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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 8911
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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My dog keeps coughing like there is something stuck in his

Customer Question

My dog keeps coughing like there is something stuck in his throat and when he tries to bark it activates it
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Coughing can be worrying. The Veterinarian will know what you should do. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Henry- he's a Daniff and he is 14 months old'
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Henry-?
Customer: He was just boarded for ten days
Submitted: 22 days ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 22 days ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern about Henry. I do have a few additional questions to ask about him first if you don't mind:

1. Is he still eating and drinking?

2. How long has he been home from being boarded?

Thanks, Deb

Customer: replied 22 days ago.
he is eating and drinking. He got home on Monday and this started the night before last. Usually when he is outside, he barks at the neighbor dog and when he goes to bark, he acts like he is going to puke and sounds like a cat trying to cough out a hairball or puke. He was boarded for 10 days.
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 22 days ago.

Thanks for the answers to my questions and the additional information. Please give me a few minutes to type back a response to you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 22 days ago.

While there are a number of different reasons why a dog this age might cough, the most common reason, by far, is going to be Kennel Cough (aka Tracheobronchitis) since he was just recently boarded.

The barking that's he doing may exacerbate his coughing which could further irritate his throat but short of walking him on a leash when he's outside, there may not be much you'll be able to do that will prevent him from barking when he's out there.

Kennel cough is either secondary to a viral or bacterial infection and can be contagious between dogs. This is one reason why it's commonly seen where dogs spent a lot of time together such as doggie daycare, boarding or if groomed.

If this condition is secondary to a bacterial infection, then these dogs respond to oral antibiotics pretty quickly.
But if this is a virus , then it will have to run it's course....which is usually between 10-14 days.

Kennel cough tends to worsen before it improves and it typically gradually improves rather than abruptly stopping unless this is a bacterial infection and antibiotics are started.
These dogs also tend to cough more when excited, first thing in the morning or during the winter when they go outside in the cold (or come back inside where it's warm if they've been outdoors).

There is another condition called Canine influenza which mimics kennel cough in the early stages but these dogs rapidly become sick. Since Henry isn't acting terribly ill (aside from the coughing he's doing), I wouldn't expect this particular condition to be a problem but I did want to at least mention it.

Some kennels require Bordatella (kennel cough) vaccines prior to boarding which can reduce the incidence of this condition. But it doesn't 100% prevent it. This vaccine helps protect against the most common cause of Tracheobronchitis but won't be effective against viral causes in case you were wondering.

As to over the counter treatment options, cough suppressants can be given although I'm often hesitant to use them if kennel cough is the problem. I want those secretions removed from the upper airways and I rarely want to inhibit this reflex.
But acceptable ones to use include Dextromethorphan. The dose would be 0.25 to 1 mgs per pound 2-3 times a day. You just want to double check labels and ensure that the formulations only contain this ingredient although inclusion of Guaifensin is fine.
I'll sometimes suggest their use if the patient is coughing so much at night that no one in the household is getting any sleep, though.

I'd also suggest that you feed softer foods such as canned or semi-moist so as not to further irritate the throat with hard kibble. Alternatively, you can soak kibble in water for 15-20 minutes which will soften it up quite a bit.

If he develops other symptoms such as lethargy or disinterest in food or a yellow/green nasal discharge, then a vet visit may be prudent. Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with continuing to monitor him and wait for the condition to run its course.

I hope this helps. Deb

Customer: replied 22 days ago.
He did get his bordatello shot the day that he went into the kennel. Also my grandfather fed him a couple of pieces of popcorn, so I was wondering if there could be a kernel in his throat
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 22 days ago.

I generally suggest that the Bordatella vaccine be given at least one week prior to boarding but I understand that this may not be practical for everyone. But as I mentioned, even if it had been given many weeks or months prior to his boarding, he still might have developed kennel cough.

It's not likely that popcorn would be stuck in his throat although I can understand why you might think it would be related. He should be gagging when he eats or pawing at his mouth/throat which he's not doing.

Now if he chews on sticks or rough rawhide or similar objects, I've seen a few dogs cough because the throat is irritated when these things are swallowed. If that's the case, then the problem should resolve if you remove these objects from his environment and feed him the soft food I mentioned. I'd also avoid the popcorn or anything foods which have rougher edges on them.


Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 20 days ago.

Hello again,

I'm just following up on Henry. Is he still coughing? Deb

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 18 days ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Deb