Benadryl Dosage for Dogs

The Benadryl Dosage Chart infographic below is an abbreviated guide.  The chart shows the most commonly accepted Benadryl dosage for dogs. 

I am not a veterinarian and I cannot prescribe or diagnose your dog.  Please do not give your dog an over-the-counter medication without checking with a licensed veterinarian first. 

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The Appropriate Benadryl Dosage for Dogs

WARNING:  Please make sure that the Benadryl used is either a tablet or capsule. The liquid form contains ingredients that can be harmful to your dog. Make sure there is no alcohol, acetaminophen, pseudoephedrine, or artificial sweeteners. Xylitol is extremely toxic for dogs.

Benadryl Dosage for Dogs
Benadryl can make a dog sleepy.

Here is a Simple Formula For You

The generally accepted rule is to administer 1 mg per pound, two to three times daily.

Very Small Dogs (4 – 10 pounds)

The appropriate Benadryl dosage for dogs in this case would be 1/4 of a tablet. 

Small Dogs (10 – 20 pounds)

In this case, the dosage would be 1/2 tablet.

Medium Dogs (20 – 30 pounds)

A medium dog would take 1 Benadryl tablet.

Large Dogs (30 pounds and over)

The dosage rules change a little when we get to very large dogs. Types of very large dogs include: Great Dane, Mastiff, Newfoundland, St. Bernard, Great Pyrenees.

How to Administer Benadryl to Dogs

Most dogs will eat just about anything you put in front of them. However, there are those picky dogs that you have to trick.  I usually stick a tablet inside a piece of bread and that works.  Some dogs are a little smarter than mine and need different options.

Pet stores sell various types of treats that come with a hole in which to place the tablet.  Dogs are usually so happy to get treats they’ll just gobble it up in seconds without even noticing the pill.  

Benadryl Capsules 

If you are using Benadryl capsules, break one open and sprinkle it on the dog’s food, mix it with a teaspoon of peanut butter, or sprinkle on a piece of toast.  


REMINDER:  Refer to the Benadryl dosage chart before using an entire gel cap!  A small to medium dog doesn’t need as much of the medication. You might have to buy a tablet that you can cut into appropriate sizes.

Side Effects of Benadryl for Dogs

It’s always worth pointing out potential side effects. The most common side effects include dry mouth, fatigue, rapid breathing, and urinary retention.  If you’re sticking with the Benadryl dosage chart, however, most healthy dogs will not show any serious side effects.  You may not even notice the ones noted above.

Disease versus Benadryl for Dogs 

Never assume that that Benadryl dosage chart is right for all dogs. In fact, your veterinarian may have very good reasons for not recommending the medicine at all. 

If your dog has any kind of chronic condition (diabetes, Cushing’s, allergies that have secondary bacterial infections, glaucoma, etc.) ask your veterinarian if Benadryl is appropriate.

If your dog hasn’t been to see the veterinarian for a while, he/she may suggest a visit.  The reason for this is so that the dog can be examined for underlying conditions. There’s a chance that your dog needs more than just Benadryl, or that the problem you thought you were treating wasn’t actually the whole picture.

You Don’t Want to Miss These TIPS:

Just because you gave your dog Benadryl safely a few years ago, doesn’t mean it’s safe now.  Remember, your dog’s health may have changed and he/she could have underlying conditions you are not aware of.

Look at the product ingredients to be sure it only contains diphenhydramine. Some Benadryl products have added ingredients.

Benadryl should not be given to your dog long-term. If your dog continues to suffer from allergies and itching, bring him/her to the veterinarian.  Aggressive itching and biting at the area can cause a bacterial infection.

Read About Lick Granulomas here!

At the end of the day, everyone wants a happy and healthy dog.  Remember that you’re not alone when it comes to health-care decision making. Always check with a licensed veterinarian before administering over-the-counter drugs designed for people or pets. The appropriate Benadryl dosage for dogs may vary according to special health considerations.  

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Benadryl for Dogs Dosage Chart

11 Must-Do’s For Puppy’s First Night at Home

I love puppies and I bet you do too. I mean, how can you trust a person who doesn’t love puppies?

Your puppy’s first night at home is a big deal! In time, the puppy will become part of the family and you will be his/her pack, so don’t worry about those first mishaps. There’s no guarantee you won’t initially be awake half the night, but I know that the following tips are going to go a long way in preparing you, your family, and the new puppy for a new adventure.

In this post, I’m going to give you 11 things that you can do to prepare for puppy’s first night at home. They’re all easy and inexpensive, but hugely important.  Let’s go!

1  Bring Something Familiar for Puppy’s First Night at Home.

A puppy’s sense of smell is developed from the minute he or she is born.  The first thing they likely smell is their mother and the old blanket she is laying on. 

Ask the shelter, breeder, or person you are getting the puppy from if you can have a familiar object for the puppy’s first night at home.  That might include a familiar blanket, a towel, a piece of clothing, or a chew-toy.

#2  Put the Puppy in a Crate From the First Night.

Everybody wants a piece of the puppy the minute he or she is in your house. When the sun goes down, a family argument over which bed the puppy should sleep on begins.

The truth is, puppies should not sleep on beds until they are old enough to jump on and off themselves.

After the lights go out and everybody goes to bed, the puppy is left in a big, scary, unfamiliar home.  The anxiety will probably cause unwanted behaviour like shoe-chewing.

To make it easier on everyone, let the puppy sleep in a crate overnight. And don’t think you are doing the puppy a favour by giving him a huge crate!  Puppies do better in crates that are appropriate for the size of the puppy.  Not too big, and not too small.

#3  Minimize Puppy Anxiety to Maximize Best Behaviour

I had no idea what to expect the day I brought my golden retriever home. She was about 10 weeks old and actually started off on a good foot (or paw!). 

That changed quickly whenever I left the house. Unfortunately, nobody told me to put her in a crate from time to time. Instead, I left her with free roam of the house. What a disaster! She chewed through hundreds of dollars worth of shoes and systematically shredded every pillow, cushion, and book, in the house.

It’s a big, new world for your puppy and he or she needs you! If you’re able to bring your puppy with you wherever you go…great! However, it’s probably not practical all of the time. Get your puppy used to going into the crate when you’re going out. Again, the crate is going to provide a sense of security.

#4  It’s Time to Put SNARL Into Action!

SNARL is an easy way to remember the following requirements of dog ownership:

  • S = Spay
  • N= Neuter
  • A = Arrange for vaccinations
  • R = Rabies shots required
  • L = Licensing for your dog

#5  Get a License to Own a Dog 

Laws differ depending on where you live, so check with your local SPCA to find out what licensing you need for your new puppy.  For example, the State of New Jersey Department of Health requires owners to have a license for dogs seven months of age or older. 

Before you can get a license, you’ll have to provide proof of vaccination.  Licensing is inexpensive and the money is used to fund nonprofit organizations like low cost spay and neuter programs.

If your puppy happens to get away and is picked up by Animal Control, you’ll pay a much higher fine than the original cost of licensing.

Um…don’t forget how much new puppy’s like to pee…especially wherever they are not supposed to!

#6 Start Walking the Puppy

Everybody knows that dogs need to be walked and we all say we are going to do it. Then it rains. Or you get tired. The truth is, your dog is going to be much better behaved if he or she is walked regularly.

When the puppy is very young, a short ten or fifteen minute walk is enough. As the dog grows, the length of the walk should grow as well.  Walking provides the following benefits:

  • Weight control
  • Blood pressure control – yours!
  • It allows your puppy to exercise his or her mind through a myriad of sights, smells, and sounds.
  • Walking promotes a balanced dog and a balanced dog is a pleasure to be around.
  • You get to show the dog that you are the pack leader!  I highly recommend Cesar Milan’s books on being a pack leader. I’ve read all of his books and I can promise you his methods work if you stick with it.

#7 Start a Healthy Diet From the Get-Go

It’s easier to start a healthy diet from day 1 than it is to try and change it drastically later. Keep in mind that the needs of a new puppy are different than that of a mature dog.

Your veterinarian can help guide you through the process of starting an awesome diet right away. Choice of diet is up to you and whether your dog has any allergies.

READ: 99 Reasons to Buy a Pebby Toy!

#8 Get Your Puppy Micro-Chipped

There’s nothing worse than having your dog disappear.  My little Labrador retriever could easily pick up a scent and off she’d go! 

I quickly learned to keep her on a lead and watch her every move when outside.  If she had been micro-chipped, I could have saved myself a lot of anxiety. Once a dog is brought into the SPCA or a shelter, the dog is scanned for a micro-chip. Once that chip is found, the dog and the owner can be quickly reunited.

#9  Trim Those Claws

Start playing with your puppy’s paws early to get her or him used to the sensation. Dogs can get “funny” about their paws and it isn’t easy to trim the nails when they get older. I find that by getting them used to it sooner rather than later, the process is less stressful. Besides, doing it yourself might save you money at the groomer’s.

#10  Keep Those Sharp Teeth Busy

Puppy’s have very sharp teeth and, like infants, they learn about the world by putting things into their mouths. Keep your hands and ankles safe by providing good quality chew toys for your new puppy.  Good quality is key. The last thing you want are toys that are broken on day 1.  Remember that pieces of broken toys are choking hazards.

#11  Watch the Door!

I had no idea how fast puppies were until my little Labrador retriever took off one day. I had accidentally left the screen door open and she was outside on the lawn in seconds.

11 Must-Do's for Puppy's First Night at Home
Puppies are a bad idea to give as Christmas presents!  As cute as they are, puppies should never be brought home on impulse.

People often use the same barriers used to protect babies from falling downstairs.  By installing barriers around your house, you can prevent unfortunate – or deadly – accidents.

There’s a lot more to owning a puppy than what you see here. In my opinion, these are some of the more important things to do in the beginning. As the weeks and months go by, you will learn more about your dog and your dog will learn more about you!  Socialization is important but watch out for over-zealous children who might be a little too rough on your brand new puppy. Start with a great diet and make sure to get those vaccinations ASAP.

I wish you luck with your new puppy and I’d like to invite you to send photos!  Don’t be shy…tell me your funny dog stories. I want to know how you survived those first few weeks with a new puppy.  Now that you know what to do with your new puppy, make sure you share the post with others.

Learn all you can about the health of your dog by starting HERE.

Plain Language Explanations of Luxating Patella Dog Massage

Before I talk about luxating patella dog massage, it’s important that I let you know I am not a veterinarian. I don’t play one on TV, either. I do, however, carefully research everything that I write about and I always suggest that dog owners consult with their veterinarian for any dog-health concerns. 

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In this article, I want to try to provide plain-language information that will help you do 3 things:

  • Understand the dynamics of a luxating patella.
  • Recognize the 4 grades of a luxating patella.
  • How to carefully administer luxating patella dog massage.

What the Heck is Luxating Patella Dog Massage?

Before I get into luxating patella dog massage, I need to help you understand what the condition is.  You have to understand that luxating patella dog massage should only be administered after a veterinarian has diagnosed the condition, shown you some methods, and has given you the okay to practice this at home.

 A luxating patella is also known as a:

  • trick-knee,
  • slipped kneecap,
  • dislocated kneecap
  • floating kneecap

Those are words everybody can understand! To help explain what happens, I’m going to ask you to picture a child’s race track. You remember those? You place the toy car at the top of the track and let it go. In theory, the car is suppose to barrel down the track, do a complete loop, and finish right-side-up at the end of the track.

I’ve played with a few race tracks in my life, including one I bought for my son, and it never quite worked the way it was supposed to. It always seemed as if the groove in the race track wasn’t deep enough, and the toy cars were too light.

As a result, the car would end up jumping the track.  What happens to the car is similar to what happens to the dog’s knee when it slips out of joint.

In a dog, the kneecap sits in a groove something like that of a race track. If the groove is deep enough, there’s no problem. If the groove is too flat, the knee is at risk of sliding left or right.


Lateral luxation is actually rare and happens when the kneecap slides to the outside of the leg.


This is much more common, especially in small breeds. In this case, the kneecap slips out of the groove and slides toward the dog’s body.

When this happens, you might notice your dog jump and skip. It kind of looks like a bunny hop, then quickly fixes itself. It’s possible it’s happened many times before you even noticed it.

I love the way the woman in the video below explains it. She has slo-mo images of her dog running and climbing and makes it super easy to understand! It’s worth taking a few minutes to watch it.

Hello? You Were Going to Talk About Luxating Patella Dog Massage!

Right.  Sorry.  So here’s the thing; luxating patella dog massage should only be done after a veterinarian shows you precisely how to do it. I’m not trying to get out of explaining it to you (in fact, I will try). I just want to make sure you understand that unless the problem is very minor, massage isn’t the answer, and could even make it worse.

Okay, so let’s assume you’ve been to the veterinarian and you’ve been given some tips on luxating patella massage. The first thing you should do is sit with your dog in a relaxed, quiet location. Instead of going straight for the knee, I prefer to calmly pet my dog in long, slow motions from the tip of the head down the back. Here are a few steps to get into it:

1) Make sure you’re in a quiet location without other animals around.

2) Sit quietly with your dog until he/she is fully relaxed.

3) I start with regular patting in long, easy strokes. Once I see my dog is okay with this, I gradually increase the pressure. Not too much!

4) Once my dog’s head is down and I can see she’s fully relaxed, I gently but firmly encircle the top of each leg (the healthy legs first) and rub from the top, down towards each kneecap, but not on the kneecap.

5) Never apply a lot of pressure directly on the kneecap or any joint.

6) Finally, when I get to the tender knee, I ease my way into it with soft rubbing around the knee (not on the knee). When I see my dog isn’t flinching or scared, I start back at the top of that leg. Using just my thumbs, I press firmly and slide my thumbs down to the kneecap and stop. I repeat that several times to bring blood flow to the knee.

7) Again, never place direct pressure on any joint. That said, I carefully move my hand over the knee to get a sense of how it feels. If it feels like it’s in place and my dog still isn’t showing any distress, I will continue massaging the leg, always being extra careful around the knee joint.

I like the following youtube video demonstrating dog massage although I’m not in a position to endorse it. I would massage my dog, but only if he/she had no serious condition.

No massage oil is needed or required.


Hey, it’s not that I don’t trust you. I’m not a veterinarian, and if you’re reading this I’m guessing you’re not a veterinarian either. Here’s the thing, if the luxating patella is graded 2, 3, or especially 4, the dog may require surgery and physiotherapy. Performing at-home massage could aggravate the condition and you don’t want that.

Here is a List of Dogs More Prone to Luxating Patella:

Small, or toy breeds, tend to be more prone to this problem. In many cases it’s simply a genetic defect. Puppies should be exercised in moderation. Excessive exercise while the puppy is still forming his/her skeletal body could inflict damage. However, that’s really not the main cause of the problem.

You’re more likely to see luxating patellas in:

  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Pekingese
  • Chihuahua
  • Boston Terrier
  • Pomeranian
  • Affenpinscher
  • American cocker spaniel
  • Basset hound
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • English springer spaniel
  • Lhasa Apsa
  • Maltese
  • Papillon
  • Pomeranian
  • Toy Poodle
  • Pug
  • Shar Pei

What Were You Saying About Grading a Luxating Patella?

Like any medical condition, there are usually different grades of a disease or condition. With a dog, slipped knees or trick knees are classified in grades of 1 to 4 as follows:

1. Grade I:  This is a fairly easy grade to manage. The knee might slip out of place but it easily goes back in. It can be massaged and generally doesn’t become a huge problem. The dog isn’t in pain.

2. Grade II: Things get a little trickier here. The knee can be put back into place but it’s likely to come right back out once the dog resumes activity. He might not be in pain, but there’s a possibility of developing arthritis. And THAT will cause pain.

3. Grade III: You can probably guess that we’re getting into some tricky territory at this point. Here, the dog is in pain and there’s a greater likelihood that surgery will be required because the knee remains out of joint most of the time.

4. Grade IV:  At this level, the kneecap simply can’t be manually readjusted, even with the leg fully extended.

Will Luxating Patella Dog Massage Ever Be An Option?

Here’s the answer everyone hates:  yes and no.

Luxating patella dog massage is never advised at grades 2 to 4, which is why you need to have your veterinarian’s approval. He/she is the only person who can tell you what stage the dog is in.

Again, the steps to massage I’ve noted above are not to be performed on a dislocated kneecap and never without your veterinarian’s okay. Your dog might not require surgery, but a knee brace and/or physiotherapy is possible. Another treatment mode could include hydrotherapy.

If your dog must have surgery, the veterinarian will suggest the best post-recovery plan for your dog. During the healing process, the leg and knee should not be massaged at all. The veterinarian MIGHT give you the okay after the knee has had time to heal in position, but ask first.

Types of Surgical Intervention:

Veterinarians generally don’t want to jump straight to surgery. It’s expensive (somewhere in the $2000 range), and there is always a risk when putting a dog under anesthesia. If surgery is recommended, it usually follows three steps:

  • the groove is deepened (remember the analogy of the race track?)
  • malformation of the shin bone is corrected
  • over-stretched ligaments around the kneecap are shortened.

In a long-term situation where the cartilage has completely worn away (the way it does with arthritic patients), the kneecap can be put back in place, but the cartilage cannot be replaced. In this situation, the dog has a better quality of life, but it isn’t perfect.

Luxating Patellas (Slipped Knees) Can Happen at Any Age

If you have a small dog breed, don’t think you’re out of the woods because he/she is still a puppy. In fact, if genetics plays a role (and it usually does), you might see this problem earlier rather than later.

If you ever see your dog suddenly do a “bunny hop” that quickly returns to normal, don’t pass it off as a one-time thing. That’s a clear sign of a sliding kneecap.

If your dog is getting older and has had this problem, there is a risk of the dog tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee (otherwise known as the ACL joint). This is really painful and likely requires surgery.

So…What Am I Looking For Exactly?

In the early stages, it might actually look cute. You know..your dog is running and jumping, hopping and shaking his leg. It’s quick and it returns to normal so you might e inclined to think it was just a “thing”.  In reality, you should be watching for the following signs:

  • Limping.
  • Favoring one leg
  • Knee won’t bend
  • Pain when moving the leg
  • Hesitates to jump or run
  • Won’t exercise at all

Gently inspect your dog’s leg for any swelling and make an appointment to see the veterinarian. While on the phone, ask what you can do to make your dog more comfortable while waiting for the appointment.

Good luck! The best part of having a dog is the joy and exuberance it brings to the family. Nothing takes joy out of your life than a dog who can’t move. It’s sad and painful for everybody. Take good care of your little family member and remember….no massage unless the veterinarian has given instruction.

Hi!  I’m Lisa and this is one of my dog’s Coco. He’s a hoot. In this photo, he obviously doesn’t want to give up the ball. 

Look, I’ve already mentioned that I’m not a veterinarian. I love dogs and I would never knowingly say or do anything to harm them. Please take the information I’ve given you for entertainment purposes. I think it’s mostly on-track, but I would rather you take your dog to a qualified veterinarian.

Take a minute to read my disclaimer and privacy policy on the homepage and make sure you come back! I’ve got lots of info up my sleeve and big plans for the future that you don’t want to miss. 

How to Treat a Sebaceous Cyst on a Dog

A sebaceous cyst on a dog is nothing to worry about.  My dogs are about middle-aged now, which is 7 years old for them. Their youthful glow still lurks, but I’ve noticed changes too. For one thing, they have a lot of lumps and bumps that I find unnerving. 

The veterinarian says a sebaceous cyst on a dog is nothing to worry about, yet I keep poking and manipulating them. My dogs think I’m weird.

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Please read my privacy policy.

The one thing I do know about are a sebaceous cyst on a dog (also known as sebaceous pimples) is that you cannot pop them.

Have you ever heard that you shouldn’t squeeze a pimple no matter how tempting it is? Same thing for a sebaceous cyst on dogs.  When you squeeze, the waxy material inside (made up of keratin, blood, and pus) sinks back into the skin tissue.

Some of it will come out, but the stuff left inside will just make the cyst return and might even cause an infection.

You can detect an infected sebaceous cyst by touching it. An infected cyst will feel warm. However, if you can leave it alone while preventing your dog from biting it, it shouldn’t get infected.

Do I Just Ignore an Ugly Sebaceous Cyst on a Dog?

Kind of, yeah.  If the cyst is in a place that doesn’t bother the dog or hinders his/her eyesight or movement, it’s best to leave it alone. That said, what you think is a sebaceous cyst might be something else (cancerous), so please have it checked out as soon as you can. 

Here are some tips for identifying a sebaceous cyst on a dog:

1) It should feel slightly firm but moveable just under the skin.

2)  These cysts are painless growths that have a white-tinge to them (and sometimes blueish streak).

3) They might grow over time.

4) Sebaceous cyst on a dog are will feel round just beneath the dog’s skin.

5) Dogs are most likely to develop sebaceous cysts on their paws, head, back, and tail.

What is The Worse-Case Scenario for a Sebaceous Cyst on a Dog?

The worst-case scenario here would involve interference of the cyst through manual popping.  It’s going to hurt your dog and leave the wound open to infection. Once infection sets in, your dog will require antibiotics. 

Will Sebaceous Cysts on Dogs Go Away on Their Own?

A sebaceous cyst on a dog will take one of three trajectories:   1) It will dissolve on its own.   2) It will rupture naturally.   3) It will wall itself off.    When a sebaceous cyst walls itself off, it forms a protective barrier keeping it from erupting. If it feels like little peas inside, just leave it alone. Once walled off, the cyst will remain the same. Remember, these are typically benign and don’t need a lot of medical intervention.  That said, I think it’s important to mention again that you should get any new lumps and bumps checked out by a veterinarian. He/she will provide you with the best advice.

What Caused A Sebaceous Cyst to Grow on My Dog?

A Sebaceous cyst on a dog forms within the skin when sebum (the oily substance created by the sebum glands on the skin before blocked). Normally, sebum is released from hair (or fur) follicles through the sebaceous gland ducts beneath the skin.  Sebum is normally distributed through your dog’s fur with protects the skin and gives the fur a healthy shine.   When blocked, the sebum has no way of escaping through the skin. As a result, the material backs up into one place causing a raised cyst. The cyst itself is made up of when a collection of dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, or pus. The matter within the cyst has a horrible smell and can look like curdled milk or a dark, waxy substance.

What if The Sebaceous Cyst on my Dog Ruptures on its own?

If the cyst happens to burst on its own, you’ll need to keep the area clean and disinfected. It’s not going to be pretty, but you will need to really keep that area clean to prevent serious infection. You’ll also need to prevent your dog from digging at the wound, or licking it. You should bring your dog to the veterinarian if the sebaceous cyst bursts. He/she will provide some medication to help heal the area. In more extreme cases, surgical removal might be an option, especially if it affects your dog’s quality of life.

Are There Any At-Home Treatments I Can Use?

The best treatment is a preventative one. Too much bathing and too little bathing can both cause the development of sebaceous cyst on a dog. Maintain a regular bath routine with a good quality shampoo formulated specifically for dogs.

Personally, I am a big fan of Burt’s Bees products. They have a great line for dogs that are naturally pH balanced.

Some people like to use a turmeric paste to apply topically, and others sprinkle it into the dog food. I have never tried turmeric in my dog’s diet, and I always recommend checking with your veterinarian before trying it.

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is leave it alone. If you see signs of infection (redness, warmth) see the veterinarian.

Good luck! Now that you’ve read all about sebaceous cyst on a dog, why not share with social media. Just a click on one of the buttons is all I ask and it only takes a second of your time.

Interested in learning more about skin problems in dogs including dermatitis?  Check out this post!

To find out what Lisa is really about…click here.

11 Reasons for Dog Coughing and Gagging

The first time I heard my dog coughing and gagging, I was a little alarmed. I jumped up and looked around the corner where Emma, my lab, was sitting in the hallway looking perfectly fine. She did it a few more times later and, at one point, I actually pried her mouth open to see if there was something stuck in his throat.

It turned out to be nothing. The veterinarian suspected her immune system was low and suggested a few good dog food brands to help.

If you are worried about your dog’s coughing and gagging, read the rest of this article.  Irritants, disease, parasitic infections, and tracheal collapse are all risk factors to consider. If your dog is coughing and gagging while coughing up blood, stop reading this post and call the veterinarian right away!

I am going to describe the more common reasons for persistent cough in dogs, along with available treatment options.  Check out the viral video at the bottom of this post before you leave! These are serious issues we’re talking about, but I wanted a chance to give you a laugh. I mean…dogs are seriously funny.

Make sure to read through the post so that you don’t miss an opportunity to grab a free copy of 25 Compassionate Ways to Nurse Your Dog Back to Health.

So, here we go:

11 Indispensable Tips on The Reasons Behind Dog Coughing and Gagging

  1. Kennel Cough:

Kennel Cough is something like the common cold in humans. You or I are more susceptible to influenza or the common cold when we are run down, tired, or recovering from other illness. The same holds true for dogs. Common pathogens that leave your dog susceptible to kennel cough include:

  • canine distemper
  • canine adenovirus
  • parainfluenza virus
  • canine coronavirus
  • Influenza H3N8

Animals in close quarters (like boarding kennels) tend to be more susceptible to kennel cough. Kennel cough breaks down the mucus lining of the larynx and trachea.  The inflammation creates the dry cough common to the virus. Other symptoms include:

  • retching
  • gagging
  • vomiting
  • heaving
  • vomiting

The dry “honking” cough is the most distinct symptom of the illness. If your dog has recently been in close contact with other dogs, under stress, or recovering from another illness, bring him or her to the veterinarian if the dog develops a persistent cough.  Don’t expect your dog to be listless and tired because that is not always the case.

Treatment of Kennel Cough

Veterinarians will typically treat kennel cough with a dual-purpose antibiotic to treat the bacteria along with the underlying virus. Common prescription medications include:

  • Baytril
  • Doxycycline
  • Claymox

To supplement prescribed treatment, you can also feed your dog a tablespoon of honey twice a day to ease his throat.

  1. Coughing and Gagging in Dogs with a Collapsing Trachea

Middle-aged and older small dog breeds inherit collapsing trachea syndrome. Weakness to the trachea causes the slow collapse, resulting in a variety of symptoms including coughing.



 This syndrome is inherited at birth or the result of an underlying condition like heart disease. Weight management is extremely important over the dog’s lifetime.  The smaller the windpipe becomes, the less air the dog is able to bring in. Surgery is recommended in severe cases.

Symptoms of tracheal collapse in small dogs include:

  • retching
  • attempts to vomit
  • rapid breathing
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • dry cough (honking sound)
  • cyanosis

Small dogs with tracheal collapse may suddenly lose consciousness.

Treatment of Tracheal Collapse

  • management of symptoms through weight loss
  • medications
  • sedation

Collapsing trachea is a chronic, progressive disease. Dogs with tracheal collapse need to be removed from smoke-filled atmospheres.  Mild exercise performed with extreme caution and building a strong immune system can help.

  1. Chronic Bronchitis (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

I suffered with chronic bronchitis as a child and into my early adult years. Months of violent coughing and gagging had me completely worn down.  I’m sure it feels the same way for our dogs.

Chronic bronchitis, a condition caused by an underlying disease like kennel cough, can last for months. It can get worse if not treated.

Dogs (typically toy breeds) will exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing or other abnormal lung sounds
  • Hard to breath
  • Throwing up
  • Gagging
  • May lose consciousness

Always bring your dog to the veterinarian if your dog develops a cough that lasts more than a few days.  Pay attention to your dog’s signs and symptoms to report to the vet.

Treatment of Chronic Bronchitis

  • Clean toxins from the air (air purifier).
  • Avoid perfumes, hairspray, etc. around your dog.
  • Humidifiers can help soften the air with moisture.
  • No smoking around the dog.
  • Maintain a healthy weight for your dog.
  1. Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis comes on suddenly but usually only lasts a few weeks. The dog’s inflamed airways fill with mucous making it hard for the dog to get adequate oxygen intake.  Acute bronchitis can be caused by:

  • allergies
  • heart worm and other parasites
  • asthma
  • environmental toxins
  • inherited condition

Treatment of Acute Bronchitis

  • Clean toxins from the air (air purifier).
  • Avoid perfumes, hairspray, etc. around your dog.
  • Humidifiers can help soften the air with moisture.
  • No smoking around the dog.
  • Maintain a healthy weight for your dog.
  1. Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure results in the inability of the heart to pump blood effectively.  Blood ends up backing into the lungs where fluid accumulates.  Signs and symptom of congestive heart failure in dogs include:

  • persistent cough
  • exhaustion
  • unable or unwilling to play, go for walks, etc.
  • coughing that becomes worse at night (may contain blood)
  • difficulty breathing or faster breathing
  • swollen belly
  • excessive panting


  “Not All dogs with heart failure cough, and not all coughs are associated with heart failure.”  -Dr. Sonya Gordon, Associate Professor of Cardiology, Texas A&M University.






Treatment of congestive heart failure in dogs include:

  • medications to remove the fluid from the body (i.e., diuretics)
  • oxygen therapy
  • medications to make the heart beat more efficiently (e.g., pimobendan, digoxin)
  • medications to treat the heart arrhythmias
  • heart monitoring (i.e., electrocardiogram)
  • blood pressure medication (e.g., enalapril, benazepril, etc.)
  • blood pressure monitoring
  • symptomatic supportive care
  • sometimes, removal of fluid from the chest cavity or abdomen (via a procedure called a thoracocentesis or abdominocentesis) may be necessary.
  1. Heart Worm

Heart worm appears in the dog just as the name implies in the heart. If you have ever seen a pot of cooked fusilli noodles, you will have a good idea what they look like.  These worms can reach anywhere from four to twelve inches in length, depending on the sex. Male worms average about four to six inches while its female counterpart can grow as long as twelve inches.

Symptoms occurring six months or later could include:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble breathing

Keep in mind that symptoms gradually become worse over time. Heart worms are fatal if left untreated. However, most dogs within Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom remain heart worm free through vaccination. Avoid heart worm by providing year-round flea prevention medication.

  1. Pneumonia

Pneumonia causes a buildup of fluid in the lungs causing a wet cough in dogs. We’ve all had bad colds at one time or another where we have coughed up phlegm.  Pneumonia is a bit like that on a more serious scale. No amount of coughing is going to bring up the fluid from the lungs.

Other symptoms include:

  • not hungry
  • loses weight
  • has a fever
  • tired

Pneumonia in dogs is not a straightforward thing. There are different types of pneumonia caused by pathogens, bacteria, or underlying disease.  Always bring your dog to the veterinarian when a cough that lasts several days is accompanied by any of the symptoms above.

Treatment for pneumonia is typically a round of antibiotics. The veterinarian may suggest over-the-counter or natural products to help ease the cough.

  1.  Inhaled Grass Seeds

I smile whenever I see a dog with his head poked through the window of a moving car. They look so joyful!   The problem is that it leaves the dog vulnerable to flying debris. That debris gets into their eyes and throats.  Grass seeds, for example, if blown in the wind, can lodge into a dog’s throat.  Removing them might not be as easy as offering a glass of water because the seeds hook on the dog with their arrow-shaped fibers.

Symptoms include:

  • Bloody nasal discharge
  • excessive and continuous sneezing
  • pawing at the face
  • breathing difficulty
  • coughing if the seed is lodged in the airway

What are the treatment options?

Embedded grass seeds must be removed. The veterinarian will want your dog sedated and will use tweezers if necessary.

If the veterinarian suspects something lodged in the dog’s airway, surgery may be required. A course of antibiotics will stave off any risk of infection.

  1. Lungworm Infection

Dogs (puppies in particular) can get lungworm through the excrement or saliva of another dog. Round worms cause lungworm infection.  Slugs and snails carry the larvae, which leaves dogs vulnerable.  Round worms that cause infection live within the dog’s trachea.

Unfortunately, there are often few signs of lungworm infection in the early stages. As the condition worsens, the dog may have symptoms that include:

  • blood in the urine
  • vomiting blood
  • pink spots on the gums
  • difficulty breathing
  • coughing
  • fatigue

Treatment of Lungworm in Dogs

Once diagnosed, treatment involves the regular application of a prescribed anti-parasitic medicine.  The outcome is excellent and the continuation of anti-parasitic medication is recommended to prevent recurrence.

10. Canine Flu Virus

Canine flu is extremely contagious between dogs.  Two viruses (H3NB and H3N2) cause it. Known as the “bird flu”, virus H3N2 causes severe symptoms that can leave your dog dehydrated with a weakened immune system.  Pneumonia is one of the most dangerous complications of the flu.

Dogs contract the flu from other dogs and are more susceptible if they frequent doggie day cares, dog parks, etc.

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • cough

Treatment of Canine Influenza

To prevent complications from pneumonia, the veterinarian will likely prescribe an antibiotic. He/she may also suggest various medicines to thin the dog’s mucus and ease the cough.

  1. Exposure to Tobacco Smoke

Tobacco smoke irritates the lining of the dog’s throat causing a cough. Consistent exposure can lead to respiratory diseases like bronchitis.  Avoiding tobacco smoke is the only prophylactic thing to do.

If irritants, including smoke, cause your dog to cough and gag, you’ll have to try and remove the irritants. Spider plants are thought to help remove toxins from the air. You could also try an air purifier.

If you missed your opportunity to sign up for a free copy of 25 Compassionate Ways to Nurse Your Dog Back to Health, just click on this word:  Compassion.

Look, I know that dog health is a serious topic, but the BEST thing about dogs is their ability to make us laugh and BOY do we need a lot more laughter these days! I loved this video so much I wanted to share it with you.  Somebody needs to be neutered in this video! Can you figure out which dog?





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The Biography of Lisa Theriault

Dogs are Lisa’s passion, and blogging is the means to direct her energy towards their well-being on a global scale.  Lisa is not a veterinarian. Click here to read our privacy policy and disclaimer.

Lisa is dedicated to writing a high-quality blog based on professionally researched data. Her time is spent writing and researching balanced with enjoying family life with her husband and two dogs.

Lisa’s writing skills emerged at an early age. Over time, her fiction has been published in various literary magazines. She has also written for non-fiction journals internationally.



To find out what Lisa is really about…click here.