Dog Coughs When He is Excited – Top 3 Reasons Why

Does your dog show a concerning behavior whereby he coughs and gags anytime he seems to get excited over something? Whether it only started to happen recently or has always been a concern, it’s important to set up a session with the vet for a proper checkup. In the meantime, here are some common reasons that may explain the coughing behavior.

1. Coughing Due to Tracheal Collapse

Your dog may have a common health disorder known as collapsing trachea. It’s an inherited disorder in which the supportive structures of the trachea are less firm than they should be. In some situations, such as when a dog gets excited, a tracheal collapse may occur and this would cause the dog to cough and gag.

Tracheal collapse is more common with small-breed dogs like yorkies. It can happen at any age but it is typically more common once a dog reaches six to seven years of age. You may notice that dogs with tracheal collapse conditions will experience chronic, intermittent bouts of coughing, and these sessions will get worse when the dog gets excited.

2. Coughing Due to Reverse Sneezing

The coughing could also be a result of a condition called reverse sneezing. This typically happens when a dog extends their head and neck then starts to inhale repeatedly through their nose. When they do this, you will hear a “snorking” sound every time the dog inhales.

Reverse sneezing usually occurs when a dog gets excited but it may also happen in other situations, such as when your dog is eating, drinking, or running around. While it may sound alarming, reverse sneezing is usually not dangerous for a dog.

3. Coughing Due to a Respiratory Disease

The coughing may be a result of a respiratory disease such as kennel cough. This, however, is only likely to occur in places where many dogs gather, such as a dog park or a kennel. A dog affected by kennel cough will start to experience loud coughs in addition to other respiratory symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, and a low fever.

Another condition your dog might be suffering from is chronic bronchitis, which causes inflammation along the airway. This makes it a lot more difficult for dogs to breathe, especially when they get excited. Dogs that suffer from bronchitis usually exhibit a dry cough.

Stories from Pet Owners

Here are some stories shared by other dog owners who went through the same concerning experience of seeing their dogs cough whenever they got excited.

Story #1 – Choking when excited

I brought in a 5 years old mixed breed dog from the shelter two months ago. I think she came from a puppy farm breeder and spent a lot of time being confined in a cage. She has been super sweet since she joined our family. My only concern regarding her health is around her episodes of coughing. When she gets excited, she starts to cough to the point when it seems like she is actually choking. Sometimes, it seems like she is trying to cough something out from her throat. This will happen for a few seconds before she returns to normal.

She has already been treated for kennel cough. I asked the vet if it could be due to a medical condition like collapsed trachea but this was ruled out as well. I am not sure what the problem is as the dog is fine the rest of the time.

Story #2 – Puppy coughs when excited

We will be taking our puppy to the vet tomorrow but wanted to get some potential advice ahead of time. Our puppy is currently four months old and is totally normal for the most part. She starts to cough whenever we give him something that he likes such as dog treats and toys.

Story #3 – Dog with a strange gag

I have a young dog that makes a strange gagging noise whenever he gets super excited. He is 11 months old, neutered, and his general health is great (based on the last vet visit). It started a few months ago but he would make the gagging noise when he was given something he likes or when the weather got pretty warm.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


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