Dog Sneezing & Gagging
Have you ever noticed your dog sneezing or gagging? It can be a sad sight to observe. Occasional sneezing and gagging is a normal way for your dog to get rid of acute irritation in his nose and throat. However, you shouldn’t ignore frequent sneezing and gagging because this could point to a more serious problem.
If your dog is sneezing or gagging, the team at Germantown Veterinary Clinic can help you diagnose the issue at hand and provide treatment. To ask questions or schedule an appointment, contact us online or give us a call at 240-252-7467 today!
What Does Sneezing & Gagging in Dogs Look Like?
- Sneezing: When most dogs sneeze, they rock their heads forward suddenly with their mouths closed. This behavior pushes air out of the nose in an attempt to remove irritants in the nasal cavity.
- Reverse sneezing: This is a common reflex found in all dog breeds. You know your dog is reverse sneezing when his head moves in a backward motion with his mouth closed. This reflex sucks air into your dog’s nasal passage to remove irritants usually located behind the nostrils.
- Gagging: Commonly misinterpreted as dry heaving, gagging is when your dog extends his neck and opens his mouth in an effort to eliminate irritants in his throat. He may make a hacking sound and lick his lips and swallow repeatedly after gagging.
Causes of Sneezing & Gagging
Understanding the cause is the first step toward treating your dog’s problem. Common causes of sneezing and gagging include:
- Foreign objects lodged in the throat, esophagus or mouth, including bone splinters, string or plant matter
- Nasal passage obstruction, including mucus and mites
- Inflammation of the nasal passage or throat
- Bronchial, nasal and sinus infections, which are more common in unvaccinated dogs
- Pneumonia and canine influenza
- Irritation from excessive nasal discharge, secretion or mucus
- Presence of a cleft palate or elongated soft palate, which can obstruct the airway while breathing, especially during exercise
- Ciliary dyskinesia, which is when the hair-like lining in your dog’s respiratory tract moves involuntarily and causes tickling
- Nasal tumors and chronic dental diseases, which are more often found in older dogs
- Gastrointestinal disease
What to Do If Your Dog is Sneezing & Gagging
The presence of a foreign object in your dog’s throat, esophagus or mouth is a common reason for sneezing and gagging. To ensure your dog isn’t choking, the first thing you should do is look into his mouth. Attempt to remove any object you find by sweeping your finger from one side of your dog’s mouth to the other. If you see an object but can’t remove it – or you don’t see anything but the coughing continues for more than two days – take your dog to the vet for diagnosis and care.
Schedule an Appointment with Germantown Vet to Treat Your Dog
Whatever the reason behind your dog’s behavior, the professional team at Germantown Vet can help diagnose and treat it so your dog can return to full health! If sneezing and gagging are caused by the presence of a foreign object in your dog’s throat or nasal passage, removing the irritant is a likely cure for the problem.
However, if the behavior is caused by another medical problem, treating the underlying condition is the only way to get rid of the resulting side effect. In the meantime, your dog can take a decongestant or antihistamine to help control the involuntary sneezing and gagging reflexes.
Contact us online or by phone at 240-252-7467 to schedule your dog’s appointment today!