Even the slightest cough or hacking sound can be concerning when it comes to your dog’s health. While coughing and hacking up mucus are usually associated with a respiratory infection, there are times when your pup may hack without throwing up anything.
Hacking without regurgitating any food or liquid is usually a sign of kennel cough—a common respiratory infection that affects dogs. Other signs to look out for include fever, runny nose and eyes, and a lack of appetite.
Read on to find the answer to; my dog keeps hacking but not throwing up and learn more about the cause and complications it might involve, plus the best ways to help your pup feel better!
My Dog Keeps Hacking But Not Throwing Up
Hacking, also known as gagging, is the act of repeated coughs and forceful exhalations that occur in response to irritation or blockage in the throat. In such a case, nothing is usually expelled, and a gagging or dry heave sound often accompanies the hacking.
While many things can cause it, most cases of hacking are nothing serious. They can be easily treated at home with simple treatments like keeping your dog hydrated, getting rid of parasites or harmful bacteria in their system, and controlling any stress that may be causing them to hack more often.
What Are The Common Causes Of Hacking In Dogs?
Just like humans, your pup may have allergies to certain foods, pollens, and dirt which may cause their system to react by hacking. The most common signs of allergies in dogs are skin rashes, sneezing, and coughing.
Bloat is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. It results from gas or fluid accumulating in the stomach and putting pressure on other organs. Bloating can cause severe abdominal pain, restlessness, and hacking without vomiting.
- Kennel Cough
Kennel cough is an umbrella term for a group of extremely contagious respiratory infections that can affect your pup. The signs to be aware of are coughing, sneezing, and gagging without vomiting.
It is highly contagious and can be spread through the air, contact with infected objects or surfaces, and even direct contact with other dogs.
- Respiratory Infection
Respiratory infections are not uncommon in dogs and can cause a range of symptoms depending on the severity of the infection. One common symptom associated with respiratory illness is coughing or hacking, which may be caused by bacteria or viruses that settle into the lungs or airway passages.
Coughing may also be symptomatic of other health issues such as parasites, inflammation, and allergic reactions. If your dog is exhibiting any respiratory infection symptoms, it’s important to take them to the vet for an examination and treatment as soon as possible.
Severe cases can lead to fatal complications if not treated promptly.
- Laryngeal Parasites
Laryngeal parasites are small organisms that can lodge themselves in the throat and cause hacking and gagging without vomiting. Other symptoms include loud breathing sounds and harsh coughs.
These parasites can be difficult to detect with the naked eye, so you must take your pup to the vet for a full examination if you suspect they may have them.
- Something Stuck In The Throat
If your pup is hacking and gagging without throwing up, it could be that something has become lodged in its throat. That can happen if they swallow something small, like a toy or a piece of food too big for them to chew properly.
In some cases, dogs that tend to chow down their food quickly may also experience this. If you think something might be stuck in their throat, take them to the vet as soon as possible, and they will be able to remove it safely.
How To Help Your Dog Feel Better?
If your pup is hacking without throwing up, there are a few things you can do to help them feel better:
- Adequate Exercise
No, this doesn’t mean you need to play fetch the moment they start hacking, but regular exercise can help keep their lungs and airways clear. It can reduce the chances of them coughing or hacking due to allergies or a respiratory infection.
If your pup suffers from a respiratory infection, dry air can worsen it. Consider getting a humidifier for their space and ensuring adequate ventilation.
A healthy diet can help keep your pup’s immune system strong, making them less likely to suffer from allergies or infections. Make sure they eat a balanced diet and supplement it with vitamins or minerals if needed.
- Keep Them Hydrated
Dehydration can worsen respiratory infection symptoms or allergies, so ensure your pup is drinking enough water. If they aren’t drinking on their own, you may want to try adding flavorings like chicken broth to their water to encourage them to drink more.
- Slow Down A Fast Eater
If your pup tends to eat too quickly, try giving them a slow feeder bowl or breaking up their meals into smaller portions throughout the day. Doing so can reduce the chances of something getting stuck in their throat and causing them to hack or gag.
- Monitor Their Play Time
Playing with toys or sticks can sometimes cause your pup to choke or gag, so it’s important to keep an eye on them when playing. Avoid giving them anything small that could potentially be swallowed, and never leave them unattended during playtime.
When To Visit The Vet?
As we said earlier, hacking is common in dogs. In most cases, mild hacking goes away on its own, but if it persists or you’re concerned, a visit to the vet is always a good idea. The vet will be able to examine your pup and provide appropriate treatment if needed.
It’s important to remember that hacking can also signify something more serious. If you notice any other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, coughing up blood, or a change in appetite, take your pup to the vet as soon as possible.
With timely diagnosis and treatment, most respiratory issues can be managed successfully, and your pup will be back playing with you in no time!
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