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NancyH, Dog Expert:Rescue, Train,Breed,Care
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 31958
Experience:  30+ yrs dog home vet care & nursing, rescue, behavior&training, responsible show breeding, genetics
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WHY Does My Dog Strangle/Choke When He Drinks Water

Resolved Question:

My 13 yr. old Scottie Dog has started to choke after he drinks water. He sounds like he is having an asthma attack, kind of wheezes and coughs, until he coughs some water back up. He does not choke or cough when he eats, only when he drinks water, and not every time he drinks water. My question is, why? Is it because he is old, and his esophegus muscle is not strong any more, and it is allowing a small amount of water to go down the wrong way and it makes him choke? Is this dangerous, should I take him to the vet? Once he coughs a little water up, he is fine and goes on about his business....I just don't want him to be suffering or drowning....he does not seem to be in distress except when drinking, and not everytime he drinks.
Thank you very much.   
Submitted: 12 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  NancyH replied 12 years ago.
I think you have a good idea of what is going on with your dog. It could also be the dog's stomach valve isn't closing as fully as it should and the water leaks back up like a reflux.
Yes I would discuss it with the vet - maybe when you are due for an annual visit if that is soon.
Or you could bring him in for a geriatric work up and ask then. You can catch all kinds of problems early on with a geriatric work up and give your dog some extra time by treating any problems early on.
In the meantime you could try putting your water bowl slightly higher up than on the floor to see if this helps him. You can just give it a try with a box under it maybe 2-4 inches high (or higher if he is a taller dog) and see if fixing it so he doesn't have to bend quite as far for a drink helps him out with swallowing the water and keeping it down.
A hole in the box to keep the dish steady can help you avoid spills.
Thats a 'management' idea to try to help the dog but even if it works I think a change like this is worth discussing with your vet.
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