My dog is horking

For the past few days, Boomer (short-haired Lab mix) has been horking (retching) like he’s trying to throw up. Nothing comes up, but he swallows after horking, so if there’s something there, he’s not letting it out.

I did some googling and found lots of scary articles about dogs and coughing. I’ve never heard a dog cough so don’t know what it sounds like, or whether this horking/retching might be a cough.

He gets checked at the vet twice a year and takes heartworm medicine every month. He had a tooth pulled a couple years ago but other than that, he checks out fine.

He’s about ten years old, an indoor dog. Other than the horking, everything’s normal as far as eating, drinking, sleeping, peeing and pooping. He does potty duty in a field behind the house, and sometimes he’ll chew on whatever’s growing there (it’s an alfalfa field). He eats Pedigree, the small bite variety.

If this keeps up, he’ll go to the vet, but I wanted to ask here first to see what we might be getting into, as far as health issues.

It kinda sounds like when our dog got Kennel Cough, It was a sound kinda like she was throwing up/ coughing and she would swallow and be ok. She also would do this weird noise like she was sucking snot from her nose. We had her vaccinated and the day care/kennel she was at required the vaccination but, apparently someones dog had it. It took about 2 weeks for her to fully get better.

Our Boston terrier has a short snout and seems to hork as a hobby, or a way to fill a quiet afternoon.

Hozer, thanks – I didn’t even think of kennel cough because he has very little exposure to other dogs. But it sounds like that might be it. One article I found said it usually resolves by itself, so we’ll give it a few more days. He coughs three or four times a day, and not at all at night, when he’s sleeping.

DrFidelius, yeah, dogs do get bored. :slight_smile:

Is he licking his chops a lot or trying to eat things that will make him throw up? Does his tummy feel rigid at all?

With Emma (dog) it was just a couple times in the day when it first started then got kinda bad, but it was just during the day and not at night. The vet did tell us that we could give her Robutussin and that worked really well, I don’t know how much would be fine for your dog, but Emma (Old English Mastiff) is about 150lbs and they told us to give her an adult dose.

I would still give the vet a quick call to see what they would recommend. I know ours is really good about answering questions over the phone.

If you do decide to give her some cough medicine, we found that she did not like it to be squirted in her mouth. If we mixed it with some yogurt she would just eat it right up, and for her morning or afternoon dose we would mix it with food (with the yogurt). After a week of giving it to her that way we found that just dumping the dose in a bowl she would lick it up.

My dog, who is 14 1/2, has started to do this also. It isn’t kennel cough - he’s had that, and it sounds very different. I don’t think it is the thing in the Wikipedia link, since he doesn’t breath in a lot. He doesn’t seem to be swallowing anything. He is very good at asking to go out when he has to throw up, and never tries to when this happens.

At his age he has all kinds of bumps and lumps. We’re not worrying about it so long as he’s active and happy, which he is.

Sharkb8, nope, none of that, and his belly feels firm (he’s a lean dog) but not stiff, and he didn’t seem to mind when I felt around. Lord knows what he thought I was doing, because every time I touched his tummy he sat down. Maybe that’s a leftover cue from his prior owner.

hozer, we’ll try a tiny dose of cough syrup (he’s 50 lbs) and see if that helps.

Voyager, if we do end up taking Boomer to the vet, I’ll let you know what he says. Boomer isn’t breathing in a lot either. His breathing seems normal and he doesn’t hork after exercise.

Update: Lots of horking last night, and heavy breathing. We called and made an appointment with the vet for 1:15.

But we might cancel it, because about an hour ago, my husband noticed that Boomer’s collar looked funny. Turns out the collar had gotten twisted and it was way too tight. He loosened the collar and the dog hasn’t horked since and his breathing seems normal. :smack:

My dog used to do this when she got excited. I never knew what it was. Thanks, DrF!

Update. Boomer was fine for several days and then he started horking again, so we took him to the vet. He has an enlarged heart – so enlarged that it was displacing his lungs and causing pressure on his esophagus. He’ll be on medication for the rest of his life.

I’m not really a “dog person” and there’ve been times when Boomer gave me fits (my husband is his person, not me), but when the vet gave us the news, I cried like a baby. We’ve had Boomer for about ten years, and he really is a member of the family.

Here’s a picture.

Fingers crossed that the medications will help. I know we won’t have him forever, but I want these last months (hopefully years) to be easy and comfortable.

Awwwww…whoza perty goggie?

I’ll keep Boomer in my thoughts, AuntiePam. I can’t imagine how much attachment someone would have after 10+ years. We’ve only had our Daisy for a week and I’m already at the point where if we lost her I’d be good for nothing for days.

Thanks, jayjay. :slight_smile:

That patch of white on his upper chest is absolutely the softest bit of dog I’ve ever felt. One of his (our) favorite things is when he sits and leans up against me so I can rub that patch. One of our elderly neighbors says he never thought of having a dog until he met Boomer. He’s quite the sweetheart. (Boomer, not the neighbor.)

Aw, Boomer is beautiful. Those soulful eyes… My dog has a patch of white fur on her chest that’s just softness personified. I love to run my fingers through it. Good vibes for Boomer’s heart.

What a beauty!

I have a soft spot in my heart for all “UBD’s” (Ubiquitous Black Dogs). My old girl, Wizard was one such. Yeup, that white patch is the nicest thing on the planet.

Here’s to Boomer’s health, and to YOUR heart! May you enjoy each other for a good long time yet.