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Why is My Dog Gagging and Coughing, and What Should I Do About It?


Dear VetBabble,

I’m concerned because my dog has been gagging, but it seems more like coughing. What could be causing this and what should I do? Are there any other symptoms I should look for? I’m worried that it might be something serious. Thanks for your help!

Understanding Your Dog’s Gagging and Coughing

Firstly, thank you for reaching out to us with your concerns. It’s great to see pet owners being proactive about their dog’s health. Gagging and coughing in dogs can be caused by various reasons, some of which may be serious. In this article, we will discuss some possible causes of your dog’s gagging and coughing, what other symptoms you should look out for, and when it’s time to consult a veterinarian.

Possible Causes of Gagging and Coughing in Dogs

Coughing in dogs can be caused by a range of issues, including respiratory infections, heart problems, choking, and worms. Sometimes, coughing can also be an indication of a more serious condition known as Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) or bloat. It’s important to observe any accompanying symptoms, which could help identify the underlying issue.

Additional Symptoms to Monitor

If your dog is not only gagging but also experiencing other symptoms, it’s crucial to closely monitor their condition. Some symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Vomiting: If your dog is producing vomit after gagging, it may indicate a problem with their digestive system. Be sure to check our article on Vomiting in Dogs: Causes, Treatment & When to Worry for more information on what could be causing this issue.
  • Swollen Abdomen: A swollen abdomen is a possible sign of bloat, especially if your dog is also experiencing difficulty breathing and excessive drooling. This can be a life-threatening situation and needs to be addressed immediately.
  • Diarrhea: If your dog is having diarrhea, it could be related to their digestive system, an infection, or a more serious issue. Our article on Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea? provides helpful information on identifying the cause and treating this common issue in dogs.
  • Weight loss, lethargy, or changes in appetite: These symptoms may indicate a more serious health issue, especially if they persist. It’s important to consult your veterinarian if your dog exhibits these signs alongside gagging and coughing.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pet’s health. If your dog’s gagging and coughing persist or worsen, or if your dog is exhibiting additional concerning symptoms, it’s vital to consult your local or emergency veterinarian. They can provide guidance on how to proceed, conduct a thorough examination, and determine the appropriate course of treatment to ensure the best possible outcome for your pet.

In conclusion, monitoring your dog’s condition and being attentive to any additional symptoms is essential in determining the possible causes of their gagging and coughing. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a veterinarian if you are concerned about your dog’s health.

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