Dog Barking Medical Aspects
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Why Does My Dog Cough And Gag After Barking?[9 Possible Reasons]

Coughing and gagging in a dog after barking might simply be due to excitement or a minor irritation, and it might not be a cause for immediate concern. However, if this behavior continues or is accompanied by other symptoms, it could indicate an underlying health issue, such as a kennel cough or a respiratory problem. In that case, it’s wise to consult a veterinarian to rule out serious conditions.

Does My Dog Cough

9 Common Reasons Dogs Cough and Gag after Barking

Kennel Cough

This is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can cause coughing and gagging. It sounds like a goose honk and is more pronounced after barking or excitement. For example, a dog recently at a boarding facility might pick up this infection and show symptoms.

Kennel Cough

Collar Irritation

A tight or improperly fitted collar can cause physical irritation to the throat, leading to coughing after barking. For instance, if a dog pulls on the leash and the collar presses on the trachea, it might cause discomfort and coughing.


Allergies to pollen, dust, or other environmental factors can irritate the dog’s throat, leading to coughing and gagging after barking. For example, a dog might be more prone to coughing during spring when pollen counts are high.


Foreign Object

If a dog has inhaled or swallowed a foreign object, it can become lodged in the throat, causing coughing and gagging. A dog chewing on a small toy that accidentally gets stuck could lead to these symptoms.

Heart Disease

In some cases, coughing and gagging might indicate underlying heart disease. This might be observed in older dogs where the enlarged heart presses against the trachea. For example, a senior dog with chronic coughing might need to be evaluated for heart conditions.

Heart Disease

Respiratory Infections

Various bacterial or viral infections can lead to coughing and gagging. An example might be canine influenza, where a dog displaying these symptoms, nasal discharge, and fever might be infected.

Parasitic Infections

Lungworms or other parasites can cause respiratory distress in dogs. For instance, a dog that spends much time outdoors and is not on preventative medication might contract a parasite leading to coughing.

Chronic Bronchitis

This is an inflammation of the airways that leads to persistent coughing. Dogs exposed to second-hand smoke or other irritants might develop this condition. For example, a dog living in a household with a smoker might show these symptoms after barking.

Chronic Bronchitis

Excitement or Anxiety

Some dogs might cough or gag purely out of excitement or anxiety. This is harmless but might be more pronounced in certain breeds or individual dogs. For example, a highly excitable dog might frequently cough after energetic play or barking.

Home Treatment for Dog Coughing and Gagging

Provide Fresh Water: Ensure your dog can access plenty of clean water. Hydration can soothe the throat and alleviate coughing.

Use a Humidifier: If the air in your home is dry, a humidifier can add moisture and ease throat irritation. This can be particularly beneficial if the coughing is due to environmental factors.

Switch to a Harness: If the coughing seems to be related to the collar, try using a harness instead. This can reduce pressure on the trachea and minimize coughing.

Avoid Irritants: If you suspect allergies, keep your dog away from known allergens like smoke, pollen, or strong fragrances. Clean your home regularly to reduce dust and dander.

Offer a Spoonful of Honey: A small amount can soothe a dog’s throat. Offer honey without added sugars or artificial sweeteners, and only in moderation.

Limit Excitement and Exercise Temporarily: If your dog is coughing after intense activity, limiting exercise and excitement for a short period might be helpful to see if the symptoms improve.

Soft Diet: If the coughing seems related to eating, temporarily offering softer foods can ease throat irritation. Wet dog food or soaking dry food in water might be helpful.

Monitor for Other Symptoms: Keep a close eye on your dog for any other signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or nasal discharge. Note these symptoms, as they may be useful if a vet visit becomes necessary.

Avoid Over-the-Counter Medications: Unless explicitly instructed by a veterinarian, avoid giving your dog human cough medicines or other over-the-counter treatments, as they may harm dogs.

When should I see a Vet for my Dog’s Coughing and Gagging?

You should see a vet for your dog’s coughing and gagging if the symptoms persist for more than a week or are accompanied by other signs of illness, such as difficulty breathing, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, or lethargy.

Any sudden onset or severe symptoms should also prompt immediate veterinary attention, as they could indicate a serious underlying condition. Always err on caution and consult a veterinary professional if you’re unsure, as they can provide appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs fake cough?

Dogs cannot fake a cough in the way humans might, but they can have a cough-like sound as part of attention-seeking behavior or due to irritation. It’s essential to differentiate between these and genuine symptoms of an underlying issue.

What is the difference between coughing and gagging?

Coughing is a reflex to clear the airways of mucus, irritants, or foreign substances. Conversely, gagging is a reflex to prevent choking and usually involves an effort to expel something caught in the throat.

Do I need to worry if my dog’s cough lasts more than 2-3 days?

A cough lasting more than 2-3 days should be a concern, especially if accompanied by other symptoms. It’s advisable to consult a veterinarian, as prolonged coughing could indicate an underlying health issue.

How to prevent cough in dogs?

Preventing cough in dogs involves proper care, such as using a well-fitted collar or harness, maintaining good hygiene, keeping up with vaccinations, avoiding known allergens, and administering prescribed parasite preventatives. Regular veterinary check-ups can also help in early detection and prevention.

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