Why Does My Puppy Cough After Drinking Water?

How many times have you ever been drinking something, only to have the drink go down the wrong way? Or, you go to get a drink of what you thought was cool refreshing whatever, only to find it was not what you were thinking? The result is a gut-wrenching cough trying to expel the fluids, causing you harm.

Well, your puppy can go through the same as you. Have you ever noticed his drinking suddenly interrupted by a fit of coughing? Poor little guy!

When your puppy is getting his nice cool drink of water and lets out a few coughs when he’s finished, it’s normal—nothing to be concerned about.

But when he does it every time, or while he’s trying to get himself a drink, then there is a cause for concern. Some other underlying factors could cause him to cough during drinking.

And those issues are the ones we will discuss here today. Let’s look at the issue of a puppy who coughs after drinking water and what you can do about it.

Triggering the Gag Reflex and Gagging

Does puppy cough after drinking water, or get choked drinking water, or throw up afterward? He might just be gagging from his gag reflex.

The gag reflex refers to a muscle contraction in the throat, which quickly closes the epiglottis. The epiglottis is the ‘flap’ which closes to protect the lungs from fluids. If there is liquid present on the epiglottis, this muscle will do its intended job. The result is your puppy coughs profusely to expel the fluids threatening the lungs.

If your puppy is the average ordinary puppy, he is a ball of energy. When it comes time to eat or drink, the energy doesn’t stop. All of the fierce gulping will greatly enhance the chances of triggering the gag reflex.

Also, all of the gulping will allow excess air into the drinking process, which will further facilitate the cough.

Take a few moments just before feeding or watering and do your best to calm the little guy before all of the gulping begins. It will help.

Okay, Little Piggy!

Another reaction to the coughing during drinking can be somewhat comical. Has your puppy ever been gulping down his water and suddenly lets out a loud snorting sound?

No, he’s not morphing into a pig, his trachea is having a spasm due to all of the excess air during drinking. As mentioned before, the epiglottis protects the lungs. And the trachea is the section of the esophagus where the epiglottis is located. If there is a constant gulp of water followed by a gulp of air, over and over, the trachea becomes confused. It simply doesn’t know if the epiglottis needs to open or close. Therefore it spasms.

And your puppy snorts like a pig! A vet refers to the snorting as a reverse sneeze. It will only last for a few seconds, maybe one or two snorts, and then the trachea catches up.

It may also resemble the mating call of a wild goose!… Puppies, piggies, and geese, oh my!

Brachycephalic Breeds

Perhaps you have chosen one of the Brachycephalic Breeds of dog. I had one of these. Any of the ‘smashed face’ dogs fit the category. English Bulldogs (mine) Pugs, Boston Terriers, these are just a few. There are, however, over 20 breeds belong to the Brachycephalic Breed category.

These dogs are prone to breathing and eating disorders. One of the more common disorders concerning coughing during drinking is the Everted Laryngeal Saccules. A fancy way of saying their gag reflex is more sensitive than in other dogs.

Their tracheal spasms can often lead to tracheal collapse. Requiring immediate medical attention, and sometimes surgery to correct.

Even though these dogs constantly require attention, they remain some of the most popular breeds mainly because they are so dang cute!

The Common Cold

Your puppy could have something called Kennel Cough. It is another name for the common cold. If your puppy has Kennel Cough, it means he has an infected trachea.

And we all know when we have an infection, we cough up lots of fluids. These fluids are collecting around the puppy’s trachea, and thus triggering the gag reflex.

When your puppy tries to get a drink while suffering from Kennel Cough, it only further confuses the trachea into the spasms previously mentioned. These ‘puppy colds’ will correct themselves in a couple of days, but it could require a vet trip. If the cough has gotten worse or if it hasn’t gotten better, then take him in for a visit.

The Tiny Trachea

If your puppy is one of the Brachycephalic creeds, there is also a good chance there is another trachea condition.

The puppies of these breeds often have a condition called Hypoplastic Trachea.

It is a condition in which their trachea is narrower than normal. The word ‘hypoplastic’ refers to those rings of cartilage in the trachea, and it also means the trachea is underdeveloped.

It prevents their windpipe from fully developing, even later in their life. It also is another explanation as to why these breeds tend to have breathing and coughing problems.

Their vet may prescribe steroids to help[ the trachea to open up further. The steroids, however, are the last resort. They may facilitate more breathing problems and ultimately defeat their intended purpose.

Clean Water Supply

It goes without saying but is worth mentioning. Make sure the pup has plenty of fresh, clean water available all day, every day.

If the water bowl has been sitting for over six hours, dump it out. Dust, dirt, and other allergens can collect on the surface of their water supply, making the problem worse. Keep it clean.

In Conclusion

So, your puppy coughs when he drinks. It is somewhat normal. And hopefully, you have some information provided here to further explain the other issues which could be possible.

Just another reason to keep you glued to all of their cuteness!

1 thought on “Why Does My Puppy Cough After Drinking Water?

  1. Kristina Greenwell

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