Your dog may cough and gag after barking due to many reasons. A single cough or gag isn’t always a scary thought. But repeated and excessive coughing or gagging randomly or after barking is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. You must not take it lightly and immediately take your dog to a vet to diagnose the problem.
11 Reasons Why Dogs Cough and Gag after Barking
1. Dog’s Dry Throat After Howling
Your dog’s throat may get dry after howling or barking excessively. It is a common behavior and usually nothing to worry about. The reason is dry vocal cords after barking and howling.
2. An Ear Infection
An ear infection can also induce gagging and coughing in dogs. Dogs also have linked ears, nose, and throat, so an infection in the ears or nose can make your dog cough.
Ear infections are characterized by pain and discharge from the ears. Take your dog instantly to a vet if you notice these symptoms.
3. Reverse Sneezing
Reverse sneezing or paroxysmal respiration is a medical condition in which your dog rapidly opens and closes his mouth or nostrils. It happens if the soft tissues in your dog’s mouth become inflamed.
The rapid influx of air irritates the respiratory system, making them cough and gag repeatedly. Reverse sneezing lasts for a few seconds to minutes when your dog relaxes. It usually goes away on its own, but it is better to discuss it with your vet to rule out any other disease.
4. Food/Foreign Particles
Dogs eat quickly when hungry, or you serve them their favorite dish. The food may go down in the breathing pipe instead of the food pipe, causing them to cough or gag instantly. Foreign particles like dust, debris, environmental allergens (pollen), cigarette smoke and hair can make your dog cough and gag. Viral and bacterial attacks can also make your dogs cough badly.
5. Canine Influenza
Canine influenza can be fatal for dogs if not treated. It’s a virus with symptoms like cough, gagging, high fever, poor appetite, and lethargy. Dogs catch the influenza virus by direct contact with the infected dogs. Take your dog to a vet right away if you notice these symptoms.
6. Respiratory Problems
Bronchitis and other respiratory disorders can also cause gagging and coughing in dogs. Dogs cannot throw out mucus and phlegm if they have a respiratory infection. You may also notice difficulty in breathing, appetite loss, lethargy, and mood swings.
Some dogs also suffer from asthma. Asthma causes coughing, shallow breathing, and wheezing because it restricts airflow in airways.
A wet and mucous cough may indicate fluid buildup in the lungs. An infection in the fluids can lead to pneumonia, which can get severe if not treated timely. Take your dog to a vet if you notice phlegm in your dog’s cough.
7. Laryngeal Paralysis
It is a disease of the upper airway, common in middle-aged to older, and giant breeds of dogs like Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, and Irish Setters. The disease causes larynx cartilages to not open and close normally, resulting in coughing, gagging, and breathing problems.
8. Kennel Cough
Excessive coughing and gagging may be a symptom of Kennel cough in dogs. Kennel cough dries the vocal cords and leads to difficulty in breathing. Your dog may catch Kennel cough from infected dogs and cats. You must take your dog to a vet if you suspect these symptoms.
9. Heart Diseases
Some heart diseases can make dogs cough. You may also notice shortness of breath, fatigue, collapse, and pale or blue gums if your dog suffers from heart disease. Take your dog to a vet immediately if you notice these symptoms.
10. Tracheal Collapse
Smaller breeds are prone to tracheal collapse, characterized by the weakening of cartilage holding the trachea. The airway size narrows, and it forces excessive and severe coughing.
Your dog may gag if experiencing gastrointestinal reflux, bloating, or gas. It can happen due to a wrong diet, stress, or boredom.
Read more: Why Does My Dog Sneeze Before Barking?
Coughing/Gagging Treatment for Dogs
You must take your dog to a vet immediately if the coughing or gagging persists for more than 5 days. The vet will examine him and may require an X-ray, blood, or other tests to diagnose the problem. The medication and treatment plan varies based on the reason behind coughing and gagging.
Immediate Treatment: Examine your dog’s throat to check if something is stuck or if he has eaten something that may cause coughing. Give your dog something to eat that gives him comfort and reduces friction in the throat.
Home Care: Take care of your dog when he is ill and recovering. Make him comfortable and remove disturbances. You can use a humidifier (if the vet recommends it) to increase moisture in the air to soothe dryness in the throat. Relax their collar to give them more space to breathe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between coughing and gagging?
Coughing and gagging may look similar, but they aren’t. A cough is like a hacking noise when your dog forces air out of the throat and mouth. Gagging is a retch similar to vomiting but without anything coming out. Dogs may cough and gag separately, simultaneously, after or without barking.
Can a dog fake cough?
Your pet dog is like a child to you. To get your attention and to make you realize that they are ill, they fake cough sometimes.
Is dog gagging a serious issue?
Dog gagging is a common condition. Although gagging is not a serious issue in dogs, it can be problematic if your dog becomes unresponsive and loses its appetite after gagging. You must take your dog to a veterinarian if the condition prevails for more than 2-3 days.