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PitRottMommy, Veterinary Nurse
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 13481
Experience:  15 yrs experience in vet med, 8 in emergency med. Founder of a non-profit animal rescue
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I am watching a friends dog and he has not eaten or drank

Customer Question

I am watching a friends dog and he has not eaten or drank water for three days and just started to throw up on the third day. It's yellow. I'm not sure what to do
JA: I'll do all I can to help. The Expert will know if the dog will be able to digest that. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Coby
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Coby?
Customer: He has started a cough like on the second day
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 7 months ago.

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 7 months ago.

Have there been any changes to the diet? New food, including a change of flavors or protein source within the same brand? New treats? Bones? Has any human food been fed? Torn up toys or trash? Stressful changes to the environment? Addition of medication?

Can you share a video of the coughing? If not, does it look and sound like any of these?

Cardiac cough:

Kennel cough:

Collapsing trachea:

Reverse sneezing:

Laryngeal paralysis:

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I guess it sounds more like a kennel cough. After he threw up this morning I took a syringe like thing and put solme water in it. He did good with the water and didn't cough anymore after that. But I noticed the cough more when he comes in from outside. Yes the environment changed because his owners are away. So I though it was just missing them.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 7 months ago.

I would try to make contact with them to see if they wish for Coby to go to a vet's office for treatment or if they want you to try treatment at home. The fact that he's not eating or drinking and is now coughing is very concerning. Pneumonia can develop from kennel cough.

If you must address this from home,

I can give you some steps to take at home to help your companion’s stomach feel better. However, if you do not see a marked improvement from your pet or you see worsening of symptoms, they absolutely must be examined by a veterinarian. If you need help finding a location that can see your pet (even just to keep on hand), I can help. I’ll need you to provide your location as the website does not give us this.

It often helps to give medication to calm the stomach and a bland diet with higher fiber a few hours later once the medication has been given time to work. This can help to reduce the instance of nausea/vomiting, restore/improve the appetite, avoid or address changes in the stool, help to move ingested items through the GI tract, etc.

The first step is to administer a dose of regular pepcid (famotidine) every 12-24 hours. This should help with GI symptoms. You will want to give 0.5mg/pound of body weight (a 10# ***** would receive 5mg, a 5# ***** would receive 2.5mg, etc). For this, you can visit any human pharmacy and buy the OTC brand name Pepcid, or you can use the cheaper, off-brand “famotidine” that’s available. Either will be useful. If your companion is avoiding taking medication, you will likely need to using a pilling technique like this one: (this video is of a dog as it shows the finer details of how to complete the action, this method can be used in dogs, cats and other mammals needing oral medications). [Note: once symptoms have resolved for at least 48 hours, discontinue the famotidine.]

2 hours following a dose of famotidine, the time needed for the medication to begin working, you can offer a bland diet. To make the bland diet, you’ll combine white or brown rice, boneless, skinless chicken breast and sufficient water for cooking in a stock pot (note: if your companion is allergic to chicken you can use a protein source they can have such as ground turkey, a filet of salmon, etc). Boil on medium until it turns to mush and the breast is easily flaked. To avoid nausea, start with small amounts to begin with and offer the amount every 2-4 hours. A few teaspoons to start is typically sufficient and you can work your way up every 2-4 hours in incremental increases until you’re sure no vomiting will be seen. If your companion requires a more palatable food, try adding in pureed baby food in chicken, turkey and similar flavors. Avoid those that contain onion or garlic in the ingredient panel. Work up to feeding exclusively until at least 3 days following the resolution of symptoms. After this, work on slowly switching back to the regular food that your companion typically eats over 10 days. My recommendation is a 10% switch every day. Day 1: 10% new food, 90% old food; Day 2: 20% new food, 80% old food; Day 3: 30% new food, 70% old food, etc. This slow switch process should minimize any risk of GI upset from changing food.

Once he's eating and drinking, then you can move on to addressing the coughing. Most kennel cough cases are viral, but secondary bacterial bronchopneumonia can develop and become a major health hazard for dogs. In some more severe cases, hospitalization may be needed. I would recommend an exam and having your vet start your companion on antibiotics to prevent more problems in the near future. As far as calming the coughing, for the time being you can use robitussin at the following dosage: Every vet has a different kennel cough treatment protocol and may ask you to either continue or discontinue the robitussin once examined.

I hope this information has been helpful. I will be standing by if you have other questions. Let me know if I can help further. Also, before signing off today, please take the time to use the star rating system at the top of the page to leave a rating for me (bottom of the page if using the app). A 5-star rating is appreciated as top-notch answers are my focus. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply so that I may help until you’ve received the assistance you need. Until you issue a rating, the website will not compensate me for helping you. You will still be able to chat with me even after issuing a rating at no further charge on this thread.

I will also check in with you over the next few days to be sure you don’t need any additional assistance. If you would like to request me in the future for pet-related questions, you can do so by accessing this page:

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 7 months ago.

Checking in, JACustomer. How is Coby doing today?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
He is fine. His owner said he does that ever since they rescued him and has taken him to doctors and nothing is wrong with him. Could be nerve, anxiety or happy
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 7 months ago.

Are they referring to the coughing or the vomiting?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 7 months ago.

I would disagree that happiness would cause both coughing and vomiting. This is a concerning symptom, especially if it's ongoing for a prolonged period of time while the owner is away. I hope they will be returning soon as progressive vomiting for a longer period of time could lead to a wide variety of medical concerns from esophageal ulceration/erosion to emaciation. I would encourage your friend to talk to their vet about preventive care if this happens every time they go somewhere. A course of antibiotics, probiotics and a bland diet started a few days before they leave and continued through their absence could prevent this from not only happening but potentially worsening under the care taker's watchful eye. It's also unfortunate that they didn't mention this to you before leaving since he has a history of this.