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 is coughing after drinking from the water fountain. At first, we thought that there’s something wrong with the water. But the other dogs seem fine, except for his pet. After consulting with his dog’s vet (and Sherlock’s), we found out that the following are the possible reasons:
Reasons why dogs hack after drinking water
Hacking and coughing are typical reactions to irritations. But if your dog does it every time it will sip water, you should factor in these possible causes:
1. Drinking too fast
Drinking water too fast can make a dog gag and hack. This happens a lot in dog parks when pooches are too excited about playtime. They drink too fast, which causes them to gag and choke.
Usually, this will go away and will not become a major cause of concern. Still, you should discourage your dog from drinking too fast because it also means that the canine ingests a lot of air. This might lead to abdominal distension, which can be uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening.
If you want to slow down your dog from drinking, you can place large objects on its water bowl. This way, the pooch can’t gulp strongly. Just make sure that the objects aren’t choking hazards.
Also, you should only give your dog a small amount of water and let it finish before refilling the bowl. This will slow-down their hasty drinking habits and prevent hacking.
2. Stuck foreign object
Another possible reason here is that a foreign object is stuck in your dog’s throat. As it drinks, the foreign object irritates the throat, which results in hacking and coughing.
A splinter of bone or rawhide can easily get stuck on your pet’s esophagus. If the hacking isn’t going away, I suggest that you bring the pooch to the vet. This is much true if the hacking occurs after your dog chewed rawhide or consumed bones.
It’s important that we pay attention to what our dog is putting in their mouths. Take note that these stuck objects will not always dislodge on their own. Some may even need a surgical operation for successful removal.
3. Reverse sneezing
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.
While reverse sneezing is often harmless, you should be careful if it occurs while drinking. The water might backflow and go into your dog’s lungs. If it’s a substantial amount of water, it may trigger pneumonia and respiratory distress.
Brachycephalic or flat-nosed dogs are more at risk of reverse sneezing because they have shorter muzzles and airways.
If the reverse sneezing and hacking occurs too often, I suggest consulting with your dog’s vet. In some cases, frequent reverse sneezing is indicative of a bigger respiratory problem.
4. Kennel cough
Dogs with kennel cough will always hack after drinking water. Other symptoms include coughing, honking, reverse sneezing, and lethargy. 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 onboarding facilities as well as poorly kept dog shelters. It can spread through shared drinking water bowls and communal areas. That means even dog parks aren’t safe.
Most of the time, kennel cough has an incubation period of around two to four weeks upon contraction of the Bordetella bronchiseptica m bacterium.
The good thing is that kennel cough is easily curable. Early diagnosis and treatment will reduce the risk your dog may suffer from this condition.
Also, there’s an available vaccine for kennel cough to protect puppies from this infection. Your dog can get both the oral and intranasal kennel cough vaccine annually. Some vets will recommend biannual vaccination if your pet is at high risk of infection.
5. Collapsed trachea
Another possible reason for hacking after drinking is a collapsed trachea. This is a serious condition that’s highly occurring among flat-nosed breeds. Dogs with this health problem will hack and cough incessantly as they struggle to breathe.
Take note that tracheal collapse can either be partial or complete. Whatever it is, you must take it seriously and the dog must be given immediate veterinary care.
I have a friend at work whose dog suffered tracheal collapse during a long walk. His dog had to undergo a surgical procedure to replace the tracheal cartilage rings. The vet used a prosthetic to open up the airway again and, unfortunately, his dog requires life-long care.
During Sherlock’s latest visit with his vet, I opened up about this condition. The vet told me that it’s not really 100% known why this condition happens. Still, most dogs brought to his clinic with a collapsed trachea often have a congenital abnormality in their airways.
6. Hypoplastic trachea
Aside from a collapsed trachea, dogs that hack when drinking water might be suffering from a hypoplastic trachea. This occurs when the rings on the dog’s trachea overlap or become too thick. When this happens, your dog’s airway will narrow and it will be harder to breathe.
Like the collapsed trachea, a hypoplastic trachea is commonly observed on brachycephalic or flat-nosed dogs. Aside from hacking, this condition will also cause noisy breathing, coughing, aspiration pneumonia, and labored breathing on canines.
Most of the time, the cause of hypoplastic trachea is genetic, but other factors will increase a canine’s susceptibility towards it.
When should I be concerned about my dog’s cough?
Canine cough should always be taken seriously since it can become a precursor to other health problems. If your dog is hacking and coughing endlessly, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian.
A cough that’s accompanied by other symptoms like loss of appetite, labored breathing, nasal discharge, and weight loss is serious. Your dog might be suffering from a life-threatening respiratory problem that requires immediate veterinary care. It can be anything from pneumonia, lung disease, or distemper.
Most of the time, coughing is treatable and the vet can prescribe medications your dog can take at home. The sooner you bring the dog to the vet, the faster and easier it will be treated.
Why does my dog keep dry coughing?
Dry cough in dogs can be a sign of kennel cough. It’s best to get your dog checked, especially if the dry cough isn’t going away for days. Take note that a dry cough accompanied by symptoms like labored breathing, lethargy, and poor appetite should be taken seriously.
However, dry coughing isn’t always a major health problem. Exposure to dust, pollens, cold temperature, poor ventilation, and smoke can cause dry coughing in dogs. You should remove the dog from this environment to help stop the dry cough.
Why is my dog throwing up after drinking water?
Dogs that hack and vomit after drinking water might be experiencing poisoning. Stagnant water like pools, bird feeders, and ponds are breeding grounds of the dreaded Salmonella bacterium. This can easily wreak havoc in your pet’s tummy. Salmonella poisoning will lead to vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and a slew of adverse symptoms.
Aside from Salmonella, bacteria like campylobacter and Leptospira will have the same effect on your dog.
Take note that contaminated water can kill a dog, especially sick ones and small puppies. If you suspect that your dog is water-poisoned, you should bring it to the vet right away.
Why does my dog hack after drinking water? It can be a random case of gagging or reverse sneezing. But if it occurs too often, you should have your doggo checked for kennel cough, airway obstruction, and tracheal problems. Early detection will save your dog from the discomfort and potentially life-threatening repercussions.