Dog coughing up spittle

My chihuahua coughs up spittle sometimes but if I rub the lower part of her throat for a few minutes I can usually stop the coughing. Is there a condition in the throat for this breed of dog that is common?

  • Vetinfo

    By: Lorraine Fancher El Segundo, CA

    Replied on 04/19/2011

    Thank you for the question about your dog coughing up spittle.

    A dog coughing up spittle could be doing it for a number of reasons. It can range from minor to very serious. It could also be the first signs of a serious heart or lung condition. Some questions you need to ask yourself are:

    What is going on when your dog coughs up this spittle?

    Is your dog overexcited and running around, drinking lots of water after high activity or just chilling on your lap?

    Was a treat recently given that she was chewing on? Has she been in contact with any sick dogs?

    Does she like to chew on things?

    How often does your dog really do this?

    How long has this been going on and what soothes the coughing?

    These questions are important, because the answers will give you a clearer picture as to what might be causing this. Tonsillitis is a condition more common with small dog breeds and should also be considered. Its seldom a serious condition but could be chronic and bothersome. Dogs have 1 set of tonsils. There is one on each side of the back of the throat. When they are irritated (from infection, foreign object, dental or gum disease), they swell, causing an uncomfortable feeling for dogs. This causes them to swallow frequently, cough or sometimes vomit. It may even cause a decrease in appetite.

    You should keep a journal of the answers to the above questions and bring your chihuahua to your veterinarian for an exam. Make sure they look down her throat and if nothing is found, take an x-ray. This will ensure a clear picture of the entire throat, showing any foreign objects, swelling, growths, infection, etc. Make sure the x-ray includes the heart and lungs. This will rule out or in any heart and lung issues as well. Please don't wait too long, in case this is a serious problem.

    Thank you and Good Luck!

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