Probably the most common cause of coughing and gagging in older dogs is heart cough. This is a symptom of heart disease and occurs when the ailing heart is no longer able to pump blood properly. The fluid then leaks into the airways, and your dog will cough to try and eliminate the accumulation.
Two very common things that can cause gagging in dogs are infectious problems and laryngeal paralysis. 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.
If you observe your dog hacking away or constantly making choking sounds, then they may have a case of Bortedella, or Kennel Cough. Dogs catch this illness when they breathe in air filled with bacteria and virus particles. This is why you may be observing your dog coughing and gagging like he’s choking.
Gagging can be a sign that your dog is suffering from heart disease, especially in senior dogs. Chronic or non-stop gagging accompanied by fast breathing, exercise intolerance, lethargy and a bluish tint to their tongue are signs that your dog may be suffering from cardiovascular disease.
If your dog is hacking away or constantly making noises that make it sound like they are choking on something, they may have a case of kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis.
Signs that you should be observant of in an elderly dog or a sick dog in hospice care include:
Signs and symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure in dogs
Some of the most common causes of coughing in dogs are heart disease, chronic bronchitis, heartworm disease, and respiratory infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Beyond the usual suspects lurks other, less common culprits that may be behind your canine companion’s hacking.
Honey can be a great home remedy for kennel cough as it can help soothe your dog’s throat and minimize coughing. You can give your dog one-half tablespoon to 1 tablespoon of honey mixed with a little warm water in a bowl. This can be offered up to three times a day depending on how often your dog is coughing.
Coughing in an old dog can be a sign of an underlying health problem. Most coughs in old dogs are due to problems in the lungs or the heart. Infectious causes are possible, but often the cough is a result of aging and wear-and-tear on those organs.
The sound of the cough of a dog with a collapsed trachea makes is very distinct. It is most often described as a harsh, dry cough that sounds similar to a honking goose.
If your dog is gagging or retching in addition to wheezing, it could be a sign that something is stuck in the windpipe. A wheeze accompanied by a cough could indicate an upper respiratory infection, kennel cough, lower airway disease, or a foreign body stuck in the trachea.
How is a collapsing trachea diagnosed? During a physical exam, very light pressure placed on the trachea that causes coughing or breathing difficulty may raise suspicion of tracheal collapse. Tests such as radiography (X-rays) or use of an endoscope or bronchoscope are needed to confirm the diagnosis.