My dog coughed up a hairball!!!

Narrated from: Dog Health

But how can that be? Aren’t hairballs a cat-specific problem?

Well, actually - they are not. Hairballs in cats form because when a cat grooms herself (and they are exquisitely clean animals), dead hair sticks to the tongue and gets swallowed. The cat cannot digest the hairs, so a hairball forms, and it can’t leave through the back exit – so the cat coughs it up!

Many dogs can suffer the same fate. Long-haired dog breeds are highly susceptible to hairballs. Any dog that licks its coat swallows some dead hair and other non-digestible matter.

If a dog starts to cough up hairballs, then this will probably continue to happen on a seasonal basis. A long-haired dog usually sheds when summer comes, and a couple of hairballs on the carpet would be perfectly natural.

However, if your dog starts to cough up hairballs out of the blue, then this might be due to an underlying health problem. Various skin irritations such as allergies and skin disease can be caused by fleas or another external parasite infestation. If your dog suffers from one of these, it would cause the dog to gnaw, bite and lick the fur.

Prevent dog hairballs

There are several easy ways to limit dog hairballs.

1. Regular grooming

Well, it is a good idea to clean your dog once in a while anyway. If the dog has a hairball problem, then this only makes grooming more necessary. Equip yourself with several brushes, a deshedder, a comb or two and scissors when summer is near. Fido will swallow fewer dead hairs if you brush him on a regular basis, and it will be processed successfully by the digestive system.

2. Eliminate licking fixation

Some dogs will keep gnawing and licking themselves even if they are groomed regularly. In that case you need to adopt an appropriate training program. Distracting the dog when it starts to lick itself is the easiest solution, but that doesn’t always work.

3. Change the diet

Quality dog food can do wonders. Many dog foods are supposed to make the dog’s coat shiny and healthier: find a brand that actually does that! It would be best to consult your vet, who might also offer an appropriate food supplement. With the right diet the dog’s hair will fall out much less easily, and the dog will cease to groom itself!

4. Medications

There are various medications that treat hairballs in cats. Some of them are known to work on dogs, but you need to consult your veterinarian. If a dog hairball medicine is recommended to you in a shop, specifically check if it is really made for dogs.

The dog can’t cough up the hairball!

Sometimes a hairball gets too big. It gets stuck in the dog’s throat, or in the intestines. A stuck hairball starts to ferment, which releases potentially dangerous chemicals.

Temperature, loss of appetite, bloating, loss of weight, etc. can be symptoms of a stuck hairball, but the main indicator would be the dog’s unsuccessful efforts to upchuck the hairball.

Having the dog swallow some petroleum jelly often helps with hairballs stuck in the throat. Laxatives and enemas work for hairballs stuck in the bowels. However, there are “home-made” remedies, but you must consult your veterinarian before using them.

On rare occasions, surgery is needed. However, the chances of that happening, if you apply the right prophylactics, are very low.

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