Your dog coughs and chokes - This may be the cause

When your dog coughs, it can be for many reasons. Not every cough is a symptom of a serious illness. However, if your dog coughs or chokes regularly, you should definitely get to the bottom of the cause.

Article from
Dr. Christian Dimitriadis
Veterinary surgeon with Dr. SAM
Table of contents

Also the rapid gulping down of food or drink or physical exertion can trigger the cough reflex. In particular, coughing in dogs on colder days can occur as a cold symptom and thus indicate a flu or viral infection. As a dog owner, it is not always easy at first to find out the trigger of the cough.

What does it mean when the dog coughs and chokes?

Coughing (medically tussis) is the explosive expulsion of air. This happens either voluntarily or by triggering the cough reflex. First of all, a distinction is made between two types of cough: dry and wet cough in dogs. Gagging , on the other hand, is a reflex in which the muscles in the throat contract to prevent foreign bodies from entering the airways.

People often confuse coughing and gagging. Gagging does not come from the lungs. When gagging, the dog spits out mucus or liquid. However, if the dog coughs a lot, it may also gag at the end.

Cause against dog cough

If the dog coughs more dryly, then the dog's voice will sound more busy and rough. You may notice that the dog barks differently! The dry cough is often associated with suffering, it usually counts as quite painful. The 8 most common causes of dry cough:

  • The dog choked. However, this cough usually lasts only a few minutes and then disappears.
  • Infections or inflammations: Influenza viruses or kennel cough are the most common causes of infection. Especially unvaccinated or young dogs are affected. In addition, watery eyes and nasal discharge are frequently observed in affected dogs.
  • Diseases of the heart can also promote dry coughing, especially during physical exertion of the dog.
  • Asthma or allergies can cause dogs to cough with increased dryness.
  • Infections in the trachea area or also in the neck and larynx area are also possible triggers.
  • In dogs that tend to devour their food particularly hastily, unchewed food pieces or foreign bodies such as bones can also enter the respiratory tract and cause a dry cough.
  • In a so-called tracheal collapse, a collapse of the windpipe, dry coughing is a typical first sign. This is particularly common in dwarf dog breeds such as Chihuahuas or Yorkshire terriers. A genetic predisposition is suspected to be the cause.
  • Did your dog have an accident or an injury in the chest area? Then I would have the cause of the cough clarified as quickly as possible!

The so-called wet cough means that the dog makes a less hard, rather muffled, gurgling sound when coughing and liquid or slimy discharge is excreted with the coughing process.

  • It may be a more advanced stage of heart disease that has affected the lungs.
  • Even an advanced, untreated pneumonia can change from a dry cough to a wet one. Further symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever and tiredness can also occur. Lung tumours also fall into this category
  • The expectoration of mucus could also be caused by tonsillitis. This is not coughing, but choking.
  • Was your favourite abroad? On the Mediterranean, various parasites can cause coughing. Heartworm, for example, is a common parasite abroad.
  • Is your dog often in the woods? Even the native lungworm can be the cause of coughing!
With tonsillitis (Tonsilitis) dog owners often think that the dog has something stuck in its throat!

Symptoms and diagnosis

Unlike other symptoms, coughing is relatively easy to detect.

  • The "dog cough" sounds the same with dogs as with humans
  • You often notice that your dog coughs after you come back from a walk
  • Also physical exertion such as playing, can provoke coughing. In small breeds it could indicate a tracheal collapse. This can be detected by means of X-ray or endoscopy (see below).
  • Does your dog cough more at night than usual? This could indicate a heart problem or water in the lungs (pulmonary oedema).
  • Heart diseases can be detected by means of X-rays or ultrasound. A heart ultrasound cannot be done by every veterinarian, but it is the most reliable way to diagnose heart problems. Only then will your dog get the best possible treatment for his heart problem
  • For many diseases that cause coughing, the reason can only be proven by endoscopy. Unfortunately, your darling has to be put under anesthesia. The inside of the body is examined directly with a camera. A biopsy (tissue sample) or a swab sample can also be taken during such an endoscopy.
An acute cough does not always have to be a life-threatening sign. With chronic coughs (more than 2 weeks), however, the cause should always be found. / Sanjagrujic

Therapy against cough of the dog

The immune system of the dog can be strengthened by different preparations. (e.g. the Immune booster from Dr. SAM). There are specially formulated herbal mixtures that have been proven to strengthen your dog's immune system. This natural herbal mixture was developed by our veterinarians especially for dogs to strengthen their immune system. Our Immunbooster herbal blend for dogs should be used for the following indications:

  • For support in stressful situations
  • For colds and bladder infections
  • For age-related reduced activity of the immune system
  • For the prevention of infections

The medicinal plants used contain special active ingredients that promote the function of the body's immune defenses and support the well-being in the long term. Thus, the immune system can also be supported and strengthened preventively. The medicinal plants can therefore not only fight coughs but also prevent them at the same time.

You can easily order our immune booster for dogs in our shop.

  • Tonsilitis must usually also be treated immediately, otherwise the dog will suffer severely.
With short-nosed dog breeds, tonsillitis can lead to respiratory distress! Here you should speak immediately with a veterinary surgeon, since your dog could otherwise suffocate!
  • Heart problems are usually very well treatable. An old dog with a heart problem can often live happily on for several years.
  • Tracheal collapse is a collapse of the trachea. It occurs mainly in dwarf dog breeds (Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua, Maltese, Miniature Spitz, Miniature Schnauzer). A seizure-like cough is an early symptom. If you have a small dog breed, remember that a tracheal collapse could occur. Depending on the severity, medication may help or even surgery may be considered. This should be discussed with the vet.

Preventive measures when the dog coughs

  • A healthy Immune system and the necessary vaccinations, protect your dog from viral diseases for the time being. As with us humans, viral infections spread faster in winter than in summer.
  • Heart problems can be age-related or race-related. Many breeds (Boxer, Cavalier King Charles, Doberman) have congenital or hereditary heart diseases. Inform yourself well about the breed of your dog and whether the breeder pays attention to it.
  • Older dogs should have a big check-up once a year. This includes a large blood count but also an x-ray of the chest.

Once the causes have been found, you should know why the dog coughs and chokes. If you then also observe the preventive measures in the future, then there will certainly be no more coughing in the way of your four-legged friend. If, however, a symptom occurs in the future, then you are welcome to contact the vets at DrSam. We are all happy to help.

If you are unsure and would like to learn more about Dr. SAM - just click on the link and get further insights into our work.

Best regards,
Dr. Christian Dimitriadis
- Veterinary surgeon with Dr. SAM

Table of contents
Article from
Dr. Christian Dimitriadis
Veterinary surgeon with Dr. SAM

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