pawing their face. They want to reach the source of the pain/discomfort.

17 Treatment tips for sore throat in dogs

#1: Seek the vet

Treating sore throats in dogs starts with knowing the cause. That’s because the treatments depend on what’s causing the soreness.

And to know what the cause is, you need your vet’s help. 

The symptoms I have listed above can also be symptoms of other conditions. For instance, coughing can be a symptom of heart disease. Or if the dog refuses to eat, it could be due to an impacted tooth.

What this means is that you should bring your dog to the vet for a thorough checkup.

#2: Annual physical exam

Better yet, take your dog to the vet for a regular checkup. 

This is the key to catching illnesses and diseases on the onset. This is much better than treating something that’s already progressed.

During the checkup, your vet will inspect your dog from nose to tail. The vet will see if your dog has a healthy mouth. And that nothing causes a sore throat.

#3: Antibiotics for infection

How to cure a dog’s throat is your vet’s #1 job.

They will prescribe antibiotics for the infection.

If there’s anything stuck in your dog’s throat, the vet will remove it and then get to the antibiotics.

Your dog should be fine in a matter of several days.

#4: Vaccines for added protection

A vaccine is one dog’s sore throat treatment to consider. 

There are core vaccines and non-core ones. The former refers to vaccines recommended for all dogs. 

Whereas the latter is recommended for dogs that are at a high risk of a particular disease.

Core vaccines

  • Rabies.
  • Distemper.
  • Parvovirus-2.
  • Adenovirus-2.

Non-core vaccines

  • Coronavirus.
  • Leptospirosis.
  • Parainfluenza virus.

You can also protect your pooch against kennel cough through regular Bordetella vaccinations.

#5: Feed your dog canned food

“My dog has a sore throat and won’t eat.”

Some dogs with sore throats will shy away from food. Most especially dry kibble.

Eating kibble is like scraping a rock against the throat when it is sore. So keep it away for now if this is your dog’s usual diet. 

Your dog will thank you if you give them canned food for the moment. You can also add a bit of water to the canned food.

This is to make swallowing easier. Wet food will go down the throat easier and won’t add to the irritation.

#6: Natural remedies

Your dog’s diet may not be enough to boost their immune system while they’re fighting the infection. They’re gonna need all the nutrition they can get.

This is where the natural remedies for sore throat in dogs come in.


Give Your Dog Honey For Sore Throat

Honey works wonders if your pooch has chronic coughing. Whether due to kennel cough or just an ordinary cough, honey helps soothe the throat.

That’s due to its antibiotic properties. A little honey will go a long way in minimizing coughing.

That said, give your dog ½ to one teaspoon of honey. This amount is safe enough for dogs.

Too much and you’ll run the risk of your dog having diarrhea.

PetMD recommends mixing honey with warm water. This way, it’s easier for your dog to take it.

Give this to your pooch up to 3 times a day.

Warning: Do not give honey to small puppies under 1 year of age. Honey contains botulism spores that are harmful for puppies’ developing immune system. 

Also, consult with your vet before giving your diabetic dog honey.

Coconut oil

“My dog has a sore throat. What can I give him?”

Coconut oil is another natural remedy for sore throat. Thanks to its infection-fighting properties.

Give your dog a teaspoon of coconut oil per 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) of body weight. I suggest giving it to your dog in smaller increments throughout the day.

Warning: Taking coconut oil may lead to loose stools.

You can give your dog a mixture of honey and coconut oil. However, make sure you have consulted with your vet first.

#7: Herbal remedies

Are you looking for a dog’s sore throat home remedy? Herbal teas may be able to help.

Teas containing the following ingredients may help reduce coughing:


Licorice is safe for dogs when used properly. The licorice root is used for its anti-inflammatory properties.

In fact, this study showed its effectiveness in treating dogs with inflammatory disease.

In the study, the authors observed 15 Beagles, which were divided into 3 groups:

  • Group 1 – Treatment with robenacoxib.
  • Group 2 – Treatment with robenacoxib and licorice extract.
  • Group 3 – Received an empty capsule.

The dogs underwent 21 days of treatment.

The findings showed that robenacoxib and licorice extract is the most effective.

How to make licorice tea

Boil 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon dried licorice root. Remove from heat and let cool.

For every one tablespoon of licorice tea, add with a teaspoon of honey. Give 2 tablespoons of this mixture to your dog before a meal.

Sage leaves

To make medicinal sage tea, prepare the following:

  • 2 tsp honey
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 ½ cups filtered water
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage leaves
  1. Bruise the fresh sage leaves using a spoon.
  2. Place the leaves, honey, and lemon juice in a jug. Pour boiling water.
  3. Cover the jug and let tea steep for 30 minutes.
  4. Strain the mixture when cold.

Give your dog 2 tablespoons of the tea before meals.

Here’s another recipe for sore throat:

  1. Boil a cup of water. Add a teaspoon of age, peppermint, and thyme.
  2. Add a teaspoon of honey.
  3. Let the tea cool.

Give your dog this tea until symptoms improve.

#8: Cough syrups

Sore throat and cough in dogs are a bad combination.

Cough syrups may be the cure for both. Your vet can prescribe your dog a medication that eases the coughing.

These cough syrups work to soothe your dog’s throat and boost the immune system as well.

These are administered orally, in liquid form. These may also contain herbs such as eucalyptus, slippery elm, and rose hips. 

#9: Vitamin C supplements

Make sure your dog has their daily supplement of vitamin C. 

Vitamin C is a powerhouse considering what it does. For one, it boosts immunity. So it reduces the chances of infections in the future.

Two, it helps speed up your dog’s healing process. So they can be their old self again!

Three, this vitamin helps heal the tissue in your dog’s throat. It stops irritation faster than if your dog doesn’t take vitamin C.

#10: Humidify the air

Irritations in the respiratory tract make it hard for your dog to breathe. So it helps to have a humidifier at home.

A humidifier moistens the air. In turn, it soothes your dog’s dry and irritated throat.

Also, the mist from the humidifier hydrates the tissues in the throat. It helps to calm down coughing.

The hydration also hastens the time it takes for the tissues to heal.

If you have a small humidifier at home, place it near your dog while they rest.

#11: Remove collars

While your dog is recovering from a sore throat, remove their collars. You’ll see how they can breathe easier.

Also, if this is why your dog has a sore throat, consider using a harness rather than a collar. A harness is safer to use, especially if your dog is a puller.

If you need to take your dog out, use a harness. It won’t apply pressure on their throat.

#12: Hydration

Imagine swallowing with your throat very dry. It hurts to swallow.

Hydration is one of the best dog’s sore throat treatments. That said, give your dog easy access to clean, cool water.

Place water bowls in strategic places around the house. This way, your dog can take a drink whenever they want.

They need water to soothe the soreness and dryness of their throat.

The teas I have recommended in tip #7 can also help keep your pooch hydrated.

#13: Mist the air

Misting the air is one way to treat sore throat in dogs. How?

When your dog breathes in the mist, it will soothe their sore throat. And it also calms their cough.

You can use herbal oils for misting. Here’s how:

Mix 5 to 8 drops of lavender or eucalyptus oil and one cup warm water.

Pour in a spray bottle. Spray in areas where your dog hangs out.

#14: Plenty of rest

Humans need plenty of rest when sick. And so do dogs.

That’s how your dog can “recharge the batteries”. And deal with the issue of having a sore throat.

So, in the meantime, reduce their exercise. The last thing you want is getting your dog overworked, which could lead to a coughing spell.

Also, you want to keep your dog from barking too much. It will worsen their sore throat.

Remove as many stimuli as you can. For instance, your dog barks at everyone passing by the house. Remove them from the window so they don’t see what’s happening outside.

#15: Separate sick dog from other animals

For a multi-animal household, quarantine your sick dog from the rest.

Your dog with a sore throat can pass on the bacteria to other dogs. 

Humans should also wash their hands regularly. Particularly after interacting with a sick dog.

Even if they can’t infect you, the germs in your hands may be transferred to your other pets.

#16: Dental cleaning

What to do if your dog has a sore throat?

Remember, determining the cause is the first step. Is the sore throat from infection due to tartar buildup?

Consider having your dog get a dental cleaning.

Depending on your dog’s case, the vet may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications.

#17: Steam therapy

For those of you with a hot shower at home. Here’s another simple dog’s sore throat treatment:

Steam therapy.

When you take a hot shower, bring your dog to the closed bathroom. But, don’t put them in the shower or bath.

While you’re showering, the room will be filled with steam. So allow your dog to breathe it in.

That’s all it takes. The steam helps decrease irritation in their throat.