Why Does My Dog Hack After Drinking Water?

Naturally, like any of us, sometimes our dogs drink too fast or they are temporarily distracted, and a few drops go down the wrong way. Youve started noticing a disturbing trend, though. It seems that every time your dog pauses for a bit of liquid refreshment, the action is followed immediately by the sounds of coughing and gagging. If a dog coughs after drinking water consistently, there may be more to it than rapid or reckless swallowing can explain away.

Is it normal for dogs to cough after drinking water?

Cough due to tracheal collapse may be stimulated by drinking water. Coughing that occurs during or shortly after eating may be due to disease of the larynx or esophagus. The larynx normally closes when food is swallowed to prevent food from entering the trachea.

Why does my small dog hack after drinking water?

Because the trachea becomes misshapen, the flap isn’t able to fully cover the windpipe when eating. Thus, liquid is able to make its way around it. It’s theorized that the viscosity of water allows it to get through even tiny gaps, which is why a dog coughs when drinking water only.

Why does my dog make weird noises after drinking water?

Reverse sneezing is characterized by honking, hacking or snorting sounds (gasping inwards). It primarily occurs when the dog is excited, but it can also happen after drinking, eating, running, or pulling on the leash.

What causes a dog to hack and gag?

Kennel cough, which is a type of respiratory infection, is a common cause of dog gagging, which results in a harsh, goose-like cough, sometimes followed by a gag. There are other infectious diseases that can also cause gagging, and a more severe disease—pneumonia—can sometimes cause gagging in dogs, as well.

A dog that coughs right after drinking water can mean that a contaminant was present in the water that somehow triggered the dogs cough reflex. Or it could be due to a more serious health problem. Whatever the cause is, a trip to the vet shouldnt hurt but will give you peace of mind in knowing what could be wrong with your pet.

For example, some dogs like the Yorkshire Terrier are prone to a chronic progressive disease known as tracheal collapse whereby the cartilaginous rings of the trachea slowly lose their structural integrity, causing it to become unusually soft and very weak. Problems in the trachea can also be present among older dogs that may already have substantially weakened tracheal structures because of advancing age.

The main bacterium that causes a kennel cough is Bordetella bronchiseptica while the principal viral agent is Parainfluenza virus, although canine coronavirus may also account for less than 10% of all cases. Dog breeds that have relatively short muzzles a term called brachycephalic are more susceptible to the development of hypoplastic trachea. Pug , English Bulldog , and Boston Terrier puppies will usually snore, breathe heavily, and even snort because of the narrowed airway passage.

Drinking water is supposed to be a relaxing experience. It’s a way for your dog to get some hydration and bring down their body temperature. Because dogs don’t sweat in the same way that we humans do, they’ll often head straight to their water bowl after a long play session outside to cool off.

When your dog eats or takes a drink, a small flap of tissue, called the epiglottis, opens up to create a pathway to the digestive system. This tiny flap is pretty much the only thing that’s keeping water and food particles from getting into your dog‘s lungs.

If your dog gags after eating or drinking, there’s a good chance the cough reflex was triggered. Officially known as canine tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is basic the dog equivalent of the common cold. It’s important to seek help from your veterinarian as soon as your dog starts exhibiting signs of kennel cough.

But, it’s an absolute necessity if you have multiple pets or plan on boarding your dog at a shared facility. Those rings are responsible for giving the trachea a stable shape for air, food, and water to pass. Typically, the trachea is smaller than average, making it difficult for the vital biological component to do its job right.

This includes dog breeds like Pugs, English Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and other flat-faced pups. Brachycephalic dogs are susceptible to a ton of health issues due to the unique shape of their heads. Owners must stay vigilant about keeping them healthy to avoid breathing problems, weight gain, and a slew of other complications.

Depending on the severity of the issue, your vet may recommend surgical procedures to add more stability to the trachea. Generally, vets will provide some guidance on how you can manage the issue and what you’ll need to do to keep your dog safe. How the condition is treated depends on the severity of the problem , your dog‘s quality of life, and their age.

Surgeons can replace the cartilage rings with prosthetics, which may be able to retain the overall structural integrity of the trachea. With early diagnosis and an effective treatment plan, your dog can live a normal healthy life.

Why does my dog hack after drinking water? I remember a dog owner asking me this on the dog park when we noticed that his Doberman was coughing after drinking from the water fountain.

If you want to slow down your dog from drinking, you can place large objects on its water bowl. Also, you should only give your dog a small amount of water and let it finish before refilling the bowl.

As it drinks, the foreign object irritates the throat, which results in hacking and coughing. This is much true if the hacking occurs after your dog chewed rawhide or consumed bones. Reverse sneezing occurs when the dog pulls a lot of air through its nose.

This will produce a snorting sound and hacking if it occurs while your dog is drinking water. If the reverse sneezing and hacking occurs too often, I suggest consulting with your dogs vet. Take note that this condition is contagious, so you should isolate your pooch from other pets if you suspect that it has kennel cough.

As its name suggests, kennel cough is often spread in onboarding facilities and poorly kept dog shelters. Most of the time, kennel cough has an incubation period of around two to four weeks upon contracting the Bordetella bronchiseptica m bacterium. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment will reduce the risk your dog may suffer from this condition.

I have a friend at work whose dog suffered a tracheal collapse during a long walk. His dog had to undergo a surgical procedure to replace the tracheal cartilage rings. Still, most dogs brought to his clinic with collapsed trachea often have a congenital abnormality in their airways.

Take note that a dry cough accompanied by symptoms like labored breathing, lethargy, and poor appetite should be taken seriously. Exposure to dust, pollens, cold temperature, poor ventilation, and smoke can cause dry coughing in dogs. Stagnant water like pools, bird feeders, and ponds are breeding grounds for the dreaded Salmonella bacterium.

Salmonella poisoning will lead to vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and a slew of adverse symptoms. Take note that contaminated water can kill a dog, especially sick ones and small puppies.

1. Kennel cough in dogs

Also known as infectious canine tracheobronchitis, kennel cough in dogs is the least serious reason why a dog coughs after drinking water. Kennel cough is basically the common cold for canines. Like any communicable disease, it spreads most efficiently in places where there are a number of dogs in close quarters. From the dog park to the groomer, and from boarding facilities to veterinarians’ offices, kennel cough can affect any breed of dog at any age.The major symptom of this mild respiratory infection is a cough that sounds like a goose honking. The more the dog coughs, the more irritated and inflamed the trachea becomes. In a multi-pet household, a dog with kennel cough should be isolated from other dogs and their bowls cleaned and disinfected. Kennel cough tends to pass within a couple of weeks, and any coughing with it.

2. Hypoplastic trachea

If a dog coughs after drinking water, especially if that dog is a young puppy, it could signal a more serious health issue. A hypoplastic trachea is a genetic abnormality. “Hypoplastic” means “underdeveloped,” and usually refers to the rings of cartilage that give the trachea its shape. The effect of this inherited condition is that the windpipe does not develop to its full size or width. This disorder primarily affects puppies from short-muzzled breeds, technically referred to as “brachycephalic.”Breeds most at risk for hypoplastic trachea include the Boston Terrier, English Bulldog and Pug. Symptoms depend on the extent to which the puppy’s airway is narrowed by the condition. These dogs are already known, as they age, to snore, snort or breathe more heavily; with a hypoplastic trachea, symptoms like these can begin showing up as early as five or six months of age. Additional symptoms to watch out for in flat-faced puppies include low energy, along with rapid weight gain due to limited ability to exercise.On its own, a mild case, where the trachea’s diameter is not substantially affected, may pass completely unnoticed and undiagnosed. In some dogs, the narrow trachea can be a symptom of brachycephalic airway syndrome, in which the abbreviated length of the dog’s skull causes other cranial abnormalities, such as smaller nostrils, which further restrict a dog’s oxygen intake.

3. Tracheal collapse in dogs

Where evidence of an underdeveloped trachea tends to arise quite early in life, symptoms of a collapsing trachea have a much later onset and tend to affect a different subset of dogs. This is a degenerative condition in which the trachea loses structural integrity over time. Imagine slowly flattening a roll of toilet paper and you have a decent image of what happens to the dog’s windpipe. As the airway narrows, it becomes progressively more difficult for the dog to take in sufficient air.Symptoms of a collapsing trachea tend to appear in middle age or seniority, which for these long-lived small dog breeds may be anywhere from the ages of 4-6 years or later. Similar to kennel cough and hypoplastic tracheas, the hallmark of this disorder is that honking cough, accompanied by a gagging noise. For small dogs who have been energetic and perky throughout life, a loss of energy or getting tired after very little exertion may be more alarming signs of a weakening trachea.Anything with the word “collapse” or “collapsing” in it sounds dire, but in many cases, this is a very slowly developing health issue. It is most frequently seen in Yorkshire Terriers, but it is common across a range of small and toy dog breeds. Along with Yorkies, tracheal collapse can also affect Chihuahuas, Lhasa Apsos, Pomeranians, Toy Poodles and Pugs.

#1. Water or Debris in the Windpipe

The first and most benign culprit could simply be something going down the wrong pipe. Your dog‘s throat is a pretty complex piece of biology. The main component is the trachea. Made up of cartilage rings, connective tissue, and muscle, the trachea is responsible for both breathing and eating.When your dog is just breathing, the trachea guides air in and out of the lungs through the nose and mouth.When your dog eats or takes a drink, a small flap of tissue, called the epiglottis, opens up to create a pathway to the digestive system.This tiny flap is pretty much the only thing that’s keeping water and food particles from getting into your dog‘s lungs.

Gagging

If your dog gags after eating or drinking, there’s a good chance the cough reflex was triggered. This happens automatically anytime something gets passed the epiglottis. It’s the body’s way of protecting the lungs.Those muscles will contract, causing your dog to cough the offending substance out. If this happens frequently, you may need to train your dog to chill out and take things slow.Excitable dogs are notorious for scarfing down food and water as if it’s their last meal. The sheer speed and carelessness that happens results in frequent coughing.Force your dog to calm down before meals to reduce the chances of coughing.

#2. Kennel Cough

Another common cause of coughing is a condition called kennel cough. This is a very common issue that dogs face. Officially known as canine tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is basic the dog equivalent of the common cold.Primarily, it’s caused by the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica. Your pup may also be suffering from the Parainfluenza virus, which also leads to kennel cough.When dogs get kennel cough, the trachea becomes irritated and inflamed. This results in a unique cough that sounds more like a goose honking. Unfortunately, the more your dog coughs, the worse the condition will get.When your dog drinks water, the liquid puts more pressure on the trachea. It’s already sensitive enough, so that extra pressure usually leads to a serious coughing fit.

Kennel Cough is Contagious

The biggest issue with kennel cough is that it’s highly contagious. The bacteria can quickly spread to other dogs that are in the vicinity, hence the name. It’s a frequent problem in boarding facilities, veterinary offices, and multi-pet households.It’s important to seek help from your veterinarian as soon as your dog starts exhibiting signs of kennel cough. As we mentioned earlier, coughing only exacerbates the issue and leads to further irritation. Thus, it can take several weeks before your dog starts to get some relief.

Separate the Infected Dog

If you have other pets in your home, you must separate your infected dog immediately. Quarantine them in a separate room from your other pets and disinfect any shared toys or dishes. Remember, it’s contagious and can easily affect your other pups.To decrease your dog‘s risks of experiencing kennel cough, ask your vet about getting a vaccination for Bordetella.It’s an optional vaccine that’s not a part of most veterinary core care plans. But, it’s an absolute necessity if you have multiple pets or plan on boarding your dog at a shared facility.

#3. Misshapen Trachea

If your young dog chokes after taking a sip of water, they may have a hypoplastic trachea. This is a genetic condition that dogs are born with. Signs of the issue usually start to pop up around five months of age.Basically, the condition means that your dog has an underdeveloped trachea. Earlier, we mentioned that the trachea was made out of cartilage rings and muscles. Those rings are responsible for giving the trachea a stable shape for air, food, and water to pass.With a hypoplastic trachea, the rings aren’t able to develop properly. This causes a deformed shape. Typically, the trachea is smaller than average, making it difficult for the vital biological component to do its job right.Hypoplastic tracheas are mostly found in brachycephalic breeds. This includes dog breeds like Pugs, English Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and other flat-faced pups.Brachycephalic dogs are susceptible to a ton of health issues due to the unique shape of their heads. Owners must stay vigilant about keeping them healthy to avoid breathing problems, weight gain, and a slew of other complications.

How to Manage

A hypoplastic trachea is just another issue to add to the list. Fortunately, is manageable. Depending on the severity of the issue, your vet may recommend surgical procedures to add more stability to the trachea. Though, this is quite rare.Generally, vets will provide some guidance on how you can manage the issue and what you’ll need to do to keep your dog safe.The coughing that comes with this genetic disorder is directly related to the epiglottis flap we went over earlier.Because the trachea is small and unable to hold its shape, food and water are bound to get by.Along with coughing, dogs with a hypoplastic trachea usually have several other symptoms. These include that same goose-like honking, difficulties breathing, weight gain, and snoring.

#4. Collapsed Trachea

A collapsed trachea is similar to the previous condition. However, whereas a hypoplastic trachea is a genetic problem that affects dogs early on, a collapsed trachea tends to affect dogs once they reach the middle of their life cycle or during their senior years.When the trachea collapses, it essentially loses its ability to hold its shape. The cartilage rings and connective tissue lose strength. This causes the once stable windpipe to become narrow and flattening.Because the trachea becomes misshapen, the flap isn’t able to fully cover the windpipe when eating. Thus, liquid is able to make its way around it.It’s theorized that the viscosity of water allows it to get through even tiny gaps, which is why a dog coughs when drinking water only.

Varying Degrees of Collapse

There are varying degrees of collapse. It could be partial or complete. The condition takes time to develop and can get worse the longer it’s not addressed.Like a hypoplastic trachea, this issue tends to affect Brachycephalic dog breeds more than others. Also, the symptoms are very similar. The only way to truly diagnose it is a trip to the vet.Cough suppressants are also available to ensure that your dog is able to hydrate without any discomfort.In severe cases of tracheal collapse, surgical intervention may be required. Surgeons can replace the cartilage rings with prosthetics, which may be able to retain the overall structural integrity of the trachea.

Conclusion

Watching your dog gag or cough on a regular basis isn’t easy. If you suspect that there’s something serious going on, we recommend taking your dog to the vet as soon as possible. The key to managing tracheal issues is to catch them early on.With early diagnosis and an effective treatment plan, your dog can live a normal healthy life. Those irritating coughs will be a thing of the past and your pup will be able to drink comfortably.