Chest Thumping: How Does Coupage Help Distemper In Dogs

A dog sitting with its tongue out.

Distemper in dogs has various effects on the affected one, including the accumulation of secretions in the lungs. This is where chest-thumping enters, physiotherapy that can help loosen and remove the excess phlegm, mucus, and sputum that makes it hard to breathe.

Some owners are encouraged to do coupage, the medical term for chest-thumping, but it is still essential to have the proper training and education to perform this.

What Is Coupage?

A puppy sitting on the couch.

Also known as thoracic percussion therapy, coupage is a technique medical practitioners use to help remove existing mucus from the lungs. It includes gentle chest striking using two cupped hands that clears out the dog’s airway to help them breathe and cough better. Veterinarians mostly do this during treatment, but it is also possible for dog owners to perform this at home.

Secretions can result in poor gas exchange, difficulty in breathing, infection, and collapse of lung segments. If coupage is done correctly, it will improve their condition and help eliminate the secretions and infection. It is also an excellent method of treating distemper in dogs.

How To Perform Coupage

Two dogs sitting on a hardwood floor.

To perform coupage, there are the basic and necessary steps:

  1. Lay the dog gently on their back.
  2. Cup your hands and pat one side of their chest at a time. Do not let your hands flatten against their body. There must always be a hollow space between the dog’s chest and your cupped hands.
  3. Slowly move your hands around the chest area. Do this for a maximum of 5 minutes.
  4. Once you’re done, let your dog move around a bit as it can encourage coughing and releasing of loose mucus.

Why Is It Essential To Eliminate Secretions?

A brown puppy running outdoors.

Secretion buildup in the lungs is one of the distemper symptoms. Unaddressed secretions can foster infection and bacteria buildup inside the lungs.

Over time, it can block the airways where oxygen passes through and causes difficulty in breathing. This is why it is necessary to remove secretions immediately so you can help the dog’s body get the proper oxygen it needs to function well.

Things To Remember When Performing Coupage

A dog lying on flowery grass.

When performing coupage, be sure to pay close attention to the dog and notice signs of discomfort and pain. It is essential to adjust the intensity of the massage as it should not be painful.

If the dogs show signs of distress, take a quick stop and try to assess the situation. See if you are possibly hitting a sensitive spot or giving out too much force. If the dog has an injury around the area, the best option would be to leave the situation to a trusted vet to alleviate the respiratory congestion.

When Should You Perform Coupage?

A brown dog in a light blue background.

Coupage should only be performed when a dog has existing respiratory issues that impair the airways, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Diabetes in dogs can also have negative impacts on the lungs.

If there is no vet available around, the owner can perform this therapy, given that they have the knowledge to do it. Coupage can save a dog’s life, especially if the difficulty in breathing is starting to get worse and is in need of immediate response.

How Does Coupage Help With Distemper In Dogs?

A dog sitting on a bed.

One of the distemper symptoms is pneumonia, a secondary complication that targets the respiratory system of the dog. Coupage is a part of the distemper treatment, combined with nebulization and oxygen therapy. It increases the chance of recovery from both complications, giving your furry friends a better chance of living their life happily.


A smiling dog with a rose on its mouth.

When done correctly, coupage possesses many benefits against distemper in dogs. It is necessary to do good research on how to administer the technique to ensure excellent results afterward. To know more about coupage, consult a veterinarian, and they will discuss its benefits and possible risks if done without proper guidance.

If you want to encourage dog owners with this simple solution for distemper, be one of our shelter volunteers and foster today! Go to the Doobert website and sign up to make the world a better place for our furry pals.

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