Now you can know more about dog Hiccups

Watching your beloved furry friend’s dog hiccups and gag can be concerning, but don’t worry; it’s not unusual for dogs to experience these issues occasionally. In this dog blog post, we will explore why dog hiccups and gag and what you can do to help them. As a dog owner, you must ensure your dog is happy and healthy. That’s why it’s essential to spot signs of discomfort and distress, such as consistent hiccups or gagging. There you have it again—that terrible noise your dog makes in the middle of the night.

It’s like when a goose honks in your ear while trying to sleep, almost always accompanied by a sharp gagging sound. While dog gagging is generally harmless, you should know a few things about it so you can tell when it’s time to see your vet.

Dog gagging is a noise your pup makes right before or after they cough. It’s like they’re trying to throw up while they’re coughing. It’s different from coughing, vomiting, and gagging, so capturing it on video will help your vet figure out what’s happening. On the other hand, when your pup coughs, it usually spits out some saliva or mucus that’s swallowed up quickly. When your pup vomits, it’s generally straightforward because it’s usually a food or stomach issue.

Dog hiccups are similar to hiccups in humans, and they are primarily caused by involuntary contractions of the diaphragm muscle, which separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. When the diaphragm contracts suddenly, it causes the vocal cords to close, resulting in a hiccup sound. While hiccups are generally harmless and will go away independently, they can sometimes indicate an underlying issue.

If your pup is coughing and then gagging, it’s essential to know what’s happening. Gagging is when your pup opens their mouth and sounds like they’re throwing up. But unlike vomiting, nothing comes out of their mouth, just a bit of mucus. Gagging doesn’t expel any stomach contents as vomiting does. Check if your pup coughed and then gagged or if they coughed and then gasped. Knowing the order of these two events is crucial because it can help your vet determine what kind of disease your pup has.

Why do dogs gag?

Gagging in dogs is often a reflexive action triggered by an irritation in the throat, airway, or stomach. If your pup is coughing and then gagging, it could be due to an inflammation in the larynx. Various things can cause this, and getting them checked out by a vet to figure out what’s going on is essential. When they cough first and then gag, it’s usually a sign of bronchitis or lower respiratory disease, but when they joke first and then cough, it could be a sign of laryngeal dysfunction. Common causes of gagging in dogs include respiratory infections, such as kennel cough, which can cause a rough, goosey cough that a gagging episode can follow. Laryngeal paralysis is also a risk factor for gagging in older Labradors. Older Labrador Retrievers may develop a condition known as laryngeal paralysis. This condition occurs when the larynx does not close correctly, allowing for the passage of food and fluid through the airway. Additionally, the dog’s breathing becomes very loud and harsh. This condition usually begins as mild and worsens over time.

Causes Of Gagging In Dogs

If your pup is gagging or regurgitating, it could be a sign of GERD (acid reflux). GERD is when stomach acid goes into your stomach, causing your dog to cough, regurgitate, and swallow a lot of food. This inflammation of your esophagus is what causes your dog to gag. There are lots of different causes for GERD, like a weak lower sphrelge, diet, a hernia, and other medical issues. To treat GERD and GERD, you may need to change your diet, take an antacid, or take a prokinetic medication.

If you have an older dog, especially a Labrador Retriever, you may have a condition called GOLPP. It’s a progressive neurological disorder that affects the larynx, which is the structure at the top of your dog’s trachea that helps them breathe, swallow, and vocalize. When your dog is gagging or coughing, it’s a sign that their larynx is not working properly. This can cause them to make strange noises when breathing, or show respiratory distress, especially when they’re active or excited. Gagging is one of the most common symptoms of GOLPP, and it’s usually caused by the muscles and nerves in the larynx not being able to move properly.For moderate to severe instances of laryngeal paralysis, surgical correction is frequently indicated to improve the dog’s quality of life and lower the danger of life-threatening respiratory distress. To assist treat the symptoms of laryngeal paralysis, medicines such as doxepin may be administered in some circumstances. Doxepin contains anticholinergic effects that can assist lower airway secretions and has been demonstrated to aid certain dogs with minor laryngeal paralysis or those who are not surgical candidates.

Megaesophagus is a disorder in which the esophagus enlarges and loses muscular tone, making food or liquid passage from the mouth to the stomach problematic. If food or liquid becomes caught in the larger esophagus, which is unable to move it down into the stomach, this might cause gagging and coughing. Furthermore, the pressure of the larger esophagus on the trachea can induce gagging in dogs.Medication to lower stomach acid and regulate muscle contractions, as well as dietary changes, such as giving smaller meals numerous times throughout the day in an upright position, are used to treat megaesophagus.

Tracheitis is a condition where your dog’s trachea or windpipe gets inflamed. It’s caused by a mix of viruses and bacteria. It can also cause gagging, which is caused by irritation and inflammation in the dog’s respiratory tract. If you think your dog has tracheitis, you should see your vet right away. Tracheitis is usually treated with antibiotics, but if you suspect a bacterial infection, you may need to see a doctor as well. Cordatella is a type of cough that’s rough and dry, and it can cause your dog to heave or gag, especially after coughing. Cordatella can be treated with cough suppressants and anti-inflammatory drugs to help with the cough and gagging.

Crikopharyngeal Dysphagia is a type of swallowing disorder where there’s an obstruction in the muscles in the neck and throat. This can cause gagging or choking when spicy food or liquid get stuck in this area when swallowing. It’s not known exactly what causes this, but it’s thought to be a disorder of the nerves in the neck and jaw. Treatment for this type of dysphagia usually involves surgery to relieve the pressure on the muscle. This could involve removing tissue, giving the muscle a Botox injection, or cutting away some of it with a laser to get it back to normal.

When a dog gags, it’s usually because of foreign objects that get stuck in their throat. This could be a small object like a bone, or something bigger like grass. If it’s too big for your pup to cough up or swallow, they’ll start gagging because their gag reflex kicks in. Sometimes, they’ll try to swallow it or lick their lips as they try to get it out.When your pup gags because of something foreign, you need to get them to the vet as soon as possible so they can get rid of it. They can use special tools like endoscopies or forceps to do this, and they might also suggest a general anesthetic to make sure your pup stays calm.

Here are some common reasons why dogs may joke:

  1. Foreign objects: Dogs are natural explorers and may sometimes ingest small objects that can get stuck in their throats or cause irritation in their stomachs, leading to gagging.
  2. Respiratory infections: Dogs can develop respiratory infections that cause coughing and gagging. Viruses or bacteria commonly cause these infections.
  3. Allergies: Like humans, dogs can have allergies that irritate their respiratory system, leading to coughing and gagging.
  4. Heartworm disease: Severe infestations of heartworms can cause dogs to cough and gag. Keeping your dog on regular heartworm prevention medication is crucial to avoid this potentially life-threatening condition.
  5. Tracheal collapse: Small breed dogs, such as Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers, are prone to tracheal collapse, a condition where the cartilage rings of the windpipe become weak and flatten, causing gagging and difficulty breathing.
  6. Gastrointestinal issues: Gagging in dogs can also signal problems in the gastrointestinal tract, such as acid reflux, gastritis, or the presence of an object or foreign body in the stomach.

What can you do to help your dog hiccups?

If your dog is experiencing dog hiccups or occasional gagging and seems otherwise healthy, there is often no need to worry. However, if the dog hiccups or gagging persist or become more frequent, you’ll need to consult your veterinarian to figure out any potential health issues. Here are some tips that may help alleviate dog hiccups or gagging in dogs:

  • Provide a calm environment: If your dog gets dog hiccups or gags due to excitement or stress, it can help to create a peaceful and quiet space for them to relax.
  • Encourage slow eating: To prevent dog hiccups caused by eating too quickly, consider using puzzle feeders or slow-feed bowls to slow your dog’s eating pace.
  • Keep foreign objects out of reach: Be mindful of objects around your home that your dog could swallow. Keep small items safely stored away, especially those that could easily be ingested.
  • Monitor your dog’s allergies: If your dog has allergies that lead to coughing and gagging, work with your veterinarian to identify and manage the allergens that trigger these symptoms.
  • Follow a regular heartworm prevention routine: To prevent heartworm disease and the associated coughing and gagging, ensure your dog is on regular medication prescribed by your veterinarian.

As veterinarians, we understand that every dog may occasionally swallow incorrectly and experience a period of coughing and gagging. This is not a cause for concern and should be monitored for 72 hours. However, if the gagging persists for an extended period, it may indicate a more severe condition than a simple reaction to the dog’s ingestion. Suppose there are other symptoms, such as worriedness or distress, difficulty breathing, increased noise while breathing, or any other signs of discomfort. In that case, we recommend an examination as soon as possible. As veterinarians, we take any condition of the respiratory system seriously.

At the veterinary appointment, the course of action will depend on the characteristics of the symptoms your dog is exhibiting. Generally, a complete physical examination will be conducted. Sometimes, a preliminary diagnosis may be made based on this examination alone. In other cases, further tests may be necessary. The most commonly performed initial tests are blood tests (specifically designed to detect any signs of infection), neck and lung radiographs, and sedation for a complete throat examination. Fortunately, the majority of canine gagging cases are relatively simple to treat. Additionally, treatments are available to completely cure the gagging or significantly reduce it to make the dog more comfortable. In cases of more severe gagging, such as those caused by pneumonia or lymphoskeletal paralysis, treatments may also be available.

Frequently Asked Question

Q: When should I be concerned about my dog’s hiccups or gagging?

A: Occasional dog hiccups or gagging in dogs are often harmless and resolve independently. However, if your dog experiences frequent or prolonged hiccups, or if the gagging becomes severe, is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, or interferes with your dog’s daily activities, it is essential to consult your veterinarian. They can determine if an underlying health issue needs to be addressed.


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