What causes dry retching in dogs?

Answered by Michael Wilson

Dry retching in dogs can be caused by various factors, but one of the most common causes is chronic bronchitis, also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This condition occurs when the bronchi in a dog’s lungs become inflamed, leading to a chronic cough.

Chronic bronchitis is often seen in older dogs, particularly small and toy breeds. It is more common in dogs with a history of respiratory issues or exposure to environmental irritants such as cigarette smoke or air pollution. In some cases, chronic bronchitis may be a result of an underlying respiratory infection or allergies.

The main symptom of chronic bronchitis in dogs is a persistent cough, which can present as a dry hack or a retching sound. This cough is often worse in the morning or after exercise, and may be triggered by excitement or stress. The cough may also be accompanied by difficulty breathing, wheezing, and increased respiratory effort.

In addition to chronic bronchitis, there are other possible causes of dry retching in dogs. These include:

1. Kennel cough: Also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can cause a dry, hacking cough. It is often seen in dogs that have been in close contact with other dogs, such as in boarding facilities or dog parks.

2. Collapsing trachea: This is a condition in which the trachea becomes weak and collapses, leading to a dry, honking cough. It is commonly seen in small breed dogs, especially Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, and Chihuahuas.

3. Heart disease: Certain heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure, can cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs, leading to coughing and retching. This is often accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, exercise intolerance, and difficulty breathing.

4. Gastrointestinal issues: In some cases, gastrointestinal issues such as acid reflux or gastritis can cause dogs to retch. The retching may be accompanied by vomiting or regurgitation of food.

5. Foreign bodies: If a dog ingests a foreign object, such as a toy or bone, it can cause irritation and inflammation in the esophagus and throat, leading to retching and coughing.

It is important to note that dry retching in dogs should not be ignored, as it can indicate an underlying health issue that requires veterinary attention. If your dog is experiencing persistent dry retching, coughing, or any other concerning symptoms, it is best to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.