Coughing after drinking water is a regular occurrence among the canine population, and more often than not, there is no cause for alarm. It is possible that the liquid went the wrong way, or your pooch supped some mild irritant from its water bowl, which triggered the dog’s cough reflex. However, if your dog is a puppy, belongs to the brachycephalic breed, or has a short muzzle, you may need to be concerned if it frequently coughs after ingesting water. Continue reading to get the full details.
Your Dog Is Just Gagging
Veterinarians all over the globe have entertained complaints like ‘my dog coughs after drinking water’, ‘my dog throws up after drinking water’, or ‘my dog chokes on water’. However, if your complaint is a case of your dog gagging after drinking water, then chances might be that the canine’s cough reflexes must have been triggered.
This is an automatic reaction whenever anything passes the epiglottis – it is just a natural way that the body uses to protect the lungs. An immediate contraction of the muscles will result in a cough, causing the affected dog to cough out the offending substance. If it becomes a frequent occurrence, it might be necessary to train your dog on how to take things easy.
Dogs that are easily excited tend to gulp down their food and water like it may be their last meal. The speed at which this food hits the internal system gives rise to the frequent coughs. To reduce the chances of this happening, get your furbuddy to calm down first before presenting food.
Debris or Water in the Dog’s Windpipe
When your pup coughs after lapping up some water, your initial thinking will be that something went down the wrong way – this is the most benign culprit, of course. However, a canine’s throat is quite complex as the trachea is the major component which consists of cartilage rings, muscle, and connective tissue. What’s more, the trachea takes care of both eating and breathing for the dogs.
When it is just to breath, a dog’s trachea takes responsibility for guiding the air into and out from the lungs, and through the mouth and nose. Conversely, when a dog ingests food, the epiglottis – a little flap of tissue – opens up in the track to create a passageway to the dog’s digestive system. It is thanks to this tiny flap of tissue that food and water particles do not get into a dog’s lungs. Likewise, with humans, when we gulp down water at high speed, some will go down the wrong way. It is the same with dogs.
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Your Dog Could be Reverse Sneezing
Technically speaking, a reverse sneeze is not a cough. However, pet parents often mistake it for coughs. The sound is akin to a snorting fit and happens as your pooch’s larynx spasms and also pushes out air. However, rapid drinking or eating is the culprit here.
Reverse sneezing is among the common actions exhibited by canines, and even when it occurs frequently, and in quick succession, it shouldn’t cause any worries. What’s more, brachycephalic breeds such as the bulldogs and pugs are more susceptible to this condition. Furthermore, it’s best not to make assumptions with any of these short-muzzled breeds of dogs, as many of them carry medical issues that other pups do not. Note that when reverse sneezing occurs in a brachycephalic breed, it could be signaling a respiratory problem like trachea collapse, or even some degenerative conditions. No doubt, a vet should be consulted for the right diagnosis.
Your Dog Has Kennel Cough
Infection in a pup’s bronchial tree and trachea is one cogent reason a dog would cough after drinking some water – this is also called canine tracheobronchitis. This ailment is one of the highly infectious diseases among the canines; dogs can easily contract it from each other, or from surfaces and items that an infected pup has been exposed to.
The name kennel cough is very apt for the condition because it is widespread among kennel dogs and is also common among dogs living together in large cages. Bordetella bronchiseptica is the major causative bacterium, but Parainfluenza virus is the chief viral agent. However, canine coronavirus might also be responsible for less than ten percent of these health issues.
Talking about the manifestations, kennel cough comes with similar symptoms as tracheal collapse; with the key one being a cough that sounds like a honking goose. Pet parents who run a multi-pet household should immediately isolate any dog diagnosed with kennel cough – the sick pup should have its own drinking station and should equally do every other thing away from the other pets to prevent them from getting infected. You can also help such an ailing dog with a dog water bottle to ensure that it is always hydrated.
Also, once a dog with kennel cough ingests water, there will be a resulting irritation or inflammation of the pup’s tracheobronchial tree. As the water goes down its throat, it is likely to apply more pressure on the windpipe that is already-hypersensitive. Under normal situations, a dog that does not have inflammation will swallow water without coughing, but the swelling in an ailing dog’s windpipe will make the ordinary act of gulping down water to put pressure on the windpipe adjacent. Having said that, dogs that suffer from tracheobronchitis may also cough after ingesting food.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are several risks associated with kennel cough. Once the cough becomes severe in a pup, it can be succeeded by pneumonia – this reduces the chances of recovery, and in extreme cases, it can lead to death. Also, when you fail to treat severe kennel cough, it will never abate on its own; rather, it will continue to aggravate, causing more discomfort for the ailing dog. It doesn’t take time to result in something much more serious and consequently, death.
As for treatment, kennel cough can be controlled with antibiotics, which prevents other secondary infections, while it calms the symptoms. Your vet may prescribe azithromycin for serious cases; however, mild cases may not call for any treatment, as the symptoms are likely to resolve without medication. More importantly, when you observe that your furry friend still has a good appetite and is not behaving in an abnormal way, medication may not be necessary.
Your Dog Is Experiencing Tracheal Collapse
Dog coughing after drinking water can be a result of tracheal collapse. Though we have seen different types of dogs suffer from this ailment, it is more common among the brachycephalic breeds – they are more susceptible than others. In fact, it is widespread among Pomeranians, Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas, and toy poodles.
What’s more, symptoms to look out for in a dog with tracheal collapse is the honk-like cough which sounds this way because the air struggles to pass through a collapsing trachea as the surrounding muscle and tracheal cartilage rings are gradually weakening. Also, trachea collapse can either be partial or complete and is a severe health complication, which is manageable – cough suppressants and steroids can suffice as treatment options.
However, some home remedies like the right diet and controlling the level of daily activities can also work, but this is dependent on the stage of the collapse. The condition can also be completely cured through surgery, where the damaged cartilage rings can be replaced with prosthetics. Only harnesses are recommended for dogs with tracheal collapse, as it is no longer safe for them to wear collars.
It is vital to also note that it is vital for dogs with such conditions to live a restricted life without engaging in regular physical activities, which are exerting. If the dog insists on stressing itself out, it can develop lung or heart condition. This because as time goes on, the heart and lungs suffer more pressure as the airflow is restricted. What’s more, obesity is another risk with canines that have collapsed trachea since the dog will be inactive while suffering from the ailment.
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Your Dog Is Experiencing Hypoplastic Trachea
Canine cough after ingesting water can mean a more serious medical problem, particularly with little puppies. There is this genetic abnormality called hypoplastic trachea. Hypoplastic refers to those rings in the cartilage that are responsible for the shape of the trachea – the word also means underdeveloped. This inherited medical condition will prevent the windpipe from developing to the expected full width and size.
Hypoplastic trachea is also common among puppies from short-muzzled breeds of dogs known as “brachycephalic.” The breeds that are more susceptible to the condition are the English Bulldog, Boston Terrier, and Pug. Additionally, the condition also comes with some symptoms, but it depends on how much the condition has narrowed the puppy’s airways. Furthermore, as they grow older, these pups are expected to snort, snore, or resort to heavy breathing.
Furthermore, puppies with the condition will start manifesting symptoms between five to six months. In addition, flat-faced puppies will exhibit symptoms like low energy, accompanied by rapid weight gain as a result of inactivity.
Hypoplastic trachea can be mild where there is no substantial effect on the trachea’s diameter – a dog may live with this undiagnosed and completely unnoticed. In several canines, one of the manifestations of brachycephalic airway syndrome can be narrow trachea – here, the shortened length of the pup’s skull engenders other cranial deformities, like smaller nostrils, further restricting a pup’s oxygen intake.