Why does my dog cough when excited?

If you notice that your dog seems to cough frequently when in situations where your dog is excited, there can be a few reasons behind this behavior. While coughing in dogs may sound and seem serious, coughing from excitement is not always an issue that requires medical attention.

Be sure to keep an eye on your dog to observe what triggers its coughing spells.

Why does my dog cough when excited?

It is not uncommon for dogs to cough or make wheezing sounds when they get excited. Some dogs will even hack or gag. What makes coughing while a dog is excited different from coughing due to an illness is not only the frequency, but the duration of the cough. Typically, what you see is your dog coughing or wheezing for a few minutes before stopping. 

While it may seem strange and a cause for concern, in most instances, coughing when excited is just a twerk that certain dog breeds or easily excitable dogs exhibit. That being the case, if you notice that your dog coughs in certain situations, you should still consult your vet. There can be other, and serious, underlying conditions that can lead to your dog frequently coughing. It is always best to rule those out and keep your furry friend healthy!

So why does your dog cough when it is excited?

Your dog has a collapsing trachea

Dogs that have collapsing trachea cough when they are excited because the trachea collapses and the dog is coughing to breathe. While the name makes it sound like an alarming medical emergency, don’t panic yet. Collapsing trachea is often associated with a congenital defect in dogs, typically smaller breeds such as pugs, French bulldogs, Yorkshire terriers, Pomeranians, and chihuahuas.

These dogs have techniques that are made from softer cartilage than they should typically be. As a result, when they become excited, their trachea collapses and they cough or wheeze to breathe. 

Your dog is reverse sneezing

What may sound like coughing could be a reverse sneeze and not cough at all. Reverse sneezing happens usually when there is irritation to the back of the nose or throat. Your dog will extend its head and neck and breathe rapidly through its nose. This causes a snorting sound that can often be confused with coughing. 

Exactly why some dogs are prone to reverse sneezing when excited is not known. This is because there can be many different attributing factors that cause this reaction. This can go on for several minutes after your dog gets excited. 

Your dog has an illness that is putting a strain on its respiratory system.

Your dog coughing when excited can be linked to a medical issue. Dogs, like us, can get respiratory infections in social situations. Dogs commonly pick these up when at dog parks or boarding facilities. As with any respiratory infection, it can be exacerbated when your dog’s breathing quickens due to excitement.

The difference between this type of coughing is that it does not go away over time, other symptoms go alongside this. You may notice that your dog has runny eyes or nose, has less energy, has a limited appetite, and may also vomit.

Why does my dog hack when excited?

You may also notice that your dog will hack when excited. This is predominantly seen in dogs that have a collapsing trachea. It is an attempt for your dog to clear its windpipe when it gets very excited. The difference is that there are usually a few short, loud hacks that may produce some moisture.

Is it normal for a dog to cough when excited?

Depending on your breed of dog, coughing when excited is normal. It can also be normal depending on how excitable your dog is. Anytime your dog gets very excited, its breathing quickens and it can trigger an episode of coughing. 

As long as your dog’s cough subsides once they have calmed down and they have no symptoms of being unwell, your dog’s coughing when excited is nothing to worry about.

What to do about my dog coughing when excited?

As mentioned, many times coughing due to excitement is not a serious condition. Depending on why your dog is coughing, there can be some methods that you can take to help ease their coughing fits.

Collapsing trachea

If your dog has a collapsing trachea, there is no way to cure the issue, but your vet will give you ways to treat the issue. This includes medication that can keep their airways less agitated, weight loss plans, and switching from a collar to a more comfortable harness that does not press on their neck.

Reverse sneezing

When it comes to reverse sneezing, your dog’s episode will often subside on its own. As alarming as a reverse sneeze may sound, it is rarely dangerous. You can provide relief for your dog by rubbing its neck. Once your dog has calmed down, it can exhale and breathe regularly again.

Coughing from illness

If your dog is suffering from a respiratory illness, it will need to get antibiotics from your vet. You will also need to keep your dog away from other dogs as respiratory illnesses are highly contagious.

How do I know if my dog’s cough is serious?

Anytime your dog is suffering from a cough, you want to monitor it for additional symptoms. If the cough doesn’t go away after an event where your dog has gotten excited, you need to consider that it is a respiratory infection and check for additional symptoms. If you notice any other symptoms of your dog seeming unwell, contact your vet for an appointment. Catching a respiratory illness early on prevents it from developing into something that is more serious. 

Additionally, even if your dog is not suffering from an illness, both collapsing trachea and reverse sneezing can be aggravated by certain factors. These can include your dog’s weight, diet, allergies, and over-exertion. Your vet can help you make a plan so that your dog’s coughing episodes are less severe.




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