Understanding Dog Coughs After Drinking Water: Causes and Solutions

dog coughs after drinking water

Several factors can lead to a dog coughing after consuming water. It’s fairly common for dogs to make gagging and hacking sounds following their drinking.

As pet owners, we do not share in this reality and often wonder if our dog’s coughing is a cause to worry in any way.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the common reasons why dogs cough after drinking water and practical ways to soothe this worrisome habit.

Dog Coughs After Drinking Water: What Does It Sound Like

Dog coughing sounds differently based on the underlying cause. Usually, a dog’s cough after drinking water may sound like gagging or hacking. This happens when the dog’s throat seems blocked. In this situation, you might notice retching, little foam, or water coming out when coughing.

The dog’s cough might be fast and shallow or deep.

However, paying attention to the frequency and kind of sound they make is essential. Your vet would require this information for proper diagnosis.

Common Reason Dogs Cough After Drinking Water

Understanding the underlying reason for your dog coughing after drinking water is the first step to resolving and preventing sundry health issues.

Accidental Water In The Trachea

This is not peculiar to dogs alone. At some point, you must have experience water mistakenly going into an unwelcomed space.

The dog’s throat has two tubes: the windpipe or trachea and the esophagus. The latter is for food and water intake, while the dog’s windpipe is part of the respiratory tract.

When a dog laps water, the trachea is covered by a small flap called the epiglottis to prevent water from getting in there. If this take-turn system fails, water gets into the trachea. This lead to a cough reflex. So, your dog starts coughing after drinking water.

Tracheal Issues

A dog’s trachea features c-shaped cartilage rings overlapping one another. For many dogs, the muscular side of the trachea tends to suck in, leading to tiny openings causing air to leak in. This misshapen is called tracheal collapse.

Dogs suffering from hypoplastic or collapsed trachea cough more frequently when they get too excited. Also, they might experience difficulty breathing during intense physical activity.

This condition occurs mainly in senior dogs. Sometimes, collapsing trachea is due to some dogs being born with a hypoplastic trachea. Also, brachycephalic breeds are more prone to hypoplastic trachea.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, or canine tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It’s one of the common reasons dogs cough after drinking water. It primarily affects domesticated dogs.

Simply put, kennel cough is a canine version of the common cold we experience.

Dogs diagnosed with kennel cough tend to experience loss of appetite and runny nose. Infected dogs are much more likely to have spent lots of time in confined spaces with kennel dogs.

So, it’s common for shelter dogs to come home with kennel cough. Also, your dog can be affected by mere interaction with infected pups or contaminated spots in a dog park.

Reverse Sneezing

Short-muzzled breeds are more susceptible to reverse sneezing. So, coughing after drinking water is more common, as they rather suck in the air than blow it out through their nose.

Most dog parents tend to be worried about reverse sneezing. There’s no linked adverse effect of your dog’s reverse sneezing. The symptoms of reverse sneezing might falsely indicate your dog is experiencing tracheal collapse. That’s because collapsed trachea and

Dog Coughing After Drinking Water: What to do

It’s normal for your dog to cough after drinking water if they have mistakenly inhaled water. However, if you find it bothersome, here are some tricks to help attenuate the cough.

Train your pet

Generally, dog drinking water too fast is the primary reason for coughs. So, obstructing their water supply ensures your dog drinks water slowly. Also, you can purchase a specialized slow feeder from your local pet store.

Quarantining sick animals

If you have more than one pet, it’s essential to quarantine infected ones. This prevents contagious illnesses like kennel coughs from affecting other dogs. It would be best to keep them separated from other dogs for two weeks or more.

Visit your dog’s vet.

If your dog’s breathing remains abnormal and remains that way for days, it’s best to visit a veterinarian immediately.

If your dog cough after drinking water, it might be the norm. However, if ignored for too long, primary causes like hypoplastic trachea or kennel cough can lead to severe medical conditions.

Your vet might recommend cough suppressants to help relieve your dog from coughing.

Related FAQs

What dog breeds are known for frequently coughing?

Brachycephalic breeds are most likely to cough when they drink water. Boston terriers, Pugs, and Bulldogs are prone to a sudden contraction of the airway muscles, causing cough reflexes when gulping water down.

What do I do if water makes it to my dog’s lungs?

It’s crucial to take your dog immediately to the vet once you notice water in your pet’s lungs. Water in your dog’s airways is severe and demands prompt medical care.

Can dog parents confuse a cough with a reverse sneeze?

Yes, sometimes dog parents may confuse a cough with a reverse sneeze. A reverse sneeze is a reflex action that can sound similar to a cough but is caused by an irritation in the dog’s air tract. A loud, honking sound often characterizes it.

Can a hoarse cough indicate a problem with my dog’s health?

A hoarse cough can indicate an underlying problem with a dog’s health. It is recommended to consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

Can an inflamed trachea be a reason for a dog coughing after drinking water?

An inflamed trachea can potentially cause coughing in dogs, but it is not a common reason specifically related to drinking water.

Can drinking water affect a dog’s airway?

In some cases, drinking water quickly or in large quantities can cause a dog to cough. When a dog gulps water, it may irritate the airway, leading to coughing episodes.

Can muscle spasms contribute to coughing after drinking in dogs?

Muscle spasms can potentially contribute to coughing after drinking in dogs, although it is not as common as other factors such as pressure on the cartilage rings in the airway.


It’s normal for your dog to cough after gulping water. In some situations, this can signal impending health issues that require medical attention asap.

For most pet owners with more than one dog, it’s paramount to isolate infected pup to avoid the spread of respiratory diseases like kennel coughs that triggers cough reflex.

Most cough episodes don’t last. But if your pet can’t stop coughing, it’s better to seek vet care immediately.


    1. Hi Jimmy, If your dog is experiencing coughing and vomiting after drinking water, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian promptly. These symptoms could indicate various underlying issues, from minor irritations to more severe health concerns. A vet can perform a thorough examination, diagnose the problem accurately, and recommend the appropriate treatment or dietary adjustments to help your dog feel better. Your dog’s health and well-being should always be the top priority. – Bulldogology Blog Team

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