My Dog Sounds Like He Has a Hairball

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What is a Hairball?

A hairball is simply a big, wad of hair that your dog coughs up. It’s formed in the stomach when your dog eats his own hair, and it might be coughed up from the throat or the lungs.

A hairball can cause some discomfort for your pet, but it is not considered dangerous if your dog passes it naturally. However if a dog has a condition like megaesophagus, then a hairball can become stuck in the esophagus, which could lead to choking and even death for your dog.

If an animal is choking on something like a hairball, then you should call your vet immediately. If you think that your pet might be vomiting from a hairball, then you should still contact the vet because there could be other issues at hand.

Is Dog Cough a Hairball?

Many pet parents worry that their dog is coughing like he has a hairball, but short coughing spells in dogs usually resolve on their own. They are caused by irritants in the air and a dry throat. 

However, prolonged coughing like your dog is trying to hack up a hairball is a sign of a more serious illness. For more information, see our article about kennel cough, Tracheal collapse, and Reverse sneezing.

Tracheal Collapse

If you notice your dog coughing often, he may have a condition called tracheal collapse. This is an inherited disorder that causes the trachea to collapse during breathing. It can result in a persistent cough or a hacking cough. 

This condition is usually triggered by exercise or excitement, and can cause chronic discomfort in dogs. Despite its unpleasant nature, this condition is treatable with medications and preventative care.

Tracheal collapse is an important veterinary condition for dogs. The trachea consists of cartilage rings that guide air from the nose to the airways in the lungs. When these cartilage rings collapse, the airway becomes narrow and blocked. 

As a result, your dog will cough excessively, making his coughing sound like a hairball. Tracheal collapse can be congenital or result from chronic respiratory disease, heart disease, or chronic bronchitis. If your dog coughs frequently, seek veterinary care right away.

Reverse Sneezing

my dog sounds like he has a hairballIf your dog has been making sounds similar to a sneeze, he may have a condition known as reverse sneezing. In this condition, a dog will breathe in deeply and forcefully through its nose, creating a snorting sound and extending his neck. 

This condition can be scary, and it may make you think your dog is choking. Fortunately, it isn’t life-threatening and usually only lasts a minute or two.

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However, this condition should not be ignored. It is important to find out what is causing your dog’s reverse sneezing fit. 

In most cases, your dog will not require any treatment. Just like a human cough, reverse sneezing fits may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. However, it is always best to visit your veterinarian to determine if your dog is experiencing this condition.

 

Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis

Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis or kennel cough is an infectious respiratory disease that causes an irritating cough. The condition is highly contagious and can be transmitted from dog to dog through casual contact, sniffing, playing, or sharing water dishes. 

It is also more likely to spread if your dog is in a kennel or a crowded environment. It is caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. The symptoms of tracheobronchitis include a persistent hacking cough and can be accompanied by an inflamed voice box.

In some cases, the trachea collapses, resulting in a dry hacking cough. The coughing is caused by a buildup of mucus in the lungs, which restricts airflow. This condition is more likely to affect small dogs (those weighing 15 pounds or less) and may require diagnostic tests such as x-rays and fluoroscopy.

Home Remedies for Kennel Cough

If your dog is coughing like a hairball or is having difficulty breathing, you should visit the vet as soon as possible. Although the symptoms of kennel cough are often manageable at home, it is important to take your dog to the vet if the cough lasts longer than ten days. 

The condition can be treated with several natural methods, but a vet can provide more information and help your pet recover.

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Honey contains antibacterial properties that can help soothe your dog’s throat and ease his coughing. It can also coat the throat and soothe the symptoms of kennel cough. 

Another natural treatment is marshmallow root. This herb is an excellent anti-inflammatory and can be added to your dog’s food. If you’d rather make his tea, simply steep it in hot water for five minutes and let it cool before giving it to him.

 

Canine Distemper

Distemper is an illness spread to dogs and other animals through airborne exposure or direct contact. Infected animals release virus aerosol droplets into the air that can infect nearby animals and surfaces. 

Infected animals can shed the virus for months. Fortunately, most disinfectants will destroy the virus.If your dog develops distemper, he should immediately see his veterinarian. He will perform diagnostic tests and prescribe supportive care. 

Treatment for this disease focuses on treating the symptoms and preventing further infection. Medications will help control the vomiting and minimize the neurological signs. Your veterinarian may recommend hospitalization to monitor your dog’s condition. 

Treatment for distemper depends on the virus strain and the immune system of your dog. Some dogs will recover within ten days, while others will exhibit neurological symptoms for weeks.

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