Wondering what may be wrong with your dog after noticing them coughing each time they are done drinking water is normal. We all have done that at some point, and we continue to check on our pets for little things because it bothers them. Mostly when dogs experience coughing, there are no serious reasons behind it; however, if the coughing continues or if you notice them coughing excessively, you should be concerned.
Importance of Drinking Water for Dogs
Just like human beings, animals also need water for their day-to-day activities. Needless to say, even your pet dog requires to live a healthy life. Without clean drinking water, your dog will suffer from dehydration and eventually suffer from direct or indirect health issues.
How Much Water Should My Dog Drink Daily?
There are no hard rules for determining the amount of water your dog should drink daily. Dogs drink water in accordance with their needs and circumstances. For instance, your dog may drink more water after going for a walk or during the hot and sultry summer days.
In general, your pet dog should drink about 1 ounce of water per pound of their body weight. So, keep fresh and clean water in your dog’s water bowl. Although it is not recommended for a dog parent to calculate the amount of water that your dog drinks daily, you should watch out for your dog if they drink too much water. If this tendency continues, it is better to inform your dog’s vet about the same, as it may indicate some underlying health concerns.
What are the Reasons for My Dog Coughing After Drinking Water?
If your dog is coughing after drinking water, there is something wrong with your dog, and you should take care of the same. There are several reasons that can cause your dog to cough after drinking water. Let’s have a quick look at the possible reasons which can make your dog cough after drinking water.
1. Your Dog has Windpipe Blockage
The most common reason for your dog to cough is when something gets stuck in its windpipe. If you look at the anatomy of a dog’s throat, you will notice that it is quite complex and controls the breathing and feeding activities of a dog. But just like humans, even dogs can suffer if the water they are drinking finds its way into the breathing track.
This especially happens when your dog gulps down water too fast. This may result in contraction of the airway muscles, which, in turn, triggers a cough and could even lead your dog to gag. But you may be surprised to know that nature has made them evolve in a way, and this gagging reflex protects their lungs.
To avoid any accident while your dog is drinking water, you can get them a water fountain that helps them to drink water easily without any hindrance.
2. Your Dog is Suffering from Kennel Cough
When the cause is not external, it could be internal. You may notice that your dog is coughing after drinking water but is not choking because of the water. In such a case, Kennel’s cough could be a possible reason. This is one of the common health conditions your dog might be suffering from. This disease is a kind of common cold that affects dogs and makes them cough after drinking water. This disease is highly infectious and is caused by micro-organisms, like Bordetella Bronchiseptica and Parainfluenza Virus. Since this disease is highly contagious, your dog may have contracted this disease from other dogs.
If your dog is suffering from this disease, it has an inflamed trachea, resulting in a hoarse cough. As a result, when your dog drinks water, it affects the sensitive windpipe, and it swells up. However, as long as the condition remains constant, there is no harm to your dog. But, if this condition persists for long, your dog will keep coughing almost every time it drinks water, and it can even lead to serious health conditions like pneumonia.
In some cases, it can also reduce the chances of recovery for your dog and even lead to their death. Hence, it is recommended that a dog parent get their dog to the vet and get this issue addressed at the right time.
3. Your Dog Could be Suffering from the Hypoplastic Trachea
This disease is another health condition that can affect your dog, eventually leading to your dog coughing after drinking water. This is a genetic condition that attacks puppies and middle-aged dogs. This disease refers to a condition that implies that your dog’s trachea has not fully developed, and the muscles of your dog are partially developed and have altered the shape of your dog’s trachea. This is a serious medical condition.
Your vet can provide temporary respite to your dog by providing medical remedies to treat the recurring cough. This coughing can affect some breeds more than others. Dog breeds like bulldogs and Boston terriers are more susceptible to this disease. The shortened skulls of these dogs lead them to have narrow tracheas, which affect their inhalation, and further trigger coughing in these dogs more than in other dogs.
4. Your Dog is Suffering from a Collapsed Trachea
Your dog may also suffer from a trachea that is gradually collapsing with time. This condition is different from the hypoplastic trachea. It happens when your dog’s windpipe collapses, and the shape of the cartilage changes, along with the weakening of the relevant muscles.
This results in the partial or complete collapse of the windpipe. Hence, both water and air struggle when it passes through the trachea, gradually collapsing. This results in your dog coughing incessantly, especially after drinking water.
5. Your Dog Might be Suffering from Reverse Sneezing
Theoretically, reverse sneezing is not coughing in the strict sense, but this is another condition that may affect your dog’s health, especially after drinking water. Most dog parents confuse this with regular coughing.
Although it is common among dogs, it can affect some breeds more than other breeds. It affects dog breeds with short muzzles more than others. They are more susceptible to this problem, especially after eating or drinking fast.
This condition occurs when the water is present in the airway. Under normal conditions, this is not a serious condition and is no matter of concern. But it is also recommended to consult your vet if you have a dog with a short muzzle. Persistent reverse sneezing can indicate long-term respiratory disease or tracheal collapse. This implies that a proper diagnosis is required for this condition, and your vet may be able to help you in this matter.
Is Your Dog Coughing After Drinking Water a Serious Problem?
It is important to ask if this condition is serious. In general, there is no reason to believe that coughing is a serious health condition, but this might also indicate that they might be suffering from some serious ailment.
Therefore, it is recommended that if your dog is continuously coughing after drinking water, you should contact your vet, and let her/him know about your dog’s condition. Listening to your vet may help your pet and enable them to live a long and healthy life.
What Should be Done if Your Dog is Coughing After Drinking Water?
As it has been already discussed, if your dog is coughing after drinking water, it may indicate that there might be some sincere ailment in your dog, which may at present or in the future may affect the health of your dog. But the question still lingers if there are any solutions to this problem. Therefore, let’s have a quick look at the probable solutions to this problem.
1. Training Your Dog Accordingly
If you notice that your pet dog eats or drinks too fast, you may train your dog to eat or drink slowly. Besides, some dogs tend to get excited, and in their excitement, you may find that they eat or drink too fast. They tend to eat greedily and gulp down water very fast. This may be a reason which leads them to cough after drinking water.
Drinking water too fast can make your dog suffer from intense coughs repeatedly. If you train your dog to eat and drink slowly, they will be relaxed and composed. Hence, it will help them to eat and drink slowly, and they may avert coughing.
2. Consult a Vet to Get Your Dog Diagnosed
Although coughing may not be a serious condition, however, there might be serious health conditions like Kennel Cough or hypoplastic trachea that can lead to serious health implications in the long term. For instance, Kennel Cough can finally lead to pneumonia if ignored for a long time. Besides, a damaged trachea can be a serious health issue for old dogs, and your vet should be aware of this condition.
Your vet can solve some of the issues, like medication which can help your dog and relieve it from coughing. Besides, your vet may also recommend getting your dog, especially if it’s a pup to be vaccinated against bacteria responsible for diseases like Kennel cough.
Besides, your vet may also treat a succumbing trachea or even suggest surgical procedures for your dogs, which can eventually strengthen the condition of your trachea and improve its stability of the same. This can help your dog is breathing more easily and help it against persistent breathing.
3. You can Separate the Infected Dogs
Please remember that some of the diseases that can affect your dog are contagious in nature, and dogs can be infected by one another. If your dog gets in touch with other contaminated dogs, it may have gotten the disease. Your dog may be visiting a dog park or dog care, from where it may have caught such infectious diseases.
If you realize that such a disease has infected your dog or some other dog, it is best to keep them separated from healthy dogs to prevent the further spreading of the disease. Besides, it is also recommended to disinfect the place where they live and the toys with which they play to save other dogs from catching these diseases.
Your dog is probably coughing after drinking water due to these potential reasons:
Water in the windpipe– while drinking water regularly, water can get lodged in your dog’s windpipe. Doing this can cause coughing in dogs.
Kennel cough– A contagious airway infection caused by microorganisms. Dogs become infected with this disease from where they congregate. The easiest way to prevent this is yearly vaccination.
A hypoplastic trachea- this happens in some dog breeds when the fusion of rings in the cartilages results in narrowing of the windpipe, thereby obstructing normal airflow.
A collapsed trachea- just like a hypoplastic trachea, this condition also implies narrower air passage, resulting in difficulty breathing. A deficiency of calcium, glycoproteins, and chondroitin causes this condition. Otherwise, this can also be caused by heart problems, common infections, respiratory issues, and Cushing’s syndrome.
Your older dog is probably choking after drinking water as it suffers from a collapsed trachea. This condition affects older and overweight dogs more than small-breed dogs.
In this condition, the trachea of the cartilage becomes weak and fails to support the strength required for the free flow of oxygen. This condition can often lead to coughing among older dogs when they are drinking water or excited.
If your dog has a collapsed trachea, it will have a distinct sound. The sound in such dogs is similar to a dry cough. According to experts, the sound reminds one of a goose that is honking.
Vets begin with physical examinations of their dogs to differentiate this condition from other diseases. To check, vets press the windpipe to induce coughing.
Besides, they can also take x-rays when a dog is breathing, as this can reveal an injured trachea. During other times, vets can also use more advanced tests like fluoroscopy and a walking x-ray.
Last, a medical procedure called a bronchoscopy, where a tube and a small camera are inserted in the air passage of an anesthetized dog, is also applied to diagnose a collapsing trachea.
If your dog has water in its lungs, it will show apparent symptoms. The most common symptoms include hacking, coughing, and chest pain. Besides, it may also show signs of difficulty breathing and become unresponsive to your commands and lethargic.
The possible reasons why it sounds that your dog has water in its lungs are-
• It has recently suffered some trauma to its head.
• It has been accidentally electrocuted.
• It has recently suffered from some drowning experience.
• It may have inhaled smoke.
• It is suffering from serious conditions like cardiogenic pulmonary edema.
• Its heart has somehow become enlarged (also called dilated cardiomyopathy)
• Thickening of the heart, also called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, may result in water deposition in the lungs.
If your dog has water in its lungs, do not waste time at home. This situation is serious, and you must take it to the vet immediately. Your vet will decide on a further course of action depending on your dog’s condition.
Your dog will probably be treated with diuretics that will remove the fluid from its body. Later, it may be given oxygen therapy and advised for complete rest. Also, a low-sodium diet might be recommended for your dog to improve its condition.
If your dog has swallowed too much water, it will show clear symptoms like lethargy, bloating, nausea, and vomiting.
Besides, you may find that it has lost its sense of coordination, is salivating excessively, its pupils have become dilated, its gums may lose their color, and it may have glazed eyes.
Additionally, some advanced symptoms include difficulty in breathing, losing consciousness, episodes of seizures, and it may also collapse.
Your pet dog may cough after drinking water, and as a dog parent, you have to be careful to take care of your dog’s health. While coughing may not be a serious disease, it might indicate impending health issues that are bound to affect the health of your dog in the long run. Therefore, as a dog parent, you should not overlook this issue and consult your vet to ensure that your pet dog remains healthy and live a fulfilling life.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.