w/Cushing

Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Chronic coughing/gagging can have many causes, although I wouldn’t chalk it up to the Cushing’s disease. Sounds like it’s unlikely that she has an infectious disease like Kennel Cough, so I’d be considering things like heart disease, collapsing trachea (extremely common in toy and small breeds), and chronic bronchitis. Talk to your vet about your concerns with the coughing, and make sure the heart and lungs have been checked out thoroughly.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Two very common things that can cause gagging in dogs are infectious problems and laryngeal paralysis. 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.
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.
It is important to understand the causes of gagging in order to provide the best care and treatment for your canine companion. Common causes of gagging include acid reflux, laryngeal diseases, megaesophagus, tracheitis, cricopharyngeal dysphagia, foreign material, and mass such as a polyp or cancerous mass.
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.
Like humans, your dog`s tonsils can become swollen and inflamed, causing a sore throat. This could potentially interfere with your dog`s swallowing and natural gag reflex. If your dog has swollen tonsils it can cause repeated gagging and dry heaving. Contact your vet if you believe your dog might have swollen tonsils.
Dry heaving can be caused by a variety of factors in dogs, including gastrointestinal problems, respiratory issues, heartworms, or even stress and anxiety. In some cases, dry heaving can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as gastric torsion or bloat, which can be life-threatening for dogs.
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.
Honey can be a great home remedy for kennel cough as it can help soothe your dog`s throat and minimize coughing. You can give your dog 1/2 tablespoon to 1 tablespoon of honey mixed with a little warm water in a bowl. This can be offered up to three times a day depending on how often your dog is coughing.
Recurring gagging or non-stop gagging is a cause for concern and will require veterinary intervention. Possible causes of recurring gagging include: Foreign object in the throat, esophagus or mouth. Kennel cough.
Kennel cough is rarely severe, and uncomplicated kennel cough will usually go away on its own. However, medications are commonly given to help your dog recover quicker and prevent the condition from worsening. If you suspect your dog has kennel cough, take them to the vet for an examination.
More concerning, a wet rattling, whistling, or wheezing cough can be a sign of heartworm or canine distemper. A cough that sounds like a goose honking may indicate tracheal collapse especially if combined with bluish gums, intolerance to exercise, and sensitivity to touch around the throat.
Wheezing in dogs occurs when something impairs or blocks the flow of air in the windpipe, causing stridor (a whistling sound). This can be caused by swelling and inflammation in the airways, something getting stuck in the windpipe, or a number of medical issues.
The most common sign of lung cancer in dogs is a chronic cough. But it`s rare that a chronic cough in your dog will be a sign of lung cancer. A chronic cough is usually due to a respiratory disease … like bronchitis or asthma-type allergies.
Sometimes when dogs become excited or anxious they can cough. This is usually seen in dogs with tracheal collapse (where part of their windpipe has begun to collapse) because their heightened state of excitement or anxiety means that they are breathing harder.
Canine influenza is a viral infection that primarily affects dogs, but can sicken cats, too. Currently, two strains have been identified in the United States: H3N8 and H3N2.
If your dog is hacking or constantly making noises that make it sound like they are choking on something, they may have a case of canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC), or kennel cough, or sometimes called canine infectious tracheobronchitis.
Encourage Your Dog to Rest

Adequate rest is one of the best remedies for kennel cough. If your dog gets plenty of sleep, it will give his body a chance to fight the virus and recover properly. Put your dog in a room by himself, away from kids and other pets. This way, he will not be disturbed while trying to rest.

Kennel cough is the dog version of the human common cold. So … even though that hacking cough can sound nasty, it`s not usually serious. Like a cold, it`s normally a self-limiting disease. That means your dog will get over it on his own in time.
Persistent Loud Cough

The first and most common sign of heartworm in dogs is a loud cough. Coughing in dogs is unusual and a sign of worry. While a dog coughing once is not anything to be worried about, owners should seek medical help if the cough worsens and becomes persistent.

Doctors sometimes refer to this as a cardiac cough. A cough that occurs as a symptom of heart failure is usually persistent and produces white or pink blood-tinged mucus. However, if the cough results from a medication for heart failure, it may sound dry.
Typically allergies will present as a hacking dry cough; although, dogs with chronic allergies and chronic bronchitis may have a deeper sounding cough. Veterinarians will typically prescribe steroids or antihistamines for this type of cough.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

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. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

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. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

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. My dog coughs and gags constantly . She was never with other dogs or animals. She still has appetite and is still lively. She was diagnosed w/Cushing
ANSWER : A. Chronic coughing/gagging can have many causes, although I wouldn’t chalk it up to the Cushing’s disease. Sounds like it’s unlikely that she has an infectious disease like Kennel Cough, so I’d be considering things like heart disease, collapsing trachea (extremely common in toy and small breeds), and chronic bronchitis. Talk to your vet about your concerns with the coughing, and make sure the heart and lungs have been checked out thoroughly.

Q. How do I desensitize my dog to squirrels and stray cats in the neighborhood?
ANSWER : A. It depends on the goal that you have in mind. I am going to assume that you would prefer that your dog not chase squirrels or stray cats in the yard/street. In this case, your options include: (1) training your dog on a “Leave it ” cue using positive reinforcement methods, (2) training your dog not to pull on its leash when it sees a squirrel/stray cat, and (3) training your dog to perform a more desirable behavior when it sees a squirrel/cat.
Training your dog on a cued “leave it” command is useful because it will give you the ability to tell your dog to stay away from any number of undesirable objects on your command. Training your dog to perform a more desireable behavior when it sees a squirrel or cat will substitute a behavior you find acceptable (sitting, laying down, coming to the door, etc.) with a behavior you dislike. Your dog can still react, just in a positive way. If your dog pulls on the leash every time you see a squirrel/cat, training not to pull will make your walk safer and more pleasant.
The ideal training method to use with dogs, or any animal for that matter, is positive reinforcement training, particularly a method called “clicker- training.” The basic concept of positive reinforcement training is to pair a reward (reinforcement) with a behavior you want to increase in frequency. In other words, when your dog performs the behavior you desire, it receives an award, which reinforces the desired behavior so you get more of that behavior. There are many excellent books in stores or on-line that describe positive reinforcement training in detail and many give step-by-step instructions for training common commands like “leave it”. Look for books that specifically mention positive reinforcement training or clicker-training. You can also take dog training classes to learn the techniques, find a mentor who already uses clicker-training, or request a consult from one of the pet experts on this site to guide you.