5 min read


Can Dogs Choke?



5 min read


Can Dogs Choke?


Like children, dogs can be very inquisitive and while this is healthy, it can also pose a danger. Some things that you need to watch out for are items on which your dog may choke, which includes low-quality dog toys that have loose parts that your dog could swallow. 

Dogs can choke easily, just like humans and this could even be the results of something such as wolfing down their food too quickly. Obviously, if your dog starts to choke, it can prove to be very serious or even fatal in some cases. This is why you have to be very careful about what your dog puts into their mouth. Your dog can also choke due to its neck being restricted, which then causes the throat to swell up.


Signs Your Dog May Be Choking

It is important to recognize the signs of your dog choking, as it may not be immediately obvious, particularly if you were not around to see what your dog was putting in its mouth. One of the signs that you should look out for is your dog clearly in distress and expressing signs of anxiety. While this could be down to a number of different problems, it will enable you to see that something is wrong. You also need to look out for the various other signs that your dog may be choking. For instance, you may notice that your dog is struggling to breathe or is unable to swallow.

Some dogs will start pawing at their faces if they cannot breathe properly. Many will also start gagging, drooling, and being sick. All of these are signs that could indicate your dog has either swallowed something that has become stuck or that their neck is restricted and has caused swelling of the throat. In the event that you notice these signs, it is vital that you get your pet to the vet's as quickly as possible. Choking should be considered an emergency for your dog, just as it would be in humans. 

You need to check on your dog’s body language to see if there are any signs of choking, as this can be a clear indicator. Your dog may display certain body language that indicates clear signs of distress. You may see your pooch struggling to get their breath. You may also notice that your dog is dry heaving. Their ears and tail may be down because of the anxiety and distress they are experiencing. All of these are signs that you need to look for to determine whether your dog may be choking.

Other signs that you may want to look out for include your dog pacing backward and forward from distress, a heaving chest, a panicked expression, and making retching noises. These are all additional signals that your dog may be choking, so you need to check their mouth or get them to the vet as soon as possible.

Body Language

<p>If you think your dog may be choking, look for the following:</p>

  • Drooling
  • Dropped Ears
  • Tail Tucking
  • Whale Eye

Other Signs

<p>Other signs that indicate choking are:</p>

  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Pacing
  • Retching
  • Vomiting
  • Gagging

History of Dogs Choking


Over the years, researchers have come to realize that dogs are very curious creatures. We all know how children like to put everything in their mouths, which is why we have to be careful what we leave around.

Well, it has also been determined that dogs are very similar and will often try to swallow small objects such as ping pong balls, cellophane, real bone pieces, and bits of plastic from toys, amongst other things. If the item that they try and swallow gets stuck in their trachea, the dog will then start to choke and this could lead to serious consequences as well as intense distress for the dog.

The other thing that researchers have found through historical studies is that, just like humans, dogs can choke as a result of constriction of their necks. For instance, if your dog is wearing a collar that is on far too tight, this could cause restriction. This will then lead to swelling of the throat, which makes it difficult for your dog to breathe and causes them to choke. 

Fortunately, over the years experts have developed various ways in which owners can help their dogs if they are choking, which includes checking the mouth for foreign objects and even performing the canine Heimlich maneuver. 

Science Behind Dogs Choking


In short, scientific research has shown that if your dog swallows something that is small enough to fit into the trachea opening and block the airways, they could end up choking. This will cause various symptoms such as gagging, drooling, and vomiting amongst others.

Likewise, if the airways are blocked as a result of constriction of the neck, it can also lead to choking. As with any animal or human, dogs that are experiencing breathing difficulties will become quickly panicked but as the owner it is important that you try to remain calm so that you can help your dog more effectively. 

Helping Your Dog If They are Choking


If you want to ensure you are able to help your dog in the event of choking, it is important that you take heed of the signs and symptoms associated with it. In addition, you need to try and prevent this from occurring in the first place by trying to ensure your dog does not have items that they may swallow. 

If you are buying toys for your pet, make sure you choose quality ones that are safe for your dog to play with and have no loose components that could be broken off and swallowed. If you are buying a ball for your dog, make sure it is not a tiny one that could be swallowed. Basically, you need to do an assessment of your home environment and yard to look for any potential hazards.

Of course, you cannot be around your dog 24 hours a day, so there is a chance that your pooch may find something that you have missed and try to swallow it. If this does happen, you need to familiarize yourself with what to do. 

You should open the dog’s mouth and pull their tongue forward to see if you can see what is stuck. If the item can be seen and reached, you should be able to remove it. However, if you cannot see it, do not just force your hand down your pet’s throat, as this could make the problem even worse. In addition, check to see whether their neck is overly restricted for any reason.

If your dog is choking and you cannot see the foreign object or find the cause of the choking, you need to get your pet to the vet as quickly as possible. Your vet will then be able to carry out a thorough check and get the foreign object removed before it causes any further distress or problems. 

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Written by a Boston Terrier lover Reno Charlton

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 03/22/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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