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.

Please read my privacy policy and disclaimer.
This post may contain affiliate links.

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?

Click on a social media button and share!

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.

11 Easy Ways to Reclaim Your Dog’s Health

Dogs are amazing companions who demand nothing and give everything. The worst thing we can do for our dogs is become complacent. Unfortunately, dog’s age at a much faster rate than we do and – eventually – the time is going to come to say goodbye.

There’s a lot we can do, as dog owners, to stretch out their lives in a way that’s meaningful. The following tips are designed to show you common signs and symptoms of disease because the earlier these things are diagnosed, the better the overall prognosis.

1. You Can’t Reclaim Your Dog’s Health in a Bag of Chips

This tip is specifically for me, and anyone else who uses treats to express love. I’m guilty as charged and, as a result, I have an overweight dog. I like to think that being female contributes some of the weight gain, and that her breed might be predisposed (she’s a lab), but I’m pretty sure the real reason is from me overfeeding her.

Do This:

  • Gradually ease off of the added treats
  • Commit to walking your dog at least 4 to 5 days a week and build up to 7 days per week.
  • Ask your veterinarian about the type of food you feed your dog.  He/she will be able to suggest better alternatives for weight loss.
  • Tell your friends and family what you’ve been doing. That way, they won’t be tempted to spoil your dog when you are not looking.

As your dog loses weight and eats a more balanced diet, you will probably notice a big shift in energy and general well-being.

2. Canine Hip Dysplasia

Have you noticed your dog limping a little when standing up for the first time after a nap or extended cuddle session? It could be the development of arthritis, but it might also be the beginning of hip dysplasia.

Hip Dysplasia is caused by the abnormal development of the hip. This condition creates instability in the joint. In severe cases, dislocation of the thigh bone is possible.

The first sign of hip dysplasia is an abnormal gait. As the condition advances, your dog may have trouble climbing stairs or suddenly won’t be able to jump into the car.

Do This:

Bring your dog to the veterinarian if you notice a decrease in your dog’s mobility or sudden, stiff joints. The veterinarian may suggest a change in diet, physiotherapy, and regular (but low impact) exercise.

The tweet below introduces the next topic on mast cell tumors. The dog is gorgeous and I hope everything turns out alright for him.

3.Mast Cell Tumors and Other Forms of Cancer in Dogs

The scariest thing in the world is finding an unusual lump or bump on your dog. At least it is for me. Lumps and bumps could signify anything from a fatty tumor to a mast cell tumor. Don’t ignore any unusual protrusion!  Veterinarian medicine has come a long way and a lot of these things can be fixed when caught early.

Do This:

Use grooming time to look for any unusual lumps and bumps. You’ll find mast cell tumors on any part of the dog, but don’t forget to your dog’s abdomen and perineum (the area between your dog’s genitals).

Fear is a bad reason to avoid seeing the veterinarian. Remember, even a cancerous tumor can be removed early. Treatment is usually quite good in this case.

Some of the dogs most likely to develop mast cell tumors include

  • Boxers *highest rate
  • Boston Terriers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Beagles
  • Schnauzers
  • Bulldogs
  • Pugs
  • Bullmastiffs
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Bull Terriers
  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • Fox Terriers

Don’t worry about looking silly if it turns out to be nothing. Get your dog to the veterinarian to check out any unusual lumps and bumps.  There’s a good chance it’s nothing….but bring your dog in just to be sure!

4. Yeast Infections In Dogs with Weakened Immune Systems

Have you noticed your dog itching much more than usual lately?  It could be a skin condition, but it might also be a yeast infection.

Dogs with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a yeast (fungus) infection.   Medicated dogs or dogs who have other illnesses may be more susceptible to these infections because of a lowered immune response.

Various strains of yeast infection include:

  • Histoplasmosis (subclinical, meaning the initial symptoms are nearly undetectable).
  • Valley Fever (severe – spores thrive in dry, dusty regions) Can affect the lungs.
  • Cryptococcosis – spores that are inhaled. This fungus can make its way into the dog’s brain.
  • Blastomycocosis – common along the eastern seaboard, Great Lakes, Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri River valleys. This fungus lives in your dog’s respiratory system.
  • Sporotrichosis – This fungus inhabits the skin after physical contact with spores from the soil. These spores gain access through breaks in the skin. Hunting dogs are mostly prone to this particular fungus. 

One of the main symptoms of a yeast infection is excessive itching of the skin. You might also notice a yeasty smell.

Do This:

Watch the condition of your dog’s skin and notice if he/she has been itching a lot. Pink or red skin means the yeast infection is in the early stages. If you notice a cheesy or spoiled-milk odor, you should bring your dog to the veterinarian. Treatment includes removing allergens from the home, topical ointments, a prescription, and a diet change.

5. The Importance (and Controversy) Over Vaccinations

Vaccinations are especially important when your dog is still a puppy. At about 12 weeks of age, your dog can be vaccinated for things rabies, parasites, canine influenza, and leptospirosis.

Leptospirosis is most often found in wet areas of the United States. Leptospirosis is a bacteria that can l live a long time as long as it’s wet. Think about the recent floodings in the United States and reports of their contaminated water. That is where you’ll find leptospirosis. Unfortunately, dogs will drink out of just about anything. This is where you should prevent him/her from doing that.

The next tweet explains the myths associated with vaccinations.

Watch Out For This:

Leptospirosis in dogs is transmitted when the dog:

  • drinks from infected urine
  • is in contact with other domestic animals who have it (through skin cuts, eyes, mouth)
  • drinks or swims in urine-contaminated water (floodwater, rivers, etc.)
  • interacts or lives in close proximity to infected livestock or wildlife

The bacteria lives up to six months in urine-contaminated water. Even the damp soil can harbor the bacteria. This creates a risk of infection through scratches, scrapes, open wounds, and mucous membranes.  Dogs can transmit the bacteria to humans. However, the number of reported cases is relatively low.

The best fight against this serious disease is through regular and appropriate vaccination.

6. If It’s Not Rice, It’s Probably Worms

Unless your dog just sat in a pile of sticky rice, you might want to investigate those rice-like things under his/her tail.  Yes, it’s disgusting, but the faster you have parasites treated in your dog, the less chance of them affecting the dog’s general health.

Tapeworms look like rice segments and are usually found on the underside of the dog’s tail, or around the anus area. A quick trip to the veterinarian will fix the problem.

Other worms to watch for include:

  • roundworm
  • ringworm
  • whipworm
  • heart worm
  • hookworms

You could try homeopathic remedies for parasitic infection, but the fastest most effective way is through your veterinarian.

7. Would You Know if Your Dog Were Depressed?

Depressed dogs tend to show the same clinical signs that you or I might. They can become lethargic, not interested in food, drink, treats, or play.  Has anything happened recently to cause your dog’s depression?

Dog’s can go through periods of the blues just like we do. Maybe you are away from home more often for a new job, or maybe one of your other pets has passed on. Don’t be surprised if your dog appears depressed.

Do This:

Try to give your dog a little more one-on-one attention. You might have to coax him/her out of the house, but try to offer walks a few times a week. If the depression seems to get worse with increased exercise, consider a trip to the veterinarian. Other, more serious diseases can be the underlying cause of depression in dogs.  Underlying ailments include:

Heart Disease





The take-away here is to let your veterinarian give your dog a check-up. Any underlying conditions should be treated and, once that happens, your dog’s depression should go away.

8. Fatty Tumors on Your Dog

A noncancerous tumor in a dog is commonly a fatty mass called a lipoma. A lipoma usually feels soft and will not cause the dog discomfort (unless the location of the tumor disrupts movement).

A lipoma is basically a lump of slow growing fat cells which remains localized, not traveling through the body or into other tissues. Lipomas are common and rarely serious.

In fact, the following tweet “pokes” [pun intended) a little fun at fatty tumors. Hope you have a good sense of humor!

Do This:

Watch for a lump or wound with pus.

Check to see if your dog has a fever.

If you’ve noticed any weight loss, lethargy, or sudden cough in conjunction with a new lump, it’s best to make an appointment with the veterinarian.

Remember!  Not every lump is cancerous. Fatty tumors in dogs are soft, moveable, and usually benign.

9.  Knee Injuries in Dogs

The clinical name for a dog knee injury is anterior cruciate ligament.  All you have to remember, however, is ACL for short.

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), also referred to as cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), connects the femur above the knee to the tibia positioned below the knee thereby stabilizing the knee joint. This ligament can tear partially or fully as a result of sudden injury, damage, or progressive weakening of the ligament.

Do This:

-Keep an eye on your dog and take note if he/she can put any weight on the injured leg. A torn ACL will be very painful, causing your dog to limp and favor the knee.

-A partial tear will often get worse until, eventually, it tears completely away. Any signs of knee injury should be brought to the attention of the veterinarian

-Keep your dog’s weight in check as overweight dogs are at higher risk of a torn ACL.

10. Tick Check!

If you live in an area endemic for ticks, do regular checks on your dog. Ticks carry a number of diseases, but the one we’re most familiar with is Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease can be treated with antibiotics if caught early. However, one prescription might not do the trick.

There’s no explanation needed for the next image. Deer ticks (black-legged ticks) are the ones that carry Lyme Disease, and other diseases.

Once your dog has completed one round of antibiotics, you’ll want to have him tested to make sure he is no longer carrying the antibodies

Do This:

Use a special comb designed to pick up fleas and ticks, or carefully scan your dog’s skin with your fingers. Ticks tend to make their way up to the dog’s neck, so check the folds of skin there and look between the folds of the ear. If you spot an embedded tick, pull the tick out with a good pair of tweezers and swipe a little rubbing alcohol over the bite mark to keep it disinfected.

11. Horner’s Syndrome

Horner’s syndrome is caused by an injury to one of the nervous system pathways that leads to the eyes and face of your dog. One minute your dog is fine and the next one side of his face has drooped. Your dog might walk in circles, paw at his face, or walk into walls.

Don’t worry! Horner’s Syndrome isn’t always caused by something serious. In fact, 50% of the cases are considered idiopathetic which means there was no underlying cause.

Do This:

Allow the veterinarian to do a series of tests. This will help to rule out any underlying causes. Things like tumors, neck and head injuries can cause Horner’s symptoms. Symptoms include:

  • Droopy lower eyelid
  • One eye appears sunken
  • Tight or stiff jaw
  • The dog might not be able to eat properly on the side of the face that is affecting him.

The important thing here is to get an accurate diagnosis right off the bat. With an accurate diagnosis, you can get straight to the heart of the matter.

I hope this guide has given you some things to watch for. No need to become a hypochondriac though!  Some dogs never experience any of these things. However, it’s always a good idea to understand what you’re looking for when it comes to your dog’s health and why.

You know have a sound understanding of several common illnesses and conditions that affect dogs.  Why not let your friends in on the secret and share! Just click on any of the social share buttons and viola! you are done.

Dog Eye Stye Infections 2018

If your dog is as in-your-face as mine, you likely spend a lot of time looking into his/her eyes.  Dog eye stye infections are small, painful lumps that develop on the eyelid. A dog stye is pretty common but easily misdiagnosed by pet owners.  

This post may contain affiliate links
Please read my privacy policy and disclaimer.

I’m sure you notice the minute something isn’t quite right with your dog. It’s easy to shrug off a variety of conditions as minor, but are you sure you’re making the “right” diagnosis. Unless your dog sees a veterinarian, how can you be sure exactly what’s wrong? 

Dog eye stye infections are fairly common, but how do you know that little bump isn’t something else? Well, stick around. I’m going to show you how NOT to mistake a dog stye for something more serious.

A Dog Eye Stye is no Different Than a Human Stye.

Dog styes are small, painful lumps that develop on the inside or outside of the eyelid. They are caused by bacterial growth and are usually (at least for me) treatable at home.  I use an over-the-counter antibacterial eye drop and it clears up quickly.

The problem with diagnosing a dog eye stye is that you might be wrong. Dogs are prone to any number of eye conditions that could easily be mistaken for something else. This is true in the initial stages of infection before symptoms become full-blown.

Common Conditions That Could be Mistaken For a Dog Eye Stye

General Eye Infection: 

Dogs can get irritated or mildly infected eyes from any number of things.   All it takes is a little rough play with another dog or a gust of wind blowing debris into his eyes. 

If bacteria are present, your dog’s eyes will likely have discharge.  You will notice your dog pawing at his eyes and squinting. He might be sensitive to light and have red eyes.

Mild eye infections are generally nothing to worry about unless the condition is coming from something less obvious.

The only way to make sure there’s nothing more serious brewing is to take your dog to the veterinarian.

In-growing Eyelid

In-growing eyelids, also known as “entropion”, occur when the eyelids fold inward.  This condition affects puppies and older dogs. 

A type of surgical treatment called “eyelid tacking” trains the eye to continue growing properly after surgery. In the Twitter image below, the veterinarian is treating a patient who has an in-growing eyelid.

3 Canine Eyelash Disorders: 

There are 3 eyelash disorders that some dogs are prone to. 

a) Eyelashes grow inward.

b) Eyelashes grow from an abnormal spot on the eyelid.

c) Eyelashes grow through the inside of the eyelid.

If you own a pure breed, you probably already know the types of diseases and conditions that can affect him/her.  Certain breeds (for example, English cocker spaniel, pugs, bulldogs, golden retrievers, and toy poodles) are more prone to these types of eyelash disorders.

Third-Eye Prolapse (Cherry Eye):

Take a minute to look into your dog’s eyes.  Watch him blink. There! Did you see it? There’s a white membrane on the inside corner of the eyes. You might notice it slide up and down slightly when your dog blinks. That is the third-eyelid.

Problems with this third eye-lid affect puppies between 6 and 12 months of age.  One condition called Third-Eye Prolapse, or Cherry Eye, happens when that membrane becomes inflamed and red.

  Treatment involves warm compresses and medicated eye ointment to reduce the inflammation.

The Twitter image below shows a typical dog with a case of cherry eye.  Notice how red that bottom eyelid is. Ouch!


This condition is an inflammation and irritation of the eyelids.  Initially, the condition may not be obvious to you. Your dog might scratch or paw at his eyes, which is a good indication that something isn’t right. Get him to the veterinarian before those eyes become red and swollen. The veterinarian will give you some antibacterial drops which should take care of the problem quickly.

Meibomian Gland Tumors:

These tumors are almost always benign. The problem is that the lesions, if left untreated, may continue to grow. That growth can eventually cause damage to the dog’s eyes from the constant irritation. Corneal ulcers or infection can develop.  Surgery is recommended in this case.

Anatomy of a Dog’s Eye:

Have you noticed your dog’s adorable eyelashes? That part of the eye is the outermost layer. The middle layer beneath is primarily connective tissue, muscles, and glands.  The meibomian gland excretes the oily film designed to keep the eyes moist.  These glands drain out along the sides of the eyelids.


I’m sure you can see why the initial signs of canine eye conditions might be mistaken for a mild irritation or the beginnings of a dog eye stye.

While I don’t rush to the veterinarian the minute I notice some eye irritation, I do keep a close eye on it.

I gently wash my dog’s eyes with a warm cloth and look for signs of redness and discharge. If the problem hasn’t cleared up within a day or two, I contact my veterinarian and make an appointment.

How to Manage Dog Eye Stye Infections

Try to stop your dog from pawing at his or her eyes.  An Elizabethan collar is the best solution. I know…I can’t stand to see my dog wearing one, but it’s for his own good.

There are other options you can buy including products that look like neck braces. The problem with these options is that they don’t prevent your dog from pawing at his face. You need the hard plastic of an Elizabethan collar for that.

In the video below, a senior dog is being treated for an infected dog stye.

Now that you have the information, you should have a pretty good idea what to look for when your dog’s eyes begin to appear irritated.

Sometimes it really is just a piece of dirt or dust. Some eye drops and a gentle eye wash should do the trick. Redness, inflammation, and off-color discharge should be an indication that the help of a veterinarian is required.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read this post. Please share any comments with me in the form below.  Of course, you can also email me directly at

If you were able to get useful information from this post, please take a minute to share/tweet!  I appreciate it.

Come back soon so that you don’t miss out on more useful posts.

5 Important Facts on Dog Pad Injury

Every dog loves to take a walk – it’s one of the best bonding sessions you can do with your canine companion. But walking outdoors also exposes their feet to various elements that can lead to dog pad injury.

My pit bull mix got a nasty slash in his front paw last summer and it took forever to heal.  I tried keeping it clean and bound with gauze, but eventually had to take him to the veterinarian where they actually stapled (ouch!) the wound closed.

It took weeks of trying to keep the wound covered so he wouldn’t like it. Nothing worked. I tried an Elizabethan Collar, but he had that off faster than Houdini in a dollar store handcuff.  It did heal, eventually, but the event has me watching his paw’s a lot more closely now.

1. Types of dog pad injury

Dog pad injury come in different forms. Here is a list of the common types of dog pad injury:

  • Abrasion

This happens when a part of the pad is worn out or scraped.

  • Laceration

This is a tear or cut in the skin. Note that lacerations can be deeper than they appear and may gather foreign objects that can infect the wound. Clean the wound immediately to avoid infection.

  • Burns

Burns are usually caused by heat like taking your dog for a walk on a very hot day and the pavement is too hot. It can also be caused by chemical reactions.

Nail Problems

Damage in the nails or nail beds can be very painful and may cause serious problems. Ingrown nails, if infected, will require regular cleaning so that the infection will not affect your dog’s systems.

  • Allergy

An allergic reaction can cause swelling in the paws and itchiness.

  • Infection

Bacterial and fungal infections can cause redness, itching, and swelling

2. Symptoms of dog pad injury

General symptoms such as the following do not necessarily require immediate veterinary care. But if you are unsure, call the vet for advice.

  • Inflamed paws
  • Loose flaps on paw pads
  • Dog’s refusal walk

If you notice any of the following, you should bring your dog to the veterinarian.

  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Foreign objects are found in the pad
  • Punctures and lacerations
  • Limping that lasts for more than a day
  • Presence of pus
  • Unable to bear weight on the paw
  • Blistered or raw paws
  • Cracked nails
  • Webbing on toes are damaged
  • Nail bed is damaged
  • Obsessive chewing and licking of paws for more than a day (this can lead to wounds and cracked paws).

3. Treating dog pad injury

Treatment for dog pad injury varies since it will depend on the type of injury that your dog has and the extent of the damage. But here are a few first aid tips that you can do before you visit the vet:

  • When you notice the injury, check for signs of debris like glass or foreign objects in the wound and remove them. Most dog owners use tweezers to remove any debris or trapped matter such as small rocks. If your dog does not let you remove the trapped matter and you are unsure of forcing it out, just do your best to wash the wound and then visit the vet. Wash the injured paw with clean water and antibacterial soap.

  • Disinfect the wound – Once the paw is clean and dry, soak a cotton ball with betadine diluted in water to disinfect the wound. The diluted betadine will not sting that much so you do not have to struggle with your dog upon applying it to the wound because any pain felt will be tolerable. Let the betadine air dry before wrapping it with gauze.


  • When there’s bleeding – Once the wound is cleaned, you have to apply pressure on the paw pad with a clean and absorbent material. If it is a small cut, the bleeding will stop shortly. But if the cut is too deep and the bleeding can’t be controlled, take your dog to the vet immediately.


  • When you deal with burns – You can soothe burns by soaking the injured paw on cool running water or you can use an ice pack. If the burn is caused by chemicals then you have to immediately soak the paw in cool water and keep the water running until you see the chemical washing away.

Do not take dog pad injury lightly. The paws are considered as a part that is difficult to heal since your dog uses them all the time. Some injuries may need intensive care and proper cleaning. Your vet will also be able to give you proper and specific instructions on how to treat the injuries as the wounds heal.

4. Preventing chewing and licking for faster healing

The hardest part is keeping the wound dry and clean while it heals. As the wound heals, it can get itchy and your dog will probably want to chew on their paw or lick it for comfort. This will slow down the healing. So once you have the right medication and treatment, make sure that you keep a sharp eye on your dog at all times. However, it is impossible to watch them the whole day so here are some tips to keep your dog from chewing and licking their wound:

  • Make sure you wrap the injured paw in bandage or gauze to keep the wound clean and to avoid your dog from licking the wound. Your dog’s teeth can easily penetrate the gauze so you should add a sock on top or additional wrap to make sure that your dog will be unable to lick and chew on the wound.


  • Spray some bitter apple on the gauze or wrap. This will leave an awful taste which can discourage your dog from chewing and licking. Note that you should never spray directly on the wound. Most pet stores have this spray. If not, you can ask your vet for replacement suggestions.


  • If all things fail, try getting an E-collar. It is a lampshade collar that prevents dogs from turning their heads so they are unable to chew and lick on their wounds. This will be very uncomfortable for your dog at first but they will eventually get used to it in a few hours.


  • It helps that you discipline your dog early on. Train your dog to respond to a command that will make your dog stop whatever they’re doing. This type of training will be very helpful in times of injury and healing.

5. Prevention of dog pad injury

  • Trim your dog’s nails regularly. This will prevent them from having ingrown toenails plus it helps your dog have proper feet alignment.
  • Make it a habit to check your dog’s paws for any sign of damage frequently. Early detection means your dog gets to be treated easily.
  • When going out for a walk, check the pavement if it’s too hot or if it’s in the winter, make sure that the surface is not freezing cold. Invest in specialized dog boots to protect their paws or get paw wax for your dog.
  • When the weather is dry, you can prevent the pads from cracking by applying a moisturizer. The moisturizer must be specially made for canines. Aside from giving protection, the moisturizer can also help heal cuts, hot spots, and cracked pads.
  • Keep an eye out for sharp objects during walks and avoid walking in areas with sharp rocks.

The paws of your dog are very important and as a responsible dog owner, it is necessary that you pay special attention to them and be aware of dog paw pad injury. By knowing what dangers to look out for and how to initially treat dog pad injury, you immediately become a step closer to being the best dog owner there is. Here’s to more safe, fun walks with your canine friends!

Was this helpful to you? If so, please share.

Dog Knee Injuries – How to Identify

My golden lab is 7 years old and I’ve noticed that she limps a little these days. She’s not able to walk as far as she used to, or join me on a run because of the stiffness in her joints. However, I know for sure it’s not a torn ACL causing the problem and I’m about to tell you why.

You’re probably here because your dog has a knee injury and you want to know how to make it better.  Well, you’ve come to the right place. Let me show you what to look for, and the steps necessary to bring your dog back to full health.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament is a Long Name for a Dog Knee Injury

Forget the long name. All you need to remember is ACL.

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), also referred to as cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), connects the femur above the knee to the tibia positioned below the knee thereby stabilizing the knee joint. This ligament can tear partially or fully as a result of sudden injury, damage, or progressive weakening of the ligament.


  • Unable to Comfortably Put Weight on The Injured Leg.

Unlike the type of stiffness seen in an aging dog, a torn (or partially torn) ACL will be painful. Your dog will limp, favoring the tender knee.  If the tear is bad enough, your dog won’t be able to put weight on the leg at all. You might notice swelling in the knee.

  • A partial tear will often progress into a full tear over time.

A partial tear will often get worse until eventually tearing completely as the ligament continues to receive pressure. This is why treatment is recommended to help strengthen the ligament and reduce stress.

YUP! Sounds Like a Torn ACL. How Did This Happen?

  • A torn ACL is the most common cause of lameness in the hind legs of dogs.

The ACL is always under pressure and the continuous stretching of the ligament in the same way weakens the structure making it more likely to tear. This is why older and overweight dogs are more likely to suffer from an ACL injury.

  • The tear could have been a sudden occurrence or it could be a long-term degenerative condition.

As your dog grows older, his ligaments will weaken. Over time, the stress on the ligament might cause a tear or rupture.  A young dog can also suffer from an ACL injury as the result of a sudden movement such as jumping to catch a Frisbee.

  • There are Several Causes of Dog Knee Injuries

Causes of Dog Knee Injury include:

  • age
  • breed
  • weight (an overweight dog is more likely to suffer from a torn ACL)
  • sudden movement during activity.
  • Some Dogs Are More Prone to ACL Damage

Large dog breeds are more prone to ACL damage. The age of the dog, activity routine and weight are all factors which could push your dog closer to suffering from a torn ACL.

A Partial List of Dog Breeds Susceptible to Knee Injuries Includes:

  • Saint Bernard
  • Golden Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Rottweiler
  • Akita
  • Older Dog’s Ligaments are Weaker and More Prone to Injury

As we age, natural wear-and-tear can cause the synovial fluid between our joints to wear down. The result is a painful condition called osteoarthritis. Dogs endure a similar wear-and-tear that takes its toll on the ligaments. The now-weakened ligaments leave the dog at risk of knee injury. Over time, the continuous pressure and strain placed on the ligament could cause tearing.

Young people are particularly resilient, able to keep up with the challenges faced by the physical body. Likewise, puppies experience the same benefit of youth.

  • Overweight dogs, regardless of age, are at a higher risk

Obesity naturally puts more strain and pressure on the dog’s joints. Weight loss is recommended to reduce the risk of suffering a torn ACL.

Overweight dogs struggle to recover from ligament injuries and are more likely to experience injury to both knees.

  • Dogs weighing over 15kg will generally need surgery to help treat the ligament damage

Smaller and lighter dogs recover from ligament injuries much faster than larger dogs. The majority of small dogs are able to improve or regain normal leg function within 6 months and can sometimes recover without surgery

Larger dogs, however, tend to require stabilization surgery. Only 20% see improvements or regain normal leg function within 6 months.


There are a number of surgical techniques that can be used to stabilize the knee joint. While surgery is usually recommended for large breeds, it’s important to note that not all dogs (large or small) are good candidates.S

Your veterinarian may not suggest surgery for a minor tear. The size, weight, and overall health of the dog will be considered first.

What Does the Surgery Involve?

  • Lateral Suture Stabilization (LSS) techniques are used to stabilize the knee

In this case, the surgeon passes a tightened suture behind the knee. That suture replicates the function of the torn ligament.

Sometimes a fiber tape suture is placed over the tear to stabilize the weakened area.

Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy (TPLO)

This technique requires a longer recovery time and involves breaking the tibia and repositioning it.

Without surgery, the weak ligaments will worsen over time. Degeneration is common as the weak ligaments continue to be subject to the same stresses.

What Happens if My Dog Can’t Have Surgery?

Physical therapy is essential for dogs who do not need or cannot have surgery

Physical therapy helps strengthen the area by building muscle through a series of medically supervised exercises. These exercises might include swimming, massage, and muscle stimulation.

Rest and Medication

Always heed the recommended length of rest-time and only give your dog veterinarian-approved medication, including pain killers.


It takes at least 12 weeks for your dog to recover from knee surgery


During the first 6 weeks after surgery, your dog has to be carefully supervised in-house with limited ability to roam.  Some people use a crate indoors or keep the dog tied inside to have maximum control.


Very slowly begin walking your dog, and only for “bathroom breaks”.  Keep your expectations low and don’t push your dog to do more than he comfortably can.


Gradually, increase walk time. Keep in mind that it’s still going to be a considerably shorter walk than normal.


At this stage, you can let your dog roam off-leash in a controlled, supervised environment, provided the sutures or staples are out.

It’s still too early, however, to let your dog play with other dogs. Activity must be kept to a minimum.


Your veterinarian may request a couple of follow-up visits during the recovery and rehabilitation phase.


  • Use an Elizabethan Collar in the early stages to prevent your dog from licking the wound.
  • Use a towel as a sling under your dog’s belly for managing stairs. The towel shouldn’t be used to lift your dog, but to help guide him.
  • Put non-slip mats or area rugs on slippery floors so that your dog doesn’t take a fall and reinjure the knee.

The Aftermath of Surgical Dog Knee Injuries

Within 2 years, around half of dogs with ACL injuries will damage the other knee.

Weight loss/ management and additional care is essential to help strengthen the ligaments, this will help slow the rate and likelihood of your dog experiencing another torn ACL.

Every ACL injury is different as there are many causes and factors that lead to ACL weakness. Your vet will be able to work with you to get the best treatment plan for your dog’s specific situation.A

A less severe tear may present few symptoms and these will often improve quickly without treatment. The ACL will be weakened which leads to other potential issues with discomfort and arthritis as well as the risk of a full tear occurring at any time. If the ACL does rupture completely surgery will be required.

I hope your dog never has to endure the long-term recover of a fully torn ACL.  Actually, I hope my dogs never have to endure that either.

I hope you were able to find the information you were looking for, and that you’ll share this post for other dog owners to benefit.

Thank you!