As a dog owner, you could be familiar with your dog always gagging for no obvious reason. However, when the gagging is accompanied by signs like your dog wants to throw up, you could become worried about your dog’s health. Understanding why this happens would help you know how to help your dog or when to call the vet.
There are several reasons why your dog keeps gagging but not throwing up. They include kernel coughing or Bortedella, bloating, tracheal collapse, blockage in the throat or esophagus by a foreign object, hairballs, laryngeal paralysis, obesity, Rhinitis, Sinusitis, and respiratory illness.
Gagging is a reflex activity that occurs in the diaphragm and throat in response to something unpleasant, and it is frequently but not always accompanied by vomiting. However, sometimes your dog gagging without throwing up can be bad.
Why Does My Dog Keep Gagging but Not Throwing Up?
Gagging is a normal and common reflex in dogs, which often occurs and stops within a very short period. On some occasions, gagging could lead to vomiting. Older dogs tend to gag more due to their ability to produce more mucus. Most times, gagging itself is not something to be worried about.
However, it could be a concern when the gagging begins to occur more frequently than usual. There are some common reasons why dogs gag and do not throw up. Sometimes it could be due to an irritation in your dog’s throat or even a kennel cough. We will be explaining some of these common reasons below.
Foreign objects are a common reason why many dogs gag. Foreign objects are often responsible for obstructing a dog’s airway, which could lead to the dog experiencing difficulty breathing. Some common foreign objects are bone, twigs, pollen, string, and toys.
Dogs are naturally known to explore things with their mouth and nose. So, during the exploration process, there are chances they could ingest a foreign object. It could get stuck in their throat when they do, which could remain there for a while. The dog could begin to gag, retch, or cough to get rid of the object. While doing this, the object could either come out or be digested, which eventually comes out in the dog’s poop.
Whenever you notice your dog suddenly gagging, you could open its mouth to check if there is an object stuck inside. Once you notice a sign of any object, you are best advised to take the dog to your vet. In some rare cases, your dog might require surgery to get the object out.
Bloating is also known as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus. This serious condition usually affects the gastrointestinal system and could be life-threatening. All dog breeds could suffer from this condition; however, it is more common in dog breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, and German Shepard.
When a dog is affected by this condition, it could be seen with severe symptoms like swelling of the dog’s stomach, excessive drooling, fast rate of heartbeat, pale gums, foaming at its mouth, accompanied with gagging without vomiting. If your dog ever displays these symptoms, you are best advised to take it to a vet immediately.
Kennel cough is a form of sickness that could be caused by a bacteria called Bordetella or a virus called canine parainfluenza. This sickness is very contagious in dogs and often spreads through dog toys, direct contact, having contact with contaminated substances or surfaces, and aerosol droplets. Dogs that often gather together in places like dog parks, dog shows, and training groups could easily contract this cough.
So, when a dog is down with kennel cough, it could begin to display symptoms like runny nose, reduced energy, fever, sneezing, and a hacking cough accompanied by gagging. Sometimes, the cough may last for about 3 to 6 weeks, depending on the dog’s health. During this period, the coughing and gagging could become more intense.
To help your dog, you could speak to your vet about the dog’s symptoms. Antibiotics could be recommended for treatment. Also, there are some vaccines available for this cough. Although, that would only be effective for dogs who are yet to have a cough.
This condition is more common in dogs naturally born with weak cartilage in their trachea. As they get older, the cartilage becomes weaker, flat, until it collapses. The dog’s airway becomes very narrow when this happens, leading to some breathing difficulties. Common symptoms of this condition include collapsing, weakness, coughing, gagging, and could sometimes even lead to vomiting.
Small-sized or toy dog breeds like Top Poodles, Chihuahuas, and Yorkshire Terriers tend to experience this problem more. So, if you own any of these breeds and notice these symptoms, you need to take the dog to a vet. Depending on how severe the condition is, sedatives, anti-inflammatory steroids, and cough suppressants could be recommended for treatment.
Why Does My Dog Keep Gagging?
Your dog gagging is a troubling sound to hear. While these sounds are not a positive indication, they can be influenced by many factors, some of which may be more significant than others. Your dog could be gagging due to a foreign object stuck in its airways or because it has a disease like kennel cough.
Gagging is a normal and common reaction in dogs; it is generally a sign that you are about to vomit. However, gagging could be caused by infections like rhinitis and sinusitis. A sinus infection is known as sinusitis, whereas a nasal infection is known as rhinitis. Gagging in your dog could be caused by the postnasal drip caused by certain illnesses.
The common cause of these infections is infected teeth. Fortunately, you can treat these infections with medication; this is something your veterinarian can help you with. Laryngeal paralysis is another reason why your dog keeps gagging. This disease occurs when the larynx does not close adequately, enabling food and fluid to enter the airway.
An extremely loud, harsh panting is another symptom of this illness. Laryngeal paralysis frequently begins quietly and progresses over time. When you notice your dog keeps gagging, it is best to take it for a check-up with the veterinarian immediately.
Dog Keeps Acting Like He’s Going To Throw Up
It is very normal for a dog to want to vomit, and it is often entirely natural. Most dogs vomit whenever they drink or eat too quickly, too much, or after exercising. Dogs are prone to motion sickness, which can cause them to vomit. It may be suffering from throat discomfort.
Your dog will believe that clearing his throat would help him feel better, but it will worsen the pain. He could potentially have a tiny injury in his stomach from eating something he should not have and start retching. Make sure you take your dog to the veterinarian in cases like this.
After taking your dog to the veterinarian, he will first rule out a stomach torsion. After that, he will check to see whether there is anything in its windpipe or if it is irritated. He will examine the retches to see if they are caused by something else, such as a stomach infection or something else entirely.
Keep reading: Why Does My Dog Throw Up in the Morning?
After all, nobody knows your dog as you do. As a result, you must keep a watch on your dog and recognize whether it is choking on nothing, dry heaving, or gagging and if it is a regular occurrence or not. You should take any abrupt change in your dog seriously since they are creatures of pattern and habit who rarely depart from them unless there is a good reason. If you are uncertain about the issue, get advice from a veterinarian.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.