Old Dog Coughing and Gagging? Discover Effective Remedies Now!

old dog coughing and gagging

When an old dog starts coughing and gagging, it can cause concern for pet owners. These symptoms could suggest the presence of health issues, ranging from mild to possibly serious conditions.

This article will explore the various causes of an older dog coughing and gagging in other dogs, including allergy medications, allergic cough, reverse sneezing, and more serious illnesses.

Pet owners can seek timely veterinary care and appropriate treatment for their furry companions by understanding the potential reasons behind these symptoms.

Common Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Coughing and gagging in older dogs are often associated with respiratory infections, allergies, heart disease, and kennel cough. Respiratory infections like bronchitis or pneumonia can lead to a persistent cough.

Allergies, including environmental or food allergies, can cause throat irritation and cause senior dog coughing.

A dog’s throat is a sensitive area. Kennel cough, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, in a coughing dog is a highly contagious respiratory condition commonly seen in dogs.

Understanding the symptoms, such as a dry or hacking cough, and seeking proper treatment, including antibiotics or cough suppressants, can help alleviate discomfort and prevent further complications.

Major Reasons That Cause Old Dogs to Cough or Gag

Older dogs cough persistently particularly because of heart disease or dog flu.

Congestive heart failure or fungal infections can lead to fluid buildup in the lungs, causing coughing and difficulty breathing in multiple dog breeds.

Identifying the symptoms, such as the dog’s cough worsening at night or during exercise, trouble breathing, and working closely with a veterinarian to manage heart disease can significantly improve the dog’s quality of life.

Treatment options may include medications to improve heart function and diuretics to reduce fluid accumulation in the dog’s heart.

This might be even worse in obese dogs.

Minor Reasons

In addition to major causes, there are several minor factors and other symptoms that can contribute to coughing and gagging in older dogs.

Chronic coughs, and respiratory irritants, such as smoke, dust, or strong odors, can trigger coughing episodes. Acid reflux, similar to its occurrence in humans, can cause irritation in the throat, leading to coughing.

Collapsed Trachea, a condition commonly seen in small breed dogs, can result in a honking cough.

Identifying and addressing these minor factors, such as avoiding irritants or using medications to manage acid reflux, can help alleviate symptoms and improve the dog’s comfort.

Various Types of Dog Coughs

Not all coughs in dogs are the same, and understanding the different types can provide valuable insights into the underlying cause.

Dry coughs are often associated with respiratory infections or allergies, while moist coughs can indicate conditions such as pneumonia or congestive heart failure. Honking coughs are commonly seen in dogs with tracheal collapse.

By observing the characteristics of the cough, such as its sound, duration, and accompanying symptoms, veterinarians can make a more accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment.

Heart Cough

Heart-related coughing in dogs is a specific type of cough associated with heart disease, particularly congestive heart failure. It is characterized by a deep, harsh cough that may worsen during periods of activity or excitement.

This cough is caused by the accumulation of fluid in the lungs due to the heart’s reduced pumping efficiency.

Timely recognition of a heart cough is crucial, as it can signify the need for adjustments in heart disease management, such as medication dosage changes or additional diagnostic tests to evaluate heart function.

Cancerous Tumors

While relatively rare, cancerous tumors can manifest as coughing and gagging in older dogs. Tumors in the respiratory system, such as the lungs or throat, can cause irritation and lead to coughing.

Other symptoms may include weight loss, decreased appetite, or difficulty breathing. Early detection through regular veterinary check-ups and diagnostic procedures, such as X-rays or biopsies, is essential for timely diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment options for cancer in dogs may include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, depending on the specific type and location of the tumor.

More About Your Senior Dog’s Coughing

Understanding why senior dogs experience coughing is essential for providing appropriate care.

Factors such as weakened immune systems, respiratory disorders, and environmental triggers like dog parks can contribute to persistent coughing in older dogs.

Here’s a 411 on dog’s cough that you should definitely check out.

By recognizing these underlying causes, dog owners can take informed steps to address their coughing and gagging furry family members’ health.

Laryngeal paralysis

Laryngeal paralysis, a common condition in older dogs, occurs when the muscles controlling the larynx become weak or paralyzed.

This leads to coughing and gagging, as the airway becomes compromised.

Understanding this condition will empower dog owners to make informed decisions in consultation with their veterinarians to alleviate their older dog’s discomfort.

Collapsing Trachea

Collapsing trachea is a condition commonly seen in older dogs, characterized by the weakening of the cartilage rings in the trachea, leading to a narrowed airway.

It can cause coughing, wheezing, and breathing difficulties, especially during exercise or excitement. Factors like genetic predisposition and environmental irritants can contribute to its development.

Management often involves weight management, avoiding irritants like smoke or chemicals, and using cough suppressants or bronchodilators as prescribed by a veterinarian.

Heart disease

Heart disease in dogs can manifest as a range of conditions affecting the heart and its ability to pump blood effectively.

Coughing, particularly at night or after exercise, can be a symptom of heart disease. Common causes include age-related changes, heart valve abnormalities, or primary lung cancer.

Treatment may involve medication to manage symptoms, dietary changes, exercise restrictions, and regular monitoring by a veterinarian to optimize the furry family member’s cardiac health.

Canine influenza

Canine influenza is a contagious respiratory infection that affects dogs, including senior dogs.

It spreads easily in environments like dog parks, causing symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and fever.

Prompt veterinary attention is essential to manage the illness, and preventive measures like vaccination and limiting exposure to infected dogs are crucial for protecting our older furry family members.

Chronic bronchitis (COPD)

Chronic bronchitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a progressive respiratory condition that commonly affects older dogs.

It leads to inflammation and narrowing of the airways, resulting in persistent coughing.

Symptoms may worsen over time and can be exacerbated by factors like smoke, dust, and allergens.

Management involves veterinary care, including medications, environmental modifications, and lifestyle adjustments to provide relief and improve the quality of life for our coughing, senior dogs.

Natural Remedies

A sore throat can contribute to coughing and discomfort. To alleviate this, you can offer your furry family member warm or room temperature water to keep their throat hydrated and provide relief.

Additionally, incorporating natural ingredients such as honey, which has soothing properties, can help ease coughing in older dogs.

If your senior dog frequents dog parks or other areas where they may be exposed to potential irritants, consider limiting their exposure.

Avoid places with excessive dust, smoke, or other airborne pollutants that can trigger coughing and respiratory distress.

Certain herbs and supplements can support respiratory health in senior dogs.

For example, herbs like licorice root and marshmallow root possess natural soothing properties and can help alleviate coughing by reducing inflammation in the respiratory tract.

Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can also contribute to overall respiratory well-being in older dogs.

Read more about why your dog keeps coughing here.


In conclusion, addressing coughing and gagging in senior dogs requires understanding the underlying causes and implementing appropriate measures.

While natural remedies can provide relief and support respiratory health, they should complement, not replace, veterinary care.

Regular monitoring, early detection, and timely intervention are crucial to ensure the well-being of older dogs. By combining natural remedies with professional guidance, we can help our furry family members enjoy a better quality of life in their golden years.

FAQs on Old Dog Coughing and Gagging

How Did My Dog Get Kennel Cough At Home?

Your dog could have contracted kennel cough from exposure to other infected dogs, even if they haven’t been to a kennel.

It can spread through close contact, shared toys, or contaminated surfaces, so vigilance is necessary even within the home environment.

What are the symptoms of kennel cough?

Symptoms of kennel cough include a persistent dry cough, gagging, honking sound, nasal discharge, sneezing, and occasionally a mild fever.

It’s important to note that symptoms can vary in severity and may resemble other respiratory conditions, so consulting your veterinarian is advised for proper diagnosis.

When do I need to call the vet if my dog is coughing and gagging?

If your dog is coughing and gagging persistently, it’s essential to contact your veterinarian.

Immediate veterinary attention is recommended if your dog shows signs of respiratory distress, has difficulty breathing, refuses to eat or drink, or if the cough worsens or lasts for an extended period.

When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog’s Cough?

You should be concerned about your dog’s cough if it persists for an extended period, is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, or if your dog shows signs of respiratory distress.

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