Just like all pet parents, you must be pretty worried when your pooch is coughing like something is stuck in his throat. But worrying will not show you the ways to soothe your furry friend.
In this blog post, we will tell you the possible reasons that might contribute to coughing. One of the apparent reasons might be that your dog is choking due to something he has eaten earlier. And we all know how severe choking is. Whatever object is stuck obstructs the airways. Consequently, your dog could go blue at any moment and end up collapsing.
Taking him to the vet would be the best thing to do. The quicker you do it, the better.
How Can You Tell If Your Dog Is Choking?
If your dog is choking, he will get sure signs that will allow you to become aware of the severity. These signs include extreme distress, drooling in excess amounts, and pawing their math while making choking sounds.
If you notice these moments while your dog is coughing significantly, then you should rush to your nearest animal hospital because it may end up collapsing your dog.
What To Do If Your Dog Is Choking?
Sharp thinking and quick action might save you from losing your dog. Following are some to-do things when you see your dog choking seriously.
Go For First Aid
The first thing is to rush to your nearest vet. If the vet is quite far and you fear that your dog won’t make it, go for first aid like the Heimlich maneuver. However, it should not delay your journey to the vet because this little aid will help you understand the severity of your dog’s condition.
Look Inside The Mouth Of Your Dog
Try to calm your dog during this panic situation. Then carefully cut any object wrapped around your dog’s neck and gently open his mouth to take a look inside.
Try To Remove Obstruction
If you can find what is obstructing their airways, try to break it with a pair of large tweezers. Moreover, if you see the object, never try to get it out with your fingers. This way, you may push it down deeper, making things worse. So whatever you do, be gentle because you may end up damaging the delicate tissues of the throat.
If a large object is stuck inside the throat, it can be removed by applying pressure under the jaw and at the base of the throat with both thumbs whilst pushing forward.
Is There A Heimlich Maneuver For Choking Dogs?
The Heimlich maneuver is a technique initially developed for humans by the American thoracic surgeon Henry Heimlich back in 1974. This technique implies abdominal thrusts to stop choking. With slight variation, this technique can be applied as a first aid to save your dog.
Heimlich Maneuver For Small Dogs
So to carry out the Heimlich maneuver for small dogs, you need to hold its back against yourself. Next, make him face the ceiling or the sky, put his paws down, and find a soft hollow spot beneath his ribs. Your fist should be able to fit in the place. Then pull your dog upwards and inwards two to three times in a thrusting motion towards your stomach.
Heimlich Maneuver For Large Dogs
But what to do if your dog is too big? Well, then you need to put him on his side and lie down behind its back in a similar fashion. Then do the same thing. Close your hand into a fist, find that spot under his ribs and then push up and towards yourself two to three times in the directions of its head and your knees.
One more tip, try to do this only in a severe death threatening situation as it may cause damage to your dog’s chest. Moreover, it is necessary to get your dog checked by the vet after applying the Heimlich maneuver.
What Is The Vet Treatment For A Choking Dog?
The vet will perform an emergency tracheotomy. It is a quick and efficient procedure that enables them to pass a breathing tube into the windpipe through the neck.
It allows your dog to breathe by avoiding the object causing the blockage. Then while your dog is breathing through the tube, the vet will remove the obstruction.
My Dog Has Stopped Coughing, Should I Still See A Vet?
Yes, even if your dog has stopped coughing. If you don’t, it is totally on you if something happens to your dog down the way. If the coughing was due to choking on something, then you will let your vet know.
The vet would make sure if there were any trauma inside of the mouth and the windpipe. As the Heimlich maneuver can affect the chest, and the object in the windpipe can cause abrasions.
What Is The Aftercare For A Choking Dog?
As we mentioned above, the foreign object might cause trauma inside the mouth or the throat. Consequently, it will be painful for your dog to eat their everyday food.
So try making their regular diet soft and easy to ingest by running. Your vet might also give some pain relief drugs to help your dog in the recovery period.
Other Possible Reasons for Coughing Dogs
So now we have covered all the choking parts, but if your dog isn’t choking, he is just coughing. Then what? Well, the reason for that is most probably some disease. Most likely a viral respiratory infection.
However, coughing isn’t the only symptom of respiratory infection. There are plenty more like loss of appetite, weakness, short breath. But in most cases, it is just tonsillitis or a sore throat. In this section, we have tried our best to answer your query stating why my dog is coughing like something is stuck in his throat.
1. Kennel Cough
Kennel cough is quite a common disease, and it is also very contagious. It can spread like wildfire to other dogs. Better to keep your dog away from other dops if he has caught Kennel’s cough. While the name is kennel cough, the actual disease is called infectious tracheobronchitis.
Dogs that have something obstructing their air passage are pretty stressed. But, on the contrary, dogs that have kennel cough feel irritation inside their throat.
Though the situation is distressing, it isn’t a life-threatening disease. Kennel’s cough is curable, and it improves with time and medications.
2. Chronic Bronchitis
So whenever the word chronic comes into play, you know things are about to get serious. Chronic bronchitis is more complex to diagnose than most diseases and is often mistaken as Kennel cough.
While kennel cough does get cured, chronic bronchitis does not get cured. However, this disease is allergic, and it can be prevented by using prescribed corticosteroids from the vet.
Steroids like prednisone are used to reduce the inflammation in the airways and relieve the dog from coughing. The vet also prescribes the use of Inhalers, doxycycline, and cough suppressants for your dog.
3. Collapsing Trachea
Most of us who went to school know that the trachea is the windpipe connected to the lungs. Dogs suffer from this disease If their trachea isn’t strong enough and collapses during inhalation.
The dog has got a dry, hacking cough. Even though any dog can suffer from collapsing trachea, it is most common in smaller breed dogs like poodles, Chihuahuas, and Pomeranians.
When your dog is suffering from this, you should avoid exposure to heat, exercise, and obesity. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease; all you can do is control their diet, their exposure to certain things and keep them happy.
A cough can also be a symptom of the development of pulmonary edema, which in simpler terms, is known as chronic heart failure.
These dogs also show other symptoms like shortness of breath. They have a pretty hard time as their heart is slowly but surely failing.
Heart medicines and diuretics help them reduce the cough and aid the heart, but the dog is constantly checked to ensure it stays alive.
Dogs with pneumonia are sick. While it is common in humans, it is pretty uncommon in dogs. Mostly older dogs, ill puppies, and immunocompromised canines get pneumonia. However, if they suffer from it, they will require intensive care, hospitalization, and IV antibiotics.
6. Lung Cancer
Dogs that suffer from lung cancer have different degrees of cough, depending on the cancer stage. Often these cancers are metastatic. That means that the actual tumor was somewhere else in the body, but it metastasized to the lungs.
7. Fungal Pneumonia
Fungal pneumonia depends more on the location you and your dog is living in. If the place is unclean, the chances of your dog contracting it are high. The cough from Fungal pneumonia is quite intense and requires intense treatment too.
8. Heartworm Disease
At number 8 and the last-mentioned reason is heartworm disease. So basically, there are worms that damage the heart tissues. So that results in cough due to heart tissue damage in dogs.
Your dog requires consistent treatment. However, the success of the treatment is quite unlikely. Instead, it will most likely prolong their lifestyle just by a little.
Diagnosing the Above Conditions:
Many dogs, but mainly the smaller breeds, also develop more than one of these conditions simultaneously. However, it is not unlikely for, let’s say, a Pomeranian to have heart failure, chronic bronchitis, and a collapsing trachea altogether.
Losing our best friend can be a nightmare for us all. That’s why when you see your dog coughing, check if it’s due to choking and if it is severe. If that is not the case, then make time for your little pal and get him checked by a good vet as soon as possible. For, there is a saying that a stitch in time is better than nine. It is better to act on time than to regret the latter.