As dog owners, we’re tuned into the habits and behaviors of our furry friends. We know their favorite toys, their preferred sleeping spots, and even their unique eating habits. However, when our dogs start to show unusual behaviors, such as coughing after drinking water, it can be both perplexing and concerning.
What’s Behind the Cough?
Coughing after drinking is not an uncommon occurrence in dogs. Often, it’s merely a response to water going “down the wrong pipe,” leading to a brief bout of coughing to clear the trachea. This is similar to what happens when humans occasionally cough or choke when eating or drinking too quickly. You know, when you go to drink water and accidentally inhale it instead of swallowing it? That’s not a fun time, but it happens.
However, if your dog consistently coughs after drinking, it could be indicative of an underlying health issue that requires veterinary attention.
Potential Health Issues
The following are potential health issues that could cause your dog to cough after drinking:
Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that dogs can contract from other infected dogs in places like kennels, dog parks, or pet stores. One of the main symptoms of kennel cough is a strong cough, often described as a “goose honk.” While it typically worsens with exercise, it can also be triggered by drinking water. Has your dog been to a place with unknown dogs recently?
Tracheal collapse is a condition more common in small breeds where the trachea (or windpipe) weakens and collapses, causing a persistent cough that can be exacerbated by eating or drinking. This cough is often described as a “goose honk” cough, similar to kennel cough.
Heart disease can also cause coughing in dogs. In some forms of heart disease, the enlarged heart may press on the airways, causing a cough. While the coughing is often more noticeable during or after exercise, it can also occur after drinking water, especially if your dog drinks a large amount quickly.
Aspiration pneumonia is a condition where food or water enters the lungs, leading to an infection. One of its symptoms is coughing, which might become more noticeable after eating or drinking.
Other conditions like laryngeal dysfunction, megaesophagus, or a foreign body can also lead to coughing after drinking.
What to Do if Your Dog Coughs After Drinking Water
If you notice your dog consistently coughing after drinking, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian. While occasional coughing may not be a concern, consistent coughing warrants a thorough evaluation to rule out any potential underlying health conditions.
During the consultation, your vet will likely ask for your dog’s full health history and perform a physical examination. They may also recommend diagnostic tests such as blood tests, x-rays, or an endoscopy to get a clearer picture of your dog’s health. We know these tests can be expensive, but if your vet recommends them, weigh the decision heavily before immediately saying ‘no.’
Visit the Vet If You’re Worried
While it’s easy to worry when our beloved pets display unusual behaviors like coughing after drinking water, it’s essential to remember that not every cough is a sign of a serious health condition. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of them drinking too fast!
However, if the coughing is persistent, it’s always better to be safe and consult with a veterinary professional. They can provide guidance, run necessary tests, and ensure your furry friend gets the appropriate treatment if needed. With their help, your dog can continue to enjoy their water – and their life – cough-free.