My Dachshund Is Coughing And Gagging – How Bad Is It?

When we occasionally cough because we have something in our throat we know not to freak out. However, when our pets start coughing we often panic as we don’t know what’s causing it. Just as with our coughs, if your pet starts coughing, there are numerous harmless and a few problematic reasons. So, my dachshund is coughing and gagging – how bad is it?

Really, it’s up to your vet to figure that out. We can give you some insight into which are the most probable causes and what their symptoms are but that’s about it. If the coughing and gagging persist, a vet will have to take a look at your dog and its symptoms to figure out exactly what the issues – there are just too many possibilities.

Dachshund Coughing and Gagging – What To Do?

First and foremost, you should refrain from panicking unnecessarily. It’s perfectly normal for a dog to lightly cough from time to time if there’s some mild irritation in its troat. As for the gagging motion dogs often do before or after coughing, those are typically normal as well. They can look like an attempted vomiting but they are typically just your dog clearing its throat after the cough.

Of course, that’s not always the case, hence the need for a veterinary check-up if the behavior persists. So, the standard recommendation is to just observe your dog for a day before you do anything. Some coughs necessitate a vet visit but not all. And since the problem is probably not immediately life-threatening, it’s wise to wait a bit. Don’t wait for more than a day or two, of course – if medical intervention is needed, it’s not a good idea to postpone it for too long.

Possible Causes Of Your Dachshund Coughing and Gagging

So, why is my dog coughing and gagging? There are plenty of possible issues. Before we go over all the symptoms and what you should do, let’s take a look at what kind of problems may be causing the issue.

A cold or the flu. Dogs get their versions of flus and colds and they act very much as they do with us. Usually, you won’t need to do anything unless your dog is Brachycephalic which Doxies aren’t. Still, talking with a vet doesn’t hurt.

A foreign body problem. If you’re thinking “my dog is coughing like something is stuck in his throat” then that might just be the case. This sounds harmless but an object stuck in your dog’s throat can be problematic. Talk with your vet if the cough persists as the object has to be removed.

Other more medically complex problems include:

Or, it could be just an occasional cough due to a mild irritant. That’s why it’s important not to jump up immediately but to wait and see for a while.

Accompanying Symptoms To Watch Out For

As you’re observing your dog, the first thing to note is whether it’s coughing first and gagging later or it’s gagging first and coughing later. Believe it or not, this is important and your vet will likely ask you about it.

You should also keep an eye for vomiting, lethargy, mood swings, appetite changes, distress, trouble breathing, wheezing, and other such symptoms. If none of those are present and the cough passes after a while, chances are that there’s nothing. However, if the cough resumes a day or more later, if it never goes away, or if any of the other symptoms are present – get your dog to the vet.

Accompanying Symptoms To Watch Out For

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What If Your Dog Is Sneezing and Coughing?

You can also encounter a combination of coughing and sneezing. This can similarly be caused by a whole host of milder or more serious problems such as:

  • Airborne irritants
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Play sneezing
  • Allergies
  • Nasal mites
  • Nasal infection
  • A foreign body problem
  • A tumor

What To Do If Your Dachshund Is Coughing and Gagging Continuously?

As we said, your first response should be to wait and observe. The only immediately urgent cause of a cough is a bone or another object stuck in your dog’s throat. If your dog has just eaten bones, that’s a very serious possibility. Alternatively, you should look around for missing toys or small household objects as your dog might have eaten something like that. Pay extra attention to missing kitchen objects or something from the trash.

If nothing seems to be missing and your dog hasn’t eaten any bones, it’s unlikely that the problem is a stuck object. The final tell is the type of coughing/gagging – if your dog is gagging more than it is coughing, a stuck object is likely. However, if it’s mostly coughing and just gagging a bit at the end of each cough – it’s probably not a stuck object. In that case, the problem isn’t immediate and you should wait a bit to see what happens.

When Exactly Should You Go To The Vet?

Some say after 12 hours, others – after 24 to 36 hours, and others – 72 hours after the cough has started. There really isn’t an ideal timeframe as the many possible problems are different. Our recommendation would be to get a few videos of your dog coughing in those first 12 to 24 hours. Then, just call your vet and send them the recordings.

An experienced veterinarian – especially if they know the dog and have been treating it for a while – should be able to tell you from a recording how urgent the problem is. Of course, they won’t (shouldn’t) be able to give you a final diagnosis on the phone but they will tell you how serious it looks and whether/when you should get the dog to them.

If you end up going to the vet, they will do a physical exam and may then order blood tests and a radiograph. Some of the issues we’ve outlined above are nasty but most can be treated, especially if caught early.

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