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Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 12479
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 17 years.
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My 10 yr old Maltese has been gagging/coghing after drinking

Customer Question

Hello, my 10 yr old Maltese has been gagging/coghing after drinking water, started 5 yrs ago slowly increasing I've had three different Vets during that time due to moving out of the area, and none have paid much attention to that, I always make the same comment during different Dr's visits
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 1 year ago.
Welcome! I am Dr. Altman, a licensed veterinarian and happy to answer your questions today.
I am so sorry to hear Doodles does this with water ingestion. Unfortunately it is a very common problem with little dogs, I have had Chihuahua's for years and about 90% of the time they do the same thing with water ingestion. Not with food but just water.
I think it is great you are already elevating the water bowl and preventing drinking large quantities at once. My suggestion that works for my little dogs is minimizing their water intake by adding water to the dry food right before I feed so it is soupy. For some reason this minimizes the gagging/ coughing episodes significantly because they are not drinking as frequently but simply eating their food with water. I am not entirely sure why this works but it is a routine I have begun with my last Chi and have continued with my two current ones. They drink much less frequently from a water bowl and now primarily with their meals
An alternative is trying a rabbit water where he has to lick the little area to push the ball in and the water comes out in limited quantities at once and his head is truly elevated. The problem with this is literally teaching an old dog a new trick and trying to get him to use the new technique!
Lastly, using ice cubes in a bowel so he has to lick those and will get moisture but also in a limited quantity.
If there is no change then I would advise having neck and chest x-rays done to rule out a tracheal collapse exacerbating his ability to swallow but in most situations it is due to an elongated soft palate that they can push back when eating due to the pressure but have more difficulties with water.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions or anything else I can do for you both today
If you have more questions or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask! If you would like to accept my answer, please press RATE OUR CONVERSATION (I am not compensated in any other way). Bonuses are always welcome. Thanks!
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response . Your words are comforting, I will try the other methods:icecubes and the rabbit water dispenser
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 1 year ago.

Perfect! I wish you luck in getting this to subside!

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you both today!

If you are satisfied with our chat please rate or accept so I may be compensated for my time. Thank you!

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Doodles. How is everything going?
Dr. Altman