What To Do If Your Dog Is Choking?

What To Do If Your Dog Is Choking?


Dogs are among the most curious animals. They love to explore with their noses and use their mouth to look for new and interesting things. So, these cute animals are likely to get choked on just about anything that fits inside their mouth and the trachea. Most common items include small balls like squash balls, golf balls, rawhide, real bones, children’s plastic toys, and cellophane.

So What to do if your dog is choking.

Choking dogs usually make retching motions and will have a panicked look on their face. They quickly start pacing back and forth and paw at the mouth. The chest may appear heaving, but there will be no airway noises.

What To Do If Your Dog Is Choking?

If you find any signs that your dog has something stuck in the trachea, take action immediately and do not wait till you visit the veterinary clinic.

Begin checking from the inside of your dog’s mouth to spot food or foreign objects that are lost inside the mouth or throat. If you can find anything, try to wipe it away with the help of your fingers. It will let your dog breathe again.

If you cannot move the object or piece of food that is stuck inside the mouth of your dog. Take your dog to the emergency vet as quickly as possible and try performing the Heimlich maneuver. If there is a small bone lodged inside your dog’s throat, do not attempt to remove it by yourself. Bones or any sharp object can cause injury to the inner surface of the dog’s throat. Take your dog immediately to the vet to remove the bone. The doctor may sedate your dog to remove the bone safely.

What to do if your dog is choking

If you are unable to remove the object that is choking your dog with your fingers. Heimlich maneuver is the next best step. Depending on the size of your pet, try the following two methods.

For Small Dogs

Carefully hold the dog on your lap and turn them to their back. Then use your palm, apply pressure underneath the rib cage, and push firmly inwards and upwards five times with thrusting motion. Try to roll your dog back onto the side and check their mouth for the food object blocking the airway.

For Medium-Sized And Large Dogs

Make your dog stand up, and then put your arms around the abdomen. Make a feast with your hand and firmly push forward and upward 5 times with a thrusting motion. It is similar to how the motion is performed on a human being.

This action should effectively dislodge the food particle or object choking your dog. Make sure to check the mouth to remove any food that is left behind inside the mouth. It will prevent the dog from swallowing and choking again. 

If the dog is lying on the floor, put one of your hands on the dog’s back and use the other to squeeze the abdomen upwards and forward. Apply the pressure towards the spine and then check the dog’s mouth for the object.

What To Do When The Dog Stops Choking?

Suppose you can safely remove the object that was choking your dog’s throat and blocking the airway. In that case, it is necessary to contact the vet immediately if the dog went without oxygen for a small duration, when hospitalization is necessary.

Choking can be very damaging to the throat and mouth of a dog. It will not be visible immediately to the owner, but vets usually recommend a bronchoscopy to check for any damage on the inside.

How To Prevent Your Dog From Choking Again?

You can prevent such circumstances in the future by making sure that you keep an eye on the dog when it is playing with toys or any small object. Items that can fit completely inside the mouth of the dog can be a potential choking hazard.

Always feed your dog food items that are formulated specifically for the dog’s size. It helps in preventing choking, especially in smaller breeds of dogs. If you can monitor your dog while eating, you can prevent choking.

If you have small children, make sure that their toys are kept out of the dog’s reach. Small toys pose a potential risk.

When shopping for toys for your dogs, always opt for sturdy toys to withstand the chewing. Experts always recommend buying extra strong toys for aggressive breeds that can take the pressure without breaking into small pieces. These pieces can eventually choke your dog’s throat.

How To Handle Your Pet During Emergencies?

In emergencies, life-threatening problems should be treated first. When you arrive at the veterinary clinic, the staff should rapidly assess your pet’s physical state and assign it as the problem. They will ask you about the current situation and a brief medical history of your pet. Some problems are parts of the medical history and may require immediate treatments. The veterinarian evaluates the breathing, circulation, and consciousness; after stabilizing the pet, emergency treatment starts. Obstructions in the airway can be life-threatening. Particularly if the large airways are completely restricted, the animal cannot breathe properly and falls unconscious. If a large airway is blocked and it will have noisy breathing. There may be a bluish tinge on the dog’s skin due to a lack of sufficient oxygen.

When a foreign object blocks a large airway, you should seek immediate help from the nearby vet. When an animal has difficulty in breathing they start to breathe faster and put more effort. It creates a noticeable change in the breathing pattern and the posture of the animals. Dogs usually stand with their elbows spread out and back section arched. The veterinarian will carefully observe the breathing pattern of the dog and listen to its chest. In severe cases, diagnostic imaging may be necessary after stabilizing the animal.

Always remember to contact the vet when your dog is choking or has recently choked. Contact an animal emergency center if you come across a choking emergency outside your vet’s office hours. Emergency help centers provide veterinary care for pets in all possible situations. Keep the contact details handy to seek immediate support during an emergency.

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