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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20621
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 dog is hacking...especially after barking but this

Customer Question

My dog is hacking...especially after barking but this started 2 days ago. Sometimes a little flem comes up but mostly spells of hacking. Not sure what to do.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Can she keep food and water down?

Are her gums pink or pale/white?

Any change to her breathing rate?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
She can keep food and water down, her gums are not pink, every once in awhile she pants.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Hi again,

Now I am concerned to hear that her gums may not be pink. If they are pale/white, then we need her seen urgently. If you meant she has pigmented/dark gums, then we can roll her eyelid down to look at that for pink and to tell us if she has normal perfusion and oxygen uptake.

That said, since that she only pants on occasion, I suspect her perfusion will be normal. With that aside, when we see sudden onset harsh hacking, we do have a few concerns. First, if she has perhaps irritated her throat (ie eating grass, hard kibble, eating bits of a chew, etc), then this could cause the cough you are hearing. Otherwise, common causes of see coughing include bacterial upper airway infections (ie kennel cough), parainfluenza and bacterial tracheitis. As well, but hopefully less likely with her sudden onset, we can see coughing with lung disease, heart troubles, and associated with some respiratory parasites (ie lungworm, heartworm).

Therefore, with all of this in mind, we do need to monitor her closely. If her signs are mild and since she is otherwise well, you can try her on a mild cough suppressant like glycerin/honey cough syrup (with no drugs in it) or even plain honey. Both can be very soothing to the irritated and tickly throat. Typically we will give a 1-2 milliliter (~1/4-1/2 teaspoon) as needed.

Alternatively, you can try Robitussin DM with her. I would just say to make sure to use this preparation and avoid any similar syrups that may contain 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. Again, these can reduce any possible irritation driving her to hacking. Furthermore, if she has a throat irritation, then soaking her kibble or offering soft foods may also help reduce her signs.

Overall, if her signs are sudden in appearance, then the a bit of throat irritation and our infectious causes would be most likely here . Therefore, you can soothe her throat with the above if her signs are mild. That said, if she doesn't settle within a day or so, then it'd be advisable to have her checked by her vet. They can confirm if a bacterial or viral infection is suspect and can also listen to her lungs and heart to make sure these are not playing a role in her cough. Depending on their findings, they can address infectious cases with antibiotics and advise you if there is anything else suspect for her cough.

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your help.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
She has been borded recently so that is my first concern, however she has had the vaccine for kennel cough.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have robitussin cough for children in my med cabinet...would that be safe to use?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Hi again,

That was likely the source and it may be that she has a milder version since she has some immunity. In regards ***** ***** robitussin you have, can you post the ingredients for me to check? Else we'd need to stick to those I noted since so many other cold meds added in aren't safe for dogs.

Best wishes,

Dr. B

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Active ingredient is Dextromethorphan HBr USP 15mg, inactive ingredients are anhydrous citric acid, art flavor, fd&c red no. 40, glycerin, high fructose corn syrup, propylene sodium benzoate, sodiun chloride, sodium citrate
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Thank you,

That one would be fine to use. :)

Dr. B

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

You are very welcome, my dear.

Dr. B