Why Does My Dog Keeps Hacking? Here’s Why!

Weinreimer Hacking and Coughing

Like people, dogs may cough and hack on occasion to get rid of something caught in their throat, but if this hacking continues, there may be more than just a bit of fuzz tickling his larynx.

Read on to discover some common reasons why your beloved fur baby may be hacking-up-a-storm, fuzz not included!

Canine Kennel Cough

According to Dr. Becker of Healthy Pets, kennel cough is a very common viral disease which affects the upper respiratory system of dogs and especially puppies. It’s medical name is infectious tracheobronchitis or Bordetella and is mostly triggered by the presence of the parainfluenza virus and a bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica.

Once the two of these find their way into your dog, it’s a perfect storm for some serious hacking.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

There are several symptoms of kennel cough which include:

  • a deep, dry hacking cough
  • sneezing
  • snorting
  • gagging
  • vomiting
  • nasal discharge
  • fever
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite

Kennel cough may also cause your dog to hack after vigorous exercise. Symptoms of kennel cough can appear anywhere from 2 to 20 days after exposure.

Where Can My Dog Contract Kennel Cough?

Since this disease is viral and contagious your pup can pick it up by infected dogs sneezing and coughing (like a human cold). This virus favors warm crowded areas that are not well ventilated like boarding kennels, veterinarian offices, pet stores, breeding facilities and animal shelters.

Even after the symptoms have resolved themselves, the infection can remain “infectious” for 6 to 14 weeks, which means it can still be passed along to other dogs.

Treatment of Kennel Cough

Kennel cough symptoms can last between 10 and 20 days and can recur if your dog becomes stressed (this lowers its immunity system). Some veterinarians will recommend letting the virus run its course, while others may prescribe an antibiotic to help your dog recover. Dog’s that are already compromised physically must be monitored to make sure the kennel cough doesn’t turn into pneumonia, so discuss this possibility with your doggy doctor.

Kennel cough can be a serious problem with hacking being one of the first signs. If your dog is coughing and isn’t getting better or there are other symptoms present, be sure to call your veterinarian for an appointment to get it checked out.

Something Stuck in Throat

Dachshund Chocking or Hacking on Something

Some dogs are notorious for eating whatever they find lying around on the ground or the floor. If this “foreign” object happens to get stuck going down, it may cause hacking, coughing and gagging, depending on the size, shape and texture of the object.

Other signs to look for is the dog licking its lips or making swallowing motions (which could also be signs of a sore throat).

If your dog continues to have these symptoms, it’s best to get him or her to a vet for immediate care, as an object left in the throat can cause damage (like scratches) which could lead to an infection.

Tracheal Collapse

Although, not a common reason for dogs hacking, a tracheal collapse (windpipe) is possible, so it needs to be addressed.  A tracheal collapse is more common in smaller breeds of dogs and is usually chronic and progressive. This situation in dogs can be caused by a congenital problem (there since birth) or one that occurs as the dog goes through life—being tugged on or picked up by its collar.

Hound Dog Hacking

Symptoms of a Tracheal Collapse

  • sudden attack of dry coughing that sounds like a goose honk
  • signs of exercise intolerance (shortness of breath)
  • respiratory distress
  • gagging while eating or drinking.
  • lips, nose, gums of dog turn blue when excited or stressed

If you suspect your dog may be suffering from this condition, be sure to make an appointment with your doggy doctor. He or she will most likely perform an x-ray on your dog’s neck region or even use a small camera to scope the throat.

Treatment of a Tracheal Collapse

If your veterinarian does diagnose a tracheal collapse the treatment options may vary depending on how severe the case is.

For mild cases, your vet may opt to use medications such as cough suppressants, antispasmodics, bronchodilators, and sedatives to help reduce coughing spasms and the associated anxiety. He or she may also recommend supplements to help rebuild the damaged cartilage in the trachea.

In addition, it is also recommended to only use a harness to walk your dog (NO collars as this will put pressure on the windpipe) keep your pet’s environment smoke free and to also put your dog on a diet if it is overweight, as this will make it harder for your pet to breathe.


According to PetMD, heartworm is a serious condition that affects dogs of all ages. The disease is exactly as the name suggest—worms in the heart—and is caused by the organism Dirofilaria immitis, a parasitic nematode (roundworm).

Heartworm is carried by larvae-infected mosquitoes, that then transmit it to your pet through their bite, directly into your dog’s bloodstream and to its heart where the worms will hatch and begin to grow.

Dogs that live in warmer, tropical climates are more susceptible to this disease; however, it has been found in all parts of the US and some parts of Canada.

Heart Worms in a Dog's Heart

Symptoms of Heartworm

Heartworms is diagnosed in three categories depending on the severity of the infestation;

Class I

  • may not show symptoms
  • occasional cough

Class II

  • coughing
  • unusual intolerance to exercise.

Class III

  • may show symptoms of anemia (low red blood cells)
  • exercise intolerance
  • fainting spells
  • right-sided chronic heart failure.
  • high blood pressure
  • labored breathing
  • extremely rapid heartbeat

If your dog has not been treated with a yearly dose of heartworm medication and is showing any of these signs, it is wise to bring it to a vet for immediate diagnosis and possible treatment.

Treating Heartworm

Depending on the severity and class of heartworm infestation in your canine the treatments can vary from specific medications designed to kill the worms, to hospitalization to remove the worms. Your vet will make this determination based on the amount of worms present in your dog’s heart.

We’re Done Hacking…
A hacking cough in your dog may not always be a sign of severe illness or injury, but it’s always best to have a hacking or prolonged cough checked out by a veterinarian.

Dog Shedding and Sitting on a Red Rug

How to Control Dog Shedding

Does your dog shed? Learn how to control their shedding!

10 Adoption Stories Guaranteed to Put a Smile on Your Face

If you love dogs, chances are you love a good dog adoption story! These ten stories are ones that I experienced first hand while working at animal rescues and shelters over the last eight years. They may make you laugh, cry, smile or a little of each, but they are guaranteed to warm your heart!…

Long Haired Beauties, What’s the Best Long Haired Cat Breed?

Are you looking to add a long-haired cat to your family, but aren’t sure which breed is right for you? Look no further because I’ve got you covered, from the Brachycephalic Persian to the dainty Turkish Angora there is a long haired cat out there for every personality type. Persian: One of the oldest cat…

Pug Smiling at Dog Park

Here’s How to Find a “Good” Dog Park!

Learn the insider secrets of finding the best dog park possible!

Dogs Walking on Path

How to Spot the Signs of Discomfort and Stress in Dogs

Do you know when your dog is stressed out or in discomfort?

Two Turtles Sunbathing on a Rock

How to Choose the Turtle for You

Turtles come in all shapes and sizes, with different living environments and dietary needs that you will need to be prepared to accommodate.

Pitbull Laying Out on the Beach

How to Rent a Dog for a Day

Want a furry friend, but don’t know if you can make the commitment just yet ?

Dog From a Painting Chewing on a Page from a Book

BO-ZING! 8 Most Popular Dogs in Literary Fiction

Even though Spot was used in the early 1930s to teach kids the fundamentals of reading, he certainly isn’t the only canine to find his way into a good book.

Dog Drinking Water out of Fountain

How Much Water Should Your Dog Really Drink?

It’s important for us to know what is and what isn’t normal for our pets.

Neapolitan Mastiff Outside in the Yard Protective Dog Breed

The 10 Most Protective Dog Breeds

These 10 breeds are all known for their dedication to their owners and their willingness to protect them.

Dog Playing with Pink Toy on Bed

Is Your Dog Possessive Over their Toys?

It’s normal for young pups to be a bit possessive over their toys…

Pug with Wrinkles on Face by Seaside

How to Clean Your Dog’s Skin Folds

The wrinkly faces of the Pug, Bulldog, Shar Pei and other brachycephalic breeds are adorable, but they also require regular cleaning.

Cat Profile in Plane Looking out Window

How to Fly with Your Cat

You have to give yourself plenty of preparation before you and your cat are ready to go jet set off on a plane somewhere.

Pug with Flowers in His Face

10 Dangerous Things in Your Yard for Your Dog

Have you taken a good look at your yard to be sure that everything is safe for your furry friends?

Chow Chow Least Obedient Dog Cover

Watch Out! The 10 Least Obedient Dog Breeds

Every dog can be trained, but some are simply a little less motivated than others.

Two Greyhounds Laying in the Backyard

How Long Should You Leave Your Dog Alone?

There is no short answer to this question as many factors can affect it.

Black Cat in Litter Box Newspaper on Wall

Why Should You Clean the Litter Box so Frequently?

Keeping your cat’s litter box clean is extremely important to her psyche as well as her health.

Millennials Spoil their Pets Jack Russell Sleeping

How Millennials are Changing Pet Parenthood

Millennials are putting off big life events like getting married and having children.
Instead, they’re having fur babies.

What Size Dog Should You Choose Dog Reading Self Help Book

What Size Dog is Best for You?

One thing that you definitely need to consider is size.

Puppy in Training to be a Guide DogPuppy in Training to be a Guide Dog

How to Train Your Dog to Become a Guide Dog

Dogs have been helping humans for hundreds of years, so it’s no surprise that one common job for dogs is guiding the blind.

White Albino Labrador

How to Train a Deaf Dog—It’s Easy!

Luckily, training a deaf dog isn’t so different from a fully-abled dog.

White Great Dane Laying on the Couch

Why are White Coated Dogs Deaf?

Deafness affects white coated dogs, but not all white coated dogs are deaf.

Sheep Dog with Matted Fur in his Eyes

How to Get Mats out of Your Animals’ Fur

Mats in fur are an issue that many dogs face, especially shaggy ones.

Pitbull out in the Summer Sun

How to Prevent Your Dog From Overheating

It’s up to us. Our dogs don’t know when they’re overheating.

Three Greyhounds Sleeping in Dog Beds in Family Room

April is Adopt a Greyhound Month! 50 Amazing Facts about Greyhounds

The Greyhound, the professional sleeper.

Black Cat on Window Sill

7 Myths about the Black Cat and Why You Should Have One

Black cats are famous for “bad luck.”

Small Brussells Griffons Eating in Kitchen in a Line

What is Food Aggression and How Do You Stop It?

A useful response in the wild, but not so much in the home.

Yellow and Black Snake

How to Help Your Snake Shed his Skin

Shedding skin is a natural process for all reptiles.

German Shepherd Dog with Green Backpack on Back

The Top 10 Dog Traveling Gear Must Haves

Luckily, you don’t need to bring a ton of things.

Two Dogs Hike in Los Angeles

Love Traveling? Countries to NOT Travel With Your Dog To

Watch out for Belarus.

Dog Eating a Treat

Yum. Yum. Yum. Can Dogs Eat Sugar?

We love sweets, but can our dogs eat them, too?

Pitbull Looking up at the Camera

Going Out of Town? Best Pet Sitters in Atlanta

Going out of town and need someone to watch your dog?

Maine Coon Backlit by the Sunset

Feline Monsters: Norwegian Forest Cat vs. Siberian Cat vs. Maine Coon

Not only are these cats’ big, their personalities are larger than life, too.

Boston Terrier by Water

French Bulldog vs. the Boston Terrier: What’s the Difference?

To the untrained eye, French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers could be the same breed

Labradoodle Hybrid Dog with Tongue Out

Why Do People Want Hybrid Dogs?

They’re cute and they’re…healthier?

Two Cats on the Floor Bonding

5 Reasons Why You Should Adopt an Older Cat

Adopting an older cat is a great way to get an amazing cat without all the work of kittenhood.

Black Cat Outside on the Lawn

10 years? 15? How Old Do Cats Live?

Cat’s have nine lives, but how long are those lives?

Grey and White Cat with Green Eyes

How to Prevent Cat Bladder Infections

Bladder infections are the number one reason cats visit the vet.

Dog on Hillside in San Francisco, California

The Top Dog-Friendly Cities in the U.S.

How can you go wrong with a pub-crawl with your dog?

German Shepherd with Pointed Ears

What is Schutzhund and How Do You Train Your Dog for it?

This sport has withstood the test of time.

Dog International in England Shakespeare House

Your Introduction to Traveling Abroad with Your Dog

Going to a new country with your dog can be a great experience.

Brown Horse with Black Mane Trotting in Dirt

How to Manage Chronically Infected Wounds in Horses

This can be a scary thing, because infections can eventually lead to the horse’s death if left untreated for too long.

Alusky Hybrid Frozen in the Snow

The Alusky—the Hybrid of Two Great Arctic Breeds

One portmanteau that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves—the Alusky.

Two Dogs with Tongues out with Separation Anxiety

How to Beat Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a well-known problem for many pet parents.

Alaskan Malamute Standing in the Mud

65 Fun Facts About the Alaskan Malamute

They’ve lived alongside humans for thousands of years.

Egyptian Mau on Cat Tree

Where Do Different Cat Breeds Come From?

There are over 70 specific recognized breeds…that’s a lot of cats.

Alaskan Malamute Outside in the Snow

Your Go-To Guide to Snow Dog Breeds

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Girl Waving at Computer

10 Ways to Build a Strong Relationship with Your Dog

Not sure how to help your pooch feel more appreciated?

Siberian Cat Profile Outdoors

How to Read Cat Body Language

There are many tell-tale signs to indicate Kitty’s mood.

White American Eskimo by the Lake

What are the Top 10 Dog Breeds that Shed the Most?

Did you know that a dog’s coat serves three distinct purposes?