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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20927
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My golden retriever is make a sound like hacking, like he is

Customer Question

My golden retriever is make a sound like hacking, like he is trying to throw up but nothing comes out. What is this?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I am afraid that the expert you have requested is not currently available. Still I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
How long has this been going on?
Is it more a retch, gag, or cough?
Is he eating and drinking? Can he at least keep water down?
Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?
If you press on his belly, does he have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing? Does he look bloated?
Could he have eaten something he should not have (ie bones, toys, rocks, plants, chemicals, etc)?
Has he had any diarrhea?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Its been going on for a few weeks. A few times per day. Last night he just keep doing it for an hour or so, about 2 to 3 minutes apart. He is eating and drinking fine and he keep all of this down. His gums are pink and moist. I don't think is was something he has eaten like a plant, toy or something. He does not have diarrhea.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you,
I am glad to hear that his gums are pink and that he has no bloating or other GI signs. If he he hacking, then we have a few considerations. This can be related to GI upset (where the retching is related to nausea) but this sounds less likely here. Otherwise, I would be concerned that your lad's signs are related to issues of the throat and airway. When these tissues are irritated it can cause coughing, hacking and throat clearing.
In regards ***** ***** for this, further to having eaten something odd, it can be secondary to viral or bacterial tracheitis, esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus), parasites (lungworm, heart worm), lung infections, kennel cough, parainfluenza, bronchitis, allergic lung disease, and even with mechanical irritation to the throat.
Now if his signs have been mild but are now progressing, we do want to tread with care. I will outline some supportive care to soothe his throat but if he continues to hack, then we'd have to be wary of something more serious then throat based irriations and would want this checked by his vet. Still, to start you can try to soothe his throat and try to reduce this coughing and retching. First, you can try him with plain over the counter glycerin/honey cough syrup (with no drugs in it). Typically we will give a milliliter (~1/4 teaspoon) as needed. This will aid to soothe his throat and settle any upper airway related coughing. Alternatively, you can try Robitussin DM. If you choose to use this one, I would just say to make sure to use this preparation and avoid any containing other medications like Paracetamol, Acetaminophen, Pseudoephedrine, Phenylephrine or caffeine (since these can be toxic). If it also contains Guaifenesin that is okay. Dose-wise, we tend to give this as 1/2 (half) teaspoon per 10lbs of the dog's body weight every 8-12 hours. These will help soothe throat irritation and can help at least decrease the hacking, retching, and throat irritation.
Overall these signs do raise a few concerns for your lad. If he has been otherwise well but this is not becoming more of a bother, we do have to be wary of infectious agents or inflammation of his upper and lower airway. Therefore, do try the above to give his throat some relief, but it would be prudent to follow up with his vet for a check-up if this is lingering. The can listen to his chest and help you pinpoint the cause of his cough. That way you can ensure that you are able to treat his hacking effectively and settle it for him.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He has not hacked at all since about 2:00AM this morning. He seems just fine. We will see how he does tonight, and advise.Thank you,
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
You are very welcome, Jeff.
I am glad to hear that his hacking is on the decline. So, do keep an eye and use the above if you hear any more hacking.
All the best,
Dr. B.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

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