My puppy has random hacking
(santa rosa, ca)
I have a 13 week french bulldog/staffordshire bull terrier mix (with a smushed snout). A few days ago he started having a random hack when he was excited to meet people so I though maybe he just got too excited. However it has continued for the last few days just randomly and even at night which scared me and I jumped up to find him sleeping. It sounds horrible like he's going to throw up but doesn't.
He's still playing "normally" and rambunctious as ever but when he starts to hack it makes me nervous like he's having breathing problems or something. I monitor him a lot since he's a puppy and he usually hasn't eaten something random that'd he'd be hacking up. He's had 2/3 sets of shots...due for the last on 3/6/10.
Is this something fairly normal or should I be more concerned and take him to the vet?
This sounds as though it may be what's called 'reverse sneezing' which is most common in small or tiny breeds, and a shortened muzzle can also be a contributing factor.
'Reverse Sneezing' which is a sort of bronchial spasm that some dogs experience, it's often usually triggered by excitement, exertion or stress. Sometimes you can relieve a sneezing fit by gently holding your fingers over the pups' nostrils, or by stroking his throat.
Although it can sound scary, reverse sneezing isn't usually a health issue, and your pup is likely to grow out of it somewhat as he matures and settles down.
However, just to be on the safe side I would recommend mentioning this to your vet so that he can make sure that there's not another, more troublesome, cause for your pups' hacking/coughing. Some conditions such as Kennel Cough can produce an intermittent cough and you want to rule out that sort of thing.
Also, breeds with this sort of muzzle shape can sometimes have soft-palate problems which cause breathing difficulties or other issues. As your pup has had regular veterinary care I doubt this is the case as it would likely have been discovered already, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
To read the answers I've given to other puppy owners who have had similar concerns to you, just type reverse sneezing into one of the Google searchboxes on my site and you'll get a list of all the relevant pages/articles. They may also help to put your mind at rest.
Best of luck with your pup.
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