The Reason Your Dog Coughs After Drinking Water

While the question might sound odd, it is very important to consider. Dogs, like all of us, could sometimes drink too fast or get distracted while sipping on water. Usually, in these cases, a few drops go down the wrong way and that’s that. This scenario, however,  becomes a problem when it starts to occur a little more than usual. Keep an eye on your pooch every time it pauses between sips and sees if your dog seems to be gagging or coughing.


Quick swallowing isn’t the only reason a dog might be coughing immediately after consuming liquids; your pup could be suffering any of these three medical conditions concerning the trachea:

The Kennel Cough

A collapsed trachea

Hypoplastic trachea

All of these conditions affect dogs on a big scale, despite the notable differences between them. The dog’s age, breed, size, and symptoms are all important factors that will assist the vet in taking the right medical action to help your pup get better.


The location and function of the trachea

Otherwise known as the windpipe, the trachea is basically a tube of muscle, tissue, and cartilage that sits between the throat and the lungs. It connects the air breathed to the lungs. A little flap called epiglottis shuts when food or water enter and that’s when they land in the digestive tract. However, when the trachea’s structural integrity is compromised, its ability to function does too.

A genetic illness present from the youth, or one developed with age, as well as irritation and swelling caused by respiratory problems,  may cause the trachea to be weak and prevent the dog from getting the necessary amount of oxygen. As dogs sweat very little, panting is their only other way to refresh and cool down from the heat and the trachea is then very important for this point.


The Kennel Cough

The Kennel Cough is also recognized as infectious canine tracheobronchitis and it’s probably the least serious of the three illnesses previously mentioned. The Kennel Cough is like basic cold canines get, and similar to any communicable disease, it mostly spreads in areas where a large number of dogs are located. It can affect all dog breeds and ages equally and could be caught in the dog park, the groomer or even vet offices.

The biggest symptom of this infection is a cough that is similar to a goose hunk. Obviously, the more a dog coughs the stronger the inflammation of the trachea gets. Make sure to isolate your dog if it gets the Kennel Cough if you live in a multi pet household. If treated, the cough and the irritation should be gone within two weeks time.


The hypoplastic trachea

If your dog is young and constantly coughing when consuming liquid,  please do not take it lightly. This could be a sign of a major health problem and it needs to be taken care of as soon as you notice it. The hypoplastic trachea is the underdevelopment of cartilage rings that shape the trachea and it comes as a genetic abnormality. It hinders the growth of the windpipe and prevents it from developing to its full size and normal width and usually affects pups from the smaller breed.


The Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, and Pugs are the breeds that are at the most risk of having a hypoplastic trachea. The extremity of the symptoms depends on how narrow the dog’s airway is. The above-mentioned dog breeds are known for their snoring, snorting and heavy breathing that grow more and more noticeable with age. Watch out for symptoms like low energy and quick weight gain in flat-faced puppies as they are the most endangered by the illness.

Some dogs do suffer from the disease but go undiagnosed, as the width of their trachea happens to not be substantially affected. However, some dogs suffer from more issues because of this one, such as the brachycephalic airway syndrome, where the shortened skull of the dog leads to other abnormalities. These often include smaller nostrils that even further the difficulty of oxygen in taking for dogs.


Tracheal collapse

While the symptoms of underdeveloped tracheas show from early on, the evidence of collapsing tracheas show relatively late and affect a number of different dogs. It’s a degenerative issue where the trachea loses structural integrity. It eventually becomes more and more difficult for the pup to inhale the sufficient amount of air.

Its symptoms start to show in seniority, meaning that they start to show at the 4th – 6th year of a dog’s life. This disorder is highly recognized through the coughs it causes, as they tend to sound like a honk and gagging noises. If your dog has always been energetic and suddenly seems to have become tired, it may be a red sign to check its trachea and make sure it’s not weakening.


The issue develops very slowly and over a long period of time. It is most common between small breeds like Yorkshires, Chihuahuas, Lhasa Apsos, Pomeranians, Pugs and small Poodles.

If your dog suffers or has the potential of suffering from any of these diseases make sure they do not gain massive weight, as it will block their oxygen intake even more and can be fatal. Dogs with severe cases may need surgery and medication to help reinforce the trachea. Pay close attention to your pup’s habits, actions and physical well being and make sure to take them for check ups every now and then.