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Terri Riba
Terri Riba, Healthcare Expert
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 31935
Experience:  Expert in canine health and behavior. 20 years of experience with dogs
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My dog is coughing a lot

Resolved Question:

My dog is coughing a lot, what should I do. Coughing sounds like a cat hacking up a hairball. It also sounds like she has chest congestions, you can hear it when she breathes. It seems to occur more when she runs around.

Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Terri Riba replied 9 years ago.

Dear friend,

Dogs get upper respiratory infections, kennel cough and canine influenza Some are so contagious, they can come in on shoes. I will try to cover every possibility.

It can also be kennel cough, a reverse sneeze, an allergy or swallowed non food item.
Excitation does worsen this condition.

Kennel cough will usually resolve on it's own in about three weeks. Sometimes vets do script antibiotics to prevent secondary infections. Doxycyline is the most common one used.

You can also use robitussin to give her relief.

Here is info on Kennel cough:

Her throat my be scratchy I would pick up any dog food.Try a small amount of boiled chicken with all fat drained off, cottage cheese, baby food with no onion, beef, turkey, etc

Add unflavored pedialyte to her water 50/50 to hydrate her and balance her electrolytes.

Put a drop of pancake syrup on her tongue to raise her blood sugar in case she is a bit hypoglycemic. Do not allow her to drink a lot at a time If she throws up water, she can lick ice

She may have any human OTC at scroll down for products and dosages.

Also give her one teaspoon a day of plain yogurt to keep "good" bacteria in her system.

She should see the vet if she gets worse or developes any breathing difficulties.

I hope I have covered every possibility. Please let know if you still have questions and how your baby is doing, I will always be here for both of you.

I hope she feels better very soon.

Very sincerely,


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Terri Riba's Post: She isn't around other dogs to get kennel cough.
Expert:  Terri Riba replied 9 years ago.
It sounds like a reverse sneeze or acid reflux. Please read the links and tell me what you think.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Terri Riba's Post: The collapsed trachea sounds like it could be it but would you see that on an x-ray? My vet did an x-ray on her but they can't find anything wrong with her and of course doesn't cough when she is at the office
Expert:  Terri Riba replied 9 years ago.


In case you cannot read the link, I am printing this out:

"The trachea, also known as the windpipe, is an important structure which connects the throat to the lungs. It is composed of 35- 45 C-shaped rings of cartilage that are joined by muscle and ligaments to create a tube-like structure. It serves the purpose of directing air into the respiratory tract.

When the cartilage rings are flattened from the top to the bottom, the trachea is said to be collapsed. Rapid inhalation of air can cause the trachea to flatten and make it difficult for air to enter the lungs, much like a soda straw being drawn on too vigorously.

Why does it happen?

We do not completely understand how this condition develops. However, we know that these dogs have an abnormality in the chemical makeup of their tracheal rings. The rings loose their stiffness so they are not able to retain their circular shape. We also know that it occurs in certain breeds of dogs, notably Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Toy Poodles, and Yorkshire Terriers. Because of that, it is suspected that there is a genetic factor involved.

What are the signs?
Collapsing trachea or Reverse sneezing

With reverse sneezing the pharynx (back of the throat) goes into spasms. The dog finds it difficult to draw in air through the spasms, so it stands still, stretches out her neck, and thrusts its elbows out (like a bowlegged bulldog) as it honks, wheezes, or snorts. Often eyes open wide. The spasms will stop if she swallows a couple of times.

Close off her nostrils with your fingers so it has to breathe through its mouth for a few seconds. Gently rub its throat. This works for some. Distract it by carrying the dog outside into the fresh air.

Young puppies can reverse sneeze, but the first episode typically occurs in late adolescence. Stay calm and get it to swallow with one of the methods described above. In a few seconds to a minute, it will run off to play. Reverse sneezing is a harmless phenomenon which needs no vet consultation and no medical treatment whatsoever. It is very common in toy breeds.

Other signs, however, will help you distinguish the two conditions: If it makes these sounds when excited or after eating or drinking, or turns her elbows outward and extends its neck and gasps inward with a rhythmic snork! snork! snork!, this is reverse sneezing. If it breathes through the mouth sometimes, or breathes with a raspy sound, or coughs reflexively when you simply rub its throat, it could have a collapsing trachea. If the cough is one or two expulsive outward bursts (forcing air through the trachea to open it), typically with a gag or empty retch at the end, she could have a collapsing trachea.

The most common clinical sign of collapsing trachea is a chronic cough. It is often described as dry and harsh and can become quite pronounced. The term "goose honk" is often used to describe it. Coughing is often worse in the daytime and much less at night. The cough may also begin due to excitement, pressure on the trachea (from a leash), or from drinking water or eating."

Here is the SOURCE:

Try the suggested treatments and let me know if it helps.

Very sincerely,


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