Just as in humans, infections of dogs’ and cats’ upper respiratory tract cause runny noses, sneezes, sore throats and coughing. The two that infect cats, however — feline viral rhinotracheitis and the similar but less serious feline calcivirus — require a veterinarian’s care.
Kennel cough in dogs (contracted from other dogs) causes inflammation of the voice box and windpipe. For this and other less serious infections that result in coughing, an herbal cough syrup containing wild cherry bark (Prunus serotina) and horehound (Marrubium vulgare) will help coat and soothe the throat. It is available in health-food stores and features dosage guidelines on the label; reduce the dose (calculated for a 150-pound human) according to your pet’s size. On the other hand, for acute coughing, which may indicate bronchitis, pneumonia or foreign bodies in the airway, take your animal friend to the veterinarian immediately.