Dog Coughing and Gagging

If you notice your dog coughing, it may be caused by a number of possible conditions. Coughing and gagging in dogs is a common occurrence, and may be caused by eating or drinking too fast, foreign objects in the throat, allergies, infections, heart disease, parasites, distemper, kennel cough and more. It is important to keep a close eye on your pet if you notice him coughing, gagging, or hacking excessively, because it may indicate a potentially serious condition. 

Kennel Cough in Dogs

Kennel cough is a serious condition in dogs that occurs when the bordatella virus invades the body and causes severe coughing, inflammation and other complications. Kennel cough is highly contagious and should be treated promptly, because it can lead to serious complications and death. 

Tracheal Collapse

Many times, tracheal collapse will cause your pet to hack and cough excessively. Elderly or overweight dogs are more prone to developing a collapsed trachea, and this condition often produces a honking sound when coughing. Medication and surgery may be needed for treating tracheal collapse. 

Distemper in Dogs

Distemper occurs when the immune system becomes compromised and your pet picks up the infection. Symptoms of distemper include a dry cough, runny nose, watery eyes and fever. Distemper can be fatal, so it is crucial to seek veterinarian assistance as soon as possible. 

Heart Disease in Dogs

Dogs with heart disease or heart failure often show signs of coughing and gagging. Congestive heart failure is known for triggering heavy episodes of coughing in canines. Because the heart becomes enlarged, it irritates and compresses the airway. 

Fungal Infection in Dogs

When your pet inhales fungal spores, he can develop a fungal infection. Common places where fungal spores are found include damp rooms, other damp areas and bird droppings. Dogs that live near chickens or on a farm are much more likely to become infected by fungal conditions. 

Other Causes for Dog Coughing

Auto-immune diseases, coccidiosis, allergies and internal parasites can all cause coughing or gagging in dogs. As mentioned earlier, your pet may be coughing or hacking simply because he ate or drank too quickly. Choking on foreign objects may also cause your pet to cough uncontrollably. 

Diagnosing Dog Coughing and Gagging

Your veterinarian will likely ask for a complete medical history of your pet. He may also perform blood work, x-rays and other examinations to establish the exact cause of the coughing. Once the underlying cause has been established, your pet can begin the proper treatments needed for his condition. 

Treatments for Dog Coughing

How your pet should be treated will depend on the underlying cause of the condition he is suffering from. Over the counter cough suppressants are available for dogs, and can help relieve your pet to some degree of his discomfort. Antibiotics, breathing treatments and anti-inflammatory medications may also be used to alleviate coughing and gagging.