Why Does My Dog Cough and Gag After Barking?

Dogs cough and gag due to various reasons. Some dog owners get worried when they see their dogs coughing and gagging right after barking.

While a one-time or random coughing/gagging after barking isn’t a cause for concern, repeated occurrences may indicate a health issue requiring instant medical attention.

Similar Guide: What is Considered Excessive Dog Barking?

Let’s check out the common reasons a dog may cough and gag after barking.

11 Probable Reasons why your Dog Coughs and Gags after Barking

Reverse Sneezing

This medical condition occurs when a dog rapidly opens and closes their mouth or nostrils, usually due to inflammation of the soft tissues in the mouth. The sudden influx of air irritates the respiratory system, causing the dog to cough and gag repeatedly. Reverse sneezing typically lasts a few seconds to minutes and often resolves independently. However, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian to rule out other diseases.

Related Read: Why Does My Dog Sneeze Before Barking?

Food/Foreign Particles

When dogs eat too quickly or are served their favorite dish, they may accidentally inhale food particles into their breathing pipe instead of the food pipe, resulting in coughing and gagging. Foreign particles like dust, debris, pollen, cigarette smoke, and hair can cause coughing and gagging. Additionally, viral and bacterial infections can lead to severe coughing.

Ear Infections

Dogs have interconnected ears, nose, and throat, so an ear or nose infection can result in coughing and gagging. The symptoms include pain and discharge from the ears. If you notice these symptoms, taking your dog to a veterinarian is essential.

Dry Throat after Howling/Barking

Excessive howling or barking can cause a dog’s throat to become dry, leading to coughing and gagging. This behavior is common and usually not a cause for concern, resulting from dry vocal cords.

Respiratory Problems

Respiratory disorders such as bronchitis can cause coughing and gagging in dogs. Dogs with respiratory infections may have difficulty expelling mucus and phlegm, leading to breathing difficulties, appetite loss, lethargy, and mood swings. Asthma, another respiratory issue, causes coughing, shallow breathing, and wheezing due to restricted airflow in the airways. A wet, mucous cough may indicate fluid buildup in the lungs, leading to pneumonia if not treated promptly. It is essential to consult a veterinarian if you notice phlegm in your dog’s cough.

Canine Influenza

This viral infection can be fatal if left untreated, with symptoms such as coughing, gagging, high fever, poor appetite, and lethargy. Dogs contract the virus through direct contact with infected dogs. Seek immediate veterinary care if you observe these symptoms in your dog.

Laryngeal Paralysis

Common in middle-aged to older and large dog breeds, this upper airway disease causes the larynx cartilage to malfunction, leading to coughing, gagging, and breathing difficulties.

Kennel Cough

Excessive coughing and gagging may indicate kennel cough, which dries the vocal cords and causes breathing difficulties. Dogs can contract kennel cough from infected dogs and cats, so it is crucial to consult a veterinarian if you suspect these symptoms.

Tracheal Collapse

Smaller breeds are prone to tracheal collapse, characterized by the weakening of the cartilage supporting the trachea. The narrowing airway leads to excessive and severe coughing.


Gagging can result from gastrointestinal reflux, bloating, or gas, caused by an improper diet, stress, or boredom.

Heart Diseases

Certain heart diseases can cause dogs to cough. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, fatigue, collapse, and pale or blue gums. If you observe these symptoms in your dog, seek immediate veterinary care.

Is your dog barking too much? Here is how you can get him to stop barking.

How can I Treat Coughing and Gagging after Barking?

  • Instant Treatment: Check your dog if something is stuck in the throat. Give your dog something to give instant relief, like honey or a sweet treat.
  • Take to Vet: Take your dog to the vet if coughing and gagging persist for 5 or more days. The vet may order an X-ray or medical examination based on your dog’s condition. The treatment plan varies as per your dog’s health.
  • Home Care: Give your dog lots of time when he is recovering. This is the time when they need you the most. Keep them inside and use a humidifier to improve air quality.

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