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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Dog Gagging Coughing Vomiting

Why Does Your Dog Gag So Much?There are several things that could make your dog gag very often. Gagging is a symptom that is similar to choking and coughing. While your pet may not actually be choking on an object or a bone, he may be suffering from a condition known as reverse sneezing. When your pet sneezes, he releases air from his
nostrils, but if he’s suffering from reverse sneezing he will rapidly take in air through his nose and make loud coughing, hacking or snorting sounds.

Although reverse sneezing is just temporary, pet owners are often alarmed when it happens. If the episodes recur intermittently throughout the week, you should get the pet examined by the vet to rule out underlying health conditions.

Other Causes of Gagging

Apart from reverse sneezing, there are a few other things that could irritate the dog’s esophagus and cause excessive gagging. Dogs that are allergic to certain substances present in the environment may be suffering from an asthma attack. Such pets will have difficulty breathing and may gag or choke due to the lack of sufficient oxygen intake. Besides this, gagging often occurs in older pets that are suffering from cardiovascular problems.

If you find that your aged pet starts gagging particularly at night, you should conduct a prompt vet check as it could be an indicator of heart problems. You should also not rule out the possibility of choking as some pets accidentally ingest foreign objects that are lying on the floor. Others may have gulped their food down too quickly and this could make them gag.

What to Watch For When a Dog Gags

It’s important to make note of any accompanying symptoms that the pet exhibits as this will help the vet come to a conclusion. Watch for signs of any nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, nausea and sneezing and keep the vet informed about the same.

Diagnosis of the Cause of Gagging

If the gagging passes off on its own you needn’t worry. Pets that gag repeatedly need to be checked by the vet. The vet will perform a thorough physical exam and look for any signs of abnormalities in the esophagus and the pet’s respiratory tract. Blood tests and urine analysis will reveal any changes that have taken place in the body.

If necessary, additional diagnostic tests like chest X-rays and ultrasounds will be performed.

Treatment for Dog Gagging and Underlying Conditions

Since gagging is a symptom of a disorder, the main aim of treatment is to cure the underlying disorder that’s causing the gagging. If the dog is suffering from asthma, the vet will prescribe medications and ask you to take certain preventive measures to reduce the occurrence of asthma attacks. It’s beneficial to keep a portable oxygen cylinder at home if your pet suffers from asthma.

Alternatively, if the gagging is associated with cardiac problems, the vet will ask you to change the dog’s lifestyle so that the heart problem is kept in check.

Read more: Why Does Your Dog Gag So Much? - VetInfo

Dog Coughing And Hacking

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.

Read more: Dog Coughing and Gagging - VetInfo

Dog Throwing Up Clear Liquid And/Or Undigested Food

When a dog is throwing up it can be a sign that your pet is unwell. The vomit may contain traces of food, but may also be a clear liquid or water, or it may contain blood. The causes of a dog throwing up water should be identified so the animal can receive treatment. Meanwhile, the dog should receive liquids to stay hydrated.

Gastric Juice

When a dog is throwing up water, this is actually gastric juice, which is an acid that helps the digestion process. When a dog throws up gastric juice that is clear and not mixed with any foods, it may be due to the fact that the dog hasn't eaten anything. The dog may have eaten something that irritates his stomach and gets stuck in the intestinal tract. Monitor your pet and see if there are other symptoms. Typically, a dog throwing up water can point to a few medical problems, including thyroid dysfunction, agitation, toxicity, stomach or brain tumors or the swallowing of unusual foods or objects.

Thyroid Dysfunction

A thyroid dysfunction can be the underlying cause of the dog throwing up clear liquid or water. The thyroid gland is responsible for producing the thyroid hormones, and when these are in excess the dog has hyperthyroidism. When there is a deficit of thyroid hormones, the dog has hypothyroidism. Both these conditions may cause vomiting and if the stomach is empty, the dog may vomit water. Additional symptoms may include oily or dry skin, coarse hair or pale gums. Medication therapy is available to solve the thyroid dysfunction, and surgery may be recommended in extreme cases.


If the dog is agitated or excited he may end up throwing up gastric juice. You can determine whether your dog is excited or agitated, as he will be restless and will calm down if he gets attention.


Toxic foods and materials may cause vomiting in dogs. The dog may often throw up only clear liquid and he may also have foam at the mouth. Watch out for symptoms such as diarrhea, lack of coordination, dilated pupils, pale gums, seizures or coma. Toxic substances can be absorbed using activated charcoal, but the dog still needs immediate veterinary attention.

Liver Dysfunction

The liver is an essential organ that will filter the toxic substances in the dog's body. If the liver doesn't function properly and fails to filter the toxins, the dog will have a high level of toxins in the blood, which will cause similar symptoms as in the case of toxicity.


A tumor that is found in the stomach may cause the dog to vomit. The dog may vomit both food and clear liquid, depending on whether his stomach is empty or not. If the tumor is located in the brain, this may cause frequent vomiting, especially if it is located close to the vomiting center. The tumor must be diagnosed and removed, if possible. If the tumor is cancerous, the dog needs chemotherapy treatment.

Read more: Dog Throwing Up Water - VetInfo

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