It could be something as simple as a nose tickle. But this could be a concerning thing if you see that your pet has been doing this for a few days.

As a pet owner, you should be informed about the possible causes your dog is coughing or gagging. Read our piece on this to learn about them. 

Common Causes of Coughing in Dogs

An occasional cough is normal. There may be many reasons why your dog is doing this, and most of them will not even turn into anything serious if you take proper care of your pet.

  • Kennel cough and respiratory infections
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Heart disease 
  • Foreign object lodged in the mouth, throat, or the esophagus 
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Bacterial infection

Reasons for Gagging in Dogs 

Like for us humans, gagging is just a normal reflex in dogs. But non-stop and recurring gagging can indicate that there might be something going wrong. Older dogs produce more mucus which could be the reason behind the gagging cough coming out of them.

  • Sinusitis or rhinitis
  • Kennel cough
  • Heart disease
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Intestinal parasite infestation
  • Presence of foreign object in mouth, esophagus, or throat

How to Prevent Coughing and Gagging

It is better if we are properly informed about the preventive steps. Prevention trumps treatment any day. To ensure the safety of your canine, you must take them to the vet every once in a while for a checkup. 

If they have any underlying issues, such as a collapsed trachea or heart disease, you should take them to the clinic more frequently. Cases of kennel cough among dogs are high in senior dogs.

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Also, you must keep the dog kennel clean at all times and have to watch what your canine is eating.

One more thing you have to do is to keep small objects such as stuffed toys, sticks, and bones away from your dog. This is among the top reasons why your dog gags and coughs.

On another note, you have to pay extra care and attention to a puppy because they are more susceptible to getting sick. If your dog shows signs of a persistent cough followed by gagging, it might indicate you need to take the dog to the vet.

Get your dog vaccinated to fight off diseases.

Diseases and Treatment

We must have a clear image of the diseases that are causing our dogs to cough and gag. If you know about the type of cough, then you will be able to examine your dog at the right time.

Kennel Cough in Dogs

This is very similar to dog flu. Microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi can be the cause of your dog’s cough. These organisms can reside in the airways of the upper respiratory tract and lungs and attack them.

These targeted attacks could cause infections such as dog pneumonia and bronchitis. Kennel cough is usually the most common respiratory disease. You should know- kennel cough can be caused by multiple kinds of bacteria and viruses.

Those who have this disease will have a dry cough, deep, hacking cough, and that may be accompanied by gagging, sneezing, snorting, and even vomiting. 

Kennel cough is a highly contagious disease, so if your dog has developed any symptoms of kennel cough, it may be because of being exposed to other dogs, such as in the dog park.

You have to administer your dog with an antibiotic, antiviral, or cough suppressants as a treatment. 

Collapsed Trachea

Dogs who are smaller in size have a greater chance of developing this problem. When the cartilage ring that is around the trachea becomes weak and cannot support the trachea any longer, it collapses. This leads to the air passageway getting narrow. A honking sound, like a goose, comes from the canine cough. 

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Chronic cough and irritation may occur due to the collapse. Animals with this problem might gag while drinking or eating, develop respiratory distress, or might even have an intolerance.

Prevention is the treatment here. You have to utilize a harness in place of a collar and control the weight of your pet if you want to avoid the collapse from happening.

But in case your dog develops this problem, you could give them inhaled steroids and inhaled bronchodilators to decrease inflammation and dilate the airways.

Chronic Bronchitis 

A dry and hacking cough is produced in chronic bronchitis. This typically worsens when the animal is excited or exercising. In this disease, the passages get inflamed, and more mucus is made that narrows down the airways in the lungs. Irritants and airborne pollutants such as cigarette smoke cause this.

If the problem is not diagnosed and treated, the condition of your dog will worsen over time.

A cough that sounds deep can be a warning sign for you. You have to give medications to your infected dog that will reduce the inflammation. If your dog can’t stop coughing, give them inhaled steroids. Inhaled medications are preferred here as they have fewer side effects. These medications should suppress coughing.

Heart Disease

A very common cause of coughing in dogs is heart disease. If you see that your dog is gagging, is very tired, weak, has a depressed or rapid heartbeat, has a blue-tinged tongue, has lower endurance, develops a loss of appetite, and is facing difficulties in breathing, then immediately take them to the nearest clinic.

If you do not catch the symptoms soon, your dog might suffer from congestive heart failure that could lead to death. Monitor your dog closely and take them to the veterinary if needed.

Dog Has Something Stuck in the Mouth, Throat, or the Esophagus 

If the dog inhales a foreign material that gets stuck in the airways, that may cause coughing and sneezing. Dust can be the cause of your dog’s cough. They also might make choking sounds because of this. If the gagging doesn’t get cleared up soon, take them to the veterinarian.

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Keep your dog away from small objects.

Reverse Sneezing

Smaller breeds may make choking or cough-like sounds, and this is known as reverse sneezing. In this condition, inhalation is done noisily and rapidly through the nose while sneezing.

You do not need to take your dog to the clinic for a reverse sneeze, but if it gets too severe and frequent, you have to go to check whether they have other health complications or not. You should know, this is not contagious.

Other Causes Which Lead To Gagging and Coughing

Dogs can also cough due to reasons other than the ones mentioned above. There is a possibility that heartworm disease could cause your dog to cough. Other than that, a few types of cancer could be the reason behind the problem.

If your dog has a persistent cough, then it is absolutely necessary for you to take them to the clinic. If they are not taken there in time, it might be too late and your dog’s life will be in danger.

Diagnostics Tests Done To Find Out The Problem

If your dog can’t stop coughing, the vet will do some tests to figure out what might be causing the problem. You should shoot a video of your dog coughing when you are at home so that you can show it to the doctor.

Here are the tests that they might carry out

  • Blood work
  • Chest X-Rays
  • Fecal Examination
  • Urinanalysis
  • Measuring blood pressure
  • ECG
  • Echocardiography
  • Nasal swab to examine the fluids

Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open When Your Dog Is Coughing and Gagging

Now you know why your dog can’t stop coughing or making gagging sounds. The cough usually is not something serious.

Look out for signs of kennel cough or any disease, as a matter of fact. If you take the proper treatment during the right time for your sick dog, then you do not have to worry about anything. You must protect your dog at all costs.