Why Dog Coughs And Gags After Barking?

Why Dog Coughs And Gags After Barking?

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Ever wondered why your dog coughs and gags after barking? It’s a common concern for pet owners. In this exploration, we uncover the reasons behind this phenomenon. Drawing insights from experts and real-life experiences, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of what causes these symptoms and how to address them.


Gagging vs. Coughing Understanding the Distinction

In order to properly diagnose their canine companions, owners must be able to tell the difference between a cough and a gag.


Coughing: When a dog coughs, it makes a hacking sound as it forcibly expels air from its throat and mouth. Caused by a number of things, including respiratory issues, infections, or irritation of the throat, it usually comes with an audible accompaniment.


Gagging: While vomiting involves the expulsion of material from the mouth, gagging in dogs looks like a retching or heaving motion. It usually indicates an unconscious effort to clear the airway or throat. Sometimes after gagging, a small amount of mucus or phlegm will come out. Several factors, including the presence of a foreign object or irritation to the dog’s throat, can cause the dog to gag.


Dogs Can Experience Both: Both symptoms can occur separately in some dogs, while in others they occur together. A dog, for instance, may cough, irritate its throat, and then gag as a result of the coughing. You can get to the bottom of your dog’s distress by keeping these distinctions in mind.


Common Reasons Why Dog Coughs And Gags After Barking?


Coughing and gagging in dogs can raise concerns among pet owners. To address these issues effectively, it’s crucial to delve into the specific reasons behind these behaviors. Here, we will explore the common factors that can lead to coughing and gagging in dogs, offering insights into each cause:


Dry Throat After Barking

Excessive barking, often triggered by excitement or stimuli, can result in a dry throat for dogs. This condition arises due to the repetitive expulsion of air from the throat and mouth during extended barking sessions.


Importantly, it’s worth noting that a dry throat, in most instances, is a transient discomfort that typically resolves on its own without necessitating intervention.


Respiratory and Ear Infections

Infections that affect the ears, nose, or respiratory tract can be underlying factors behind coughing and gagging in dogs. These infections may inflict discomfort, leading to irritation in the throat and airways.


Recognizing the telltale symptoms of infections, such as pain, discharge, or alterations in behavior, is pivotal. Timely veterinary attention is paramount for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of these infections.


Reverse Sneezing

Reverse sneezing, also known as paroxysmal respiration, presents an intriguing scenario where dogs swiftly open and close their mouths or nostrils. This phenomenon is attributed to inflammation of the soft tissues within the dog’s mouth.


While reverse sneezing is generally brief and harmless, it’s prudent to consult a veterinarian. This step helps rule out other potential health concerns, particularly if the episodes become recurrent or severe.


Ingesting Foreign Objects

Dogs, renowned for their enthusiastic eating habits, may occasionally ingest food too hastily or swallow foreign particles like dust, debris, or environmental allergens such as pollen.


When food or foreign objects mistakenly enter the wrong passage, they can incite coughing or gagging as the dog endeavors to clear the obstructed airway. In many cases, this discomfort is short-lived.


Underlying Health Conditions

Dogs may exhibit coughing and gagging as a result of various underlying health conditions, including:


  1. Canine Influenza: A viral infection that manifests with symptoms like coughing, gagging, high fever, poor appetite, and lethargy. Urgent veterinary attention is imperative if canine influenza is suspected.
  2. Respiratory Problems: Conditions such as bronchitis and asthma can induce coughing and shallow breathing. Dogs with respiratory infections may also experience appetite loss and lethargy.
  3. Heart Diseases: Certain heart conditions can lead to coughing and breathing difficulties. Signs may encompass shortness of breath, fatigue, collapse, and changes in gum color. Swift veterinary care is essential when these symptoms surface.
  4. Laryngeal Paralysis: This upper airway ailment, more prevalent in specific breeds, can result in coughing, gagging, and breathing difficulties.


Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is often seen in smaller breeds, where the cartilage supporting the trachea weakens. This leads to a narrowing of the airway and, subsequently, excessive and severe coughing.



Gastrointestinal issues, such as reflux, bloating, or gas, can lead to gagging in dogs. These issues can arise from dietary factors, stress, or boredom.

Recognizing signs of nausea and addressing the underlying causes, such as adjusting the diet or reducing stressors, can help alleviate discomfort and reduce gagging episodes.


Understanding these detailed reasons for coughing and gagging in dogs is essential for pet owners to respond appropriately to their dog’s needs. If you observe persistent or concerning symptoms, consulting a veterinarian for a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment is strongly recommended to ensure your dog’s health and well-being.


When to Be Concerned About Dog Gagging


Gagging in dogs can be an unsettling sound for pet owners to hear, often prompting concerns about their furry friends’ well-being. Understanding when to be concerned about dog gagging is crucial for responsible pet ownership.


  • Normal Occurrence: It’s essential to recognize that occasional gagging is a normal behavior in dogs. Just like humans may clear their throat or cough occasionally, dogs may also experience this reflex. These isolated instances are usually nothing to be alarmed about. Occasional gagging could occur due to factors like mild irritation or the dog trying to clear its throat after eating or drinking too quickly. In such cases, there’s generally no cause for immediate concern.


  • Monitoring Period: If your dog is otherwise healthy, it’s often recommended to adopt a monitoring period. This approach allows you to observe your dog’s behavior for an extended timeframe, typically spanning 48 to 72 hours. During this monitoring period, pay close attention to the frequency and severity of the gagging episodes. If the dog’s overall demeanor remains normal, and there are no additional distressing symptoms, such as trouble breathing or excessive discomfort, it’s reasonable to continue monitoring.


  • Signs of Distress: The most critical factor in determining when to be concerned about dog gagging is assessing the signs of distress. Dogs communicate through their behavior, and certain signals should not be ignored. If your dog exhibits any of the following signs in conjunction with gagging, it’s time to take their condition seriously and seek veterinary care


  1. Trouble Breathing: Labored or irregular breathing patterns, wheezing, or rapid panting should raise immediate concerns.
  2. Overall Discomfort: Observe your dog for signs of discomfort, restlessness, or unease. If they seem restless, lethargic, or unwilling to engage in their usual activities, it’s a cause for concern.

Respiratory issues in dogs can deteriorate rapidly, so it’s crucial not to delay seeking veterinary assistance when you notice these distressing signs.


Preventive Measures for Dogs That Cough and Gag After Barking

Ensuring your dog’s respiratory health is essential for their overall well-being. Based on the information gathered from the provided articles, here are practical steps to keep your canine companion in top shape:


  1. Responsible Pet Ownership: Responsible pet ownership entails understanding your dog’s needs and behaviors. Provide mental and physical stimulation through play and exercise to reduce stress, a contributing factor to respiratory issues.


  1. Vaccinations and Heartworm Prevention: Keep your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date to prevent infectious diseases like kennel cough, a common cause of gagging. Additionally, invest in heartworm prevention measures to safeguard against heart-related conditions that can lead to coughing and gagging.


  1. Avoid Sick Dogs: Protect your dog by avoiding contact with unvaccinated or visibly ill dogs. Supervise social interactions and choose safe play environments to reduce the risk of contagious diseases.


  1. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Routine check-ups with a veterinarian are crucial for early detection of underlying respiratory issues. Veterinarians can offer guidance on maintaining respiratory health and provide timely intervention when necessary.



How do I differentiate between coughing and gagging in dogs?

A: Coughing in dogs expels air, often with saliva or mucus, while gagging sounds like an attempt to vomit but without stomach contents being expelled.


Can dogs fake cough, and why would they do it?

Yes, dogs may fake cough for various reasons, often seeking attention, comfort, or engagement with their owners.


How common is dog gagging, and when should I be concerned?

Occasional gagging is common, especially after meals. However, persistent gagging with signs of distress, breathing difficulties, or unusual noise during breathing requires prompt veterinary attention.


My dog has been gagging for a few days but seems otherwise fine. Should I worry?

If your dog is bright, alert, and eating normally, monitor for 48-72 hours. If gagging persists, consult a vet, as prolonged issues may need attention. Always prioritize your dog’s well-being.

Although isolated incidents of coughing and gagging may not immediately raise alarms, it is imperative to remain vigilant and attuned to distress signals in our pets.



The causes of these symptoms encompass a spectrum. On one end, there are common infections like kennel cough. On the other end, there are potentially more severe issues such as laryngeal paralysis. In order to decipher the underlying causes, it is invaluable to have the expertise of a veterinarian. Additionally, their timely intervention can bring comfort and enhance your dog’s quality of life.


Not only does responsible pet ownership involve the basics of food and shelter, but it also includes proactive healthcare and swift action when needed. Ensuring your dog’s enduring happiness relies on routine veterinary check-ups and transparent communication about their well-being.


Essentially, when you prioritize your dog’s welfare, you ensure a future filled with joy and companionship. Let’s pledge to be unwavering advocates for our furry friends. In their pursuit of health and happiness, we will ensure their tails keep wagging for years to come.

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