Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. She needs to be assessed urgently for heart and lung disease, many of which are manageable with medication if caught in time.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

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As dogs age, the cartilage rings that make up the trachea become flattened. This narrows the space inside of the trachea and makes it more difficult for air to pass through. As a result, collapsed trachea in dogs may cause a goose honking cough, gagging, and sometimes even respiratory distress.
Some of the most common reasons why your dog is coughing are heart disease, pneumonia, kennel cough, tracheal collapse, heartworm disease and canine influenza. Keep track of any other symptoms, such as coughing blood, mucus, foam, etc.
Take your dog to the vet.

Other conditions may present like a collapsed trachea. Coughing is a general sign, so not every Chihuahua that coughs is going to have a collapsed trachea. Other coughs that can mimic this problem include having a long soft palate, kennel cough, heart disease, or lungworm.

Kennel Cough is the most likely cause of your dog`s cough. It`s usually a dry, hacking cough that sounds almost like your dog has something stuck in their throat. Kennel Cough is highly contagious, dogs are most likely to get it when they`re around other dogs.
Key takeaway. If your dog is dry coughing, it may be related to a variety of underlying conditions, including, allergies, infection, tracheal collapse, and more. Alternatively, your dog`s dry cough could mean that they`re choking on a foreign object, which requires immediate medical attention.
Kennel cough, which is a type of respiratory infection, is a common cause of dog gagging, which results in a harsh, goose-like cough, sometimes followed by a gag. There are other infectious diseases that can also cause gagging, and a more severe disease—pneumonia—can sometimes cause gagging in dogs, as well.
The most common natural remedy for dogs with a kennel cough, or canine tracheobronchitis, is honey. Manuka honey, which is usually imported from New Zealand, is the most preferred type of honey.
If your dog is coughing, it is essential to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. While it is often treatable, medical attention may be needed. Also, early diagnosis of the cause of your pup`s coughing can lead to a better prognosis especially when it comes to conditions and diseases that are life-threatening.
If you`ve had a dog with kennel cough, you`ve heard the sound: a dry hack often followed by retching or gagging. Some people describe it as sounding like a cat hacking up a hairball. Kennel cough is usually mild and self-limiting, but sometimes it causes more severe illness.
What Does A Dog With A Collapsed Trachea Sound Like? The sound of the cough of a dog with a collapsed trachea makes is very distinct. It is most often described as a harsh, dry cough that sounds similar to a honking goose.
Add some water or broth to your dog`s food, to increase their water intake. If you feed kibble, consider switching to a moist food. A well hydrated body can fight off infection better and your dog will feel brighter. Another way to moisten the airways and help to break up mucous, is steam baths.
You may be able to give your older dog a spoonful of honey combined with coconut oil to help them get over a case of kennel cough. Other options may include wild cherry bark syrup or an over-the-counter dog cough suppressant. Be sure to speak to your vet first.
What is a heart cough? In heart failure, your heart muscle has dysfunction that might be due to weak contraction or stiffness. This can allow fluid to back up in yout lungs, creating a condition called pulmonary edema. Your body coughs persistently in an effort to eliminate the excess fluid.
Is Honey Safe for Dogs? Honey is safe for dogs to eat in small quantities. It contains natural sugars and small amounts of vitamins and minerals. It is also used as a sweetener in many foods and beverages.
The most common clinical sign of congestive heart failure (CHF) is persistent coughing accompanied by difficulty breathing. This is due mainly to pulmonary edema or the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. The enlarged heart will also push against the trachea, causing irritation that can induce a cough.
Yes, tracheal collapse often affects Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Toy Poodles, and Yorkshire Terriers.
Chis and other small dog breeds are more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or chronic bronchitis—also referred to as asthma. This is a progressive disease that starts with inflammation in the small airways of the lower respiratory tract.
You may notice your older dog coughing more often than when they were younger. This is because they have a lowered immune system, and so are more likely to catch common coughing illnesses, such as kennel cough.
Kennel cough (also known as bordetella) is a highly contagious bacterial disease that can affect dogs, cats, and humans.
There is no exact life expectancy for dogs with collapsed trachea. It depends on the extent of tracheal collapse, how severely it affects each dog, and how it progresses over time. Tracheal collapse is a manageable condition, and most dogs live a relatively normal life after diagnosis.
Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen.
Can I Give My Dog Human Cough Medicine? Don`t do this, Stone says. It`s best to avoid all human cough medicine because some products include xylitol, the artificial sweetener that can threaten your dog`s life.
Symptoms of collapsing trachea may be worse at night, when your dog is excited, or immediately after eating and drinking. Humid weather, smoke inhalation, and pressure on the throat from a collar may also trigger coughing fits. If the trachea is completely blocked, your dog may develop signs of being in severe pain.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. My new puppy is coughing a lot and I think it is Kennel Cough. Could it be?
ANSWER : A. Kennel Cough is similar to the human cold, and it can be caused by three categories of microorganisms.

1. Bordetella Bronchiseptica: A small bacteria which can result in bronchitis and severe cough in dogs.
2. Canine Adenovirus: A serious and contagious virus.
3. Canine Influenza Virus: An extremely contagious virus causing mild to severe respiratory symptoms in dogs.
Kennel Cough has its own course of 1 to 3 weeks and can be managed medically.

Close environments with several dogs can increase the chance of dogs catching the cough. Kennel Cough vaccination is aimed mostly at preventing the Bordetella infection through an inhalant or injection vaccination. Although not 100% effective, it should be recommended in all dogs that spend time around other dogs, even the park is considered one of these social occasions.

Kennels have their own policy with regards to Kennel Cough vaccinations and should always be contacted well ahead to understand and comply with their requirements before the stay of your dog.
If you suspect that your dog has caught Kennel Cough, you should see your veterinarian. Your dog might benefit from certain medications to speed up his recovery. These might include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and cough suppressants at your vet’s discretion.

Q. I have a 13 1/2 year old Shih Tzu. How old is he in dog years?
ANSWER : A. It’s used to be that dog years were 7 years to every 1. Now it normally around 5 years to every year as long as your dog is healthy and kept up with vaccines. So he’s about 68ish in dog years.

Read Full Q/A … : Shih Tzu Age

Q. My dog keep hacking like a cough or something in her throat, what can I do?
ANSWER : A. Hacking and coughing can be caused by a number of things ranging from foreign bodies such as twigs stuck in the mouth or throat, to infections or illnesses such as Bordetella or Kennel cough, common in dogs that frequent kennels, dog daycare or dog parks. In older dogs, heart and lung issues can also be indicated by a cough that does not go away.

If you think there may be a foreign object stuck in your dog’s throat, you can sweep a finger gently through the back of the mouth or throat if your dog will let you. If something feels stuck and is not easily moved by the finger, it is best to contact your vet to have the object safely removed. This usually requires sedation so that your dog does not become panicked or move, causing the object to become further stuck or cut the throat.

If your dog is showing other symptoms of illness in addition to the cough such as runny nose or eyes, fever, lethargy or changes in appetite, it may indicate a viral or bacterial illness such as kennel cough. These are usually treated with a cough medication in severe cases, plus rest and treatment of any additional symptoms until the condition improves. In bacterial causes, antibiotics may also be given to help your dog feel better.

If your dog has a constant cough that does not go away, or has had changes in ability to exercise, breathing, or appears to have swelling around the chest or abdomen, in may indicate a lung or heart issue. Your vet can thoroughly examine your dog for any signs of heart or lung problems and can then offer care as needed depending on the cause.

Q. My C. K. Charles has an asmathic cough. Ok most of the day, but worse in hotter rooms in the evening. What’s wrong?
ANSWER : A. Coughing in dogs can be caused by a number of things including allergies, asthma, illness such as Bordetella (kennel cough) or even lung and heart problems.

Allergies and asthma can cause a dog to have a raspy cough, and they may wheeze, sneeze or have running noses or trouble breathing when active or in an area where the allergen is present. Your vet can determine if an allergy or asthma is present and provide medication as needed to help with symptoms.

Bordetella can also cause a deep hacking cough, and is common in dogs that frequent doggy day cares, kennels or dog parks. The causes can be bacterial or viral, and treatment depends on if any secondary symptoms such as fever or dehydration is present. Treatment involves cough suppressants from your vet, or even antibiotics and fluids to treat secondary illnesses. Other illnesses such as heartworm may cause a chronic cough and exercise intolerance and should be looked for if your dog is not already on a heartworm preventive.

Small dogs are also prone to a condition called collapsing tracheas, and Cavaliers are very prone as a breed to heart and lung issues. Collapsing tracheae often cause a gasping or hacking cough when excited or active, and may require treatment if they become problematic. Heart and lung problems such as heart failure or genetic abnormalities can also cause coughing as a sign of the illness. Your vet can perform a complete exam to check the health of the lungs and heart.

Q. Hi I have two cats that are a year old. I constantly have dry food in their bowl, but how many sachets of wet food should I give them?
ANSWER : A. They do not require wet food if they have sufficient, complete formula dry food; most cats will self regulate their intake of dry food. You can use sachets as a treat or regular meal but it will be important to monitor their body weight and make sure they are not becoming overweight with the addition to ad lib dry food; you may have to restrict their dry food if this is the case. Every brand is different in its feeding recommendations also so it is impossible to advise about ‘how much food’. Your vet tech can recommend if they need to gain or indeed lose weight and can advise in relation to specific brands for your cats

Q. Does an indoor cat need to be vaccinated every year?
ANSWER : A. In practice, I recommend a feline combo vaccine every year, but will generally start administering every 3 years once they have had their kitten vaccines and 2 additional yearly vaccines. Rabies, is required yearly by law, and if kept up to date can be good for up to three years also. Based on the age of your cat I would give a yearly feline combo and rabies, and then boost the combo again next year.

Q. I cannot afford vet care. Can I treat my 13 year old dog for kennel cough with OTC meds?
ANSWER : A. Not really, he/she needs antibiotics. You can try to nebulize her at home or even run the shower on hot with the door closed to create a steam room, then turn off the water and leave him/her in there for 15 minutes to help clear the mucous out and help him/her breath better. Sometimes it will help but many times it does not clear the problem. You really need antibiotics if it is indeed kennel cough. Are you sure it is not a heart issue causing the cough? Especially being he/she is a little older I would suspect a heart issue causing the cough and not kennel cough. You should really seek vet care somehow.

Q. My 13 year old Chihuahua has a very bad dry coughing it’s almost constant
ANSWER : A. She needs to be assessed urgently for heart and lung disease, many of which are manageable with medication if caught in time.