Dog Cough After Dental Cleaning [Solutions]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Coughing is a common symptom of post-dental cleaning, and it can last for a few days.

The reasons for a cough after dental cleaning can be anything from a tickle in the throat to allergies, so if you notice that happening, you might want to have the right ways to intervene correctly.

In this post, I will share the common causes of why this happens and offer you a bunch of solutions to overcome it.

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Complications From Dog Dental Cleaning

Complications from dental cleaning procedures on your dog are extremely rare but they do happen, especially when your furbaby is on the senior side and/or has underlying health issues.

Possible complications range from tracheal irritation/injury from intubation to after-effects of anesthesia.

Let’s go through these one by one and identify the possible causes.

Tracheal irritation from intubation

Let’s start with this one.

During a dental cleaning, your dog will have a tube placed in its trachea or windpipe while receiving anesthesia.

This may cause tracheal irritation from intubation and it is, in most cases, the main cause of your dog coughing after a dental cleaning. 

It’s a normal side effect of intubation and you have nothing to worry about.

You’ll just have a dog with a raspy bark and cough for a while.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Dog Ate String From a Rope Toy [What You Should Do]

Tracheal injury from intubation

Now, tracheal irritation is one thing but tracheal injury from intubation is another complication to look out for.

Tracheal injury from inflammation may be caused by inflammation or infection of your dog’s airways. 

But what’s the difference between tracheal irritation to tracheal injury?

Tracheal irritation is just slight coughing that lasts a short period while the tracheal injury is a more persistent, dry, harsh cough.

Some owners and vets describe it as the ‘goose honk cough’.

It’s best to call your vet regarding treatment for tracheal injury.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Dog whimpering after dental cleaning

Complications From Dog Dental Cleaning

Something stuck in his/her throat

Of course, since it is a teeth-cleaning procedure, your dog’s mouth is kept open at all times during the procedure.

So having something stuck in his/her throat can possibly happen and your dog coughing is his/her trying to cough out the object lodged in his/her throat.

If this persists for more than a day then it’s best to contact your vet to see if there’s any blockage and what can be done to get rid of it.

Infectious cough

To us humans, coughing is an infectious disease and this could be the case with our canine companions as well when coughing.

Tracheobronchitis, mostly known as “Kennel Cough”, is a contagious disease among dogs and they catch it by interacting with other dogs that had been infected.

Fortunately, kennel cough is rarely life-threatening and it’s possible to cure this at home using simple remedies like using a humidifier and keeping your dog hydrated, and well-rested.

Consider reading this too: Does Lysol kill kennel cough?

Aspiration Pneumonia

Here’s another possibility to consider why your dog is coughing.

Aspiration pneumonia is an inflammation of a dog’s lungs by inhaling material such as food and/or vomit. 

This condition mostly happens when your dog has an underlying problem with normal swallowing and pushing down food.

Symptoms to look out for are coughing, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, nasal discharge, and fever.

Foreign Object in the Trachea

As I mentioned above, teeth cleaning is an open-mouthed procedure so getting something stuck in your pooch’s trachea is quite common.

Usually, they just easily cough it up after a while but if it still persists, get them to your vet to have the foreign object dislodged from their windpipe.

Effect of anesthesia

I’ve mentioned that dogs undergo anesthesia during the teeth cleaning procedure to ensure a safe and painless experience for your furbaby.

Most dogs recover from anesthesia within 15 to 20 minutes after the procedure is done.

Usually, your canine companion would just be sleepy for the next 24 hours after the procedure and sometimes they cry from the effects of it as well as jaw and mouth discomfort.

Pre-Existing Disease

It’s also possible that your furbaby might be coughing due to a pre-existing disease and the teeth cleaning procedure possibly triggered it.

Some diseases go undetected unless a trigger, like a dental procedure, can cause them to react.

One thing to do about this is to contact your vet for a checkup and see what can be done to treat your pooch’s condition.

Use Of Non-Sterile or Poor Quality Apparatus

Highly unlikely but it makes sense that the use of dirty or poor-quality tools on your dog during a procedure would be detrimental to their well-being instead of beneficial.

Coughing after a procedure could possibly be from non-sterile tools used on them and this could mean that your vet did not adhere to a proper procedure. 

If you suspect your vet to have used non-sterile or poor apparatus on your dog, you should consider filing a complaint to your state veterinary licensing board for malpractice. 

Doggy recommends checking this article out too: Dog Throws Up After Taking Medicine? Here’s What You Need to Know

Can I Give My Dog Cough Medicine?

Sounds ridiculous right?

But if your dog is really coughing up a storm and you want to alleviate it for them, then you’d be surprised that you can actually give your pooch cough medicine like Robitussin.

This is provided that you have the approval of your vet and are given the proper dosage to give to your canine companion.

How To Care For Your Dog After A Dental Cleaning?

Now that you know about the possible causes of your dog’s coughing, let’s now go over what you can do to take care of them while they recover.

Food is crucial in aftercare.

Make sure to prepare soft food or softened kibble for your dog for at least a week after the dental procedure.

This is to make sure your canine companion’s sore jaw and mouth recover properly without straining.

Treats are also a nice aftercare thing, (as long as you don’t give your dog typical hard treats to avoid straining their jaw and teeth).

This will put your pooch in a happier mood after the dental cleaning. 

Doggie ice cream is a wonderful idea, especially on sore gums and it makes your companion a very happy doggo!

Of course, let’s not forget home dental care.

Dental chews (especially the hard ones), dental diet, and brushing are sometimes prescribed by your vet after cleaning but consider waiting for at least a week first to let your dog recover from the soreness.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Alternatives to Greenies dental chews

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Often Should Dogs Get Their Teeth Cleaned?

Our dogs are all different from one another so the frequency of getting their teeth professionally cleaned varies from pooch to pooch. It also depends on the home oral care, diet, and lifestyle of your dog to determine how often you should have their teeth cleaned. In general, I recommend bringing your dog for a dental cleaning once a year.

What to Expect After My Dog Has His Teeth Cleaned?

You should expect your canine companion to be quite sleepy, and that is due to the effects of the anesthesia. Another thing to expect is that your dog might feel a little irritated after a dental cleaning. Both are completely normal and not a cause for concern.

How Painful is Teeth Cleaning for Dogs?

Most dogs don’t exhibit pain when going through teeth cleaning and that is because vets make sure to put them under anesthesia to make the procedure safe and painless for them. They will only feel some soreness and pain after the procedure when the anesthesia had worn off and you can help them through their recovery.

How Long Does it Take For a Dog to Recover From Teeth Cleaning?

There will be cases where your dog will recover from anesthesia within a matter of a few hours and other times where it might take 24 to 48 hours. Our dogs are all different so recovery time from teeth cleaning will also vary. In any case, your vet will inform you regarding your dog’s overall condition after the procedure.

In Conclusion: Dog Cough After Dental Cleaning

While it may sound a bit scary if you get into this situation, most coughs after dental cleaning are pretty harmless and will go away quickly.

Ensure you continue to give your dog the right nutrition, water, and lots of TLC to help it get back to full health.

Want more dog care tips? Browse around our site or check out the following articles:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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