Gagging in Dogs

Why is my dog gagging?

Most common conditions

Kennel Cough / Foreign Objects Stuck in the Throat / Hole in the Trachea

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Rated as moderate conditon

11 Veterinary Answers

Most common conditions

Kennel Cough / Foreign Objects Stuck in the Throat / Hole in the Trachea

Why is my dog gagging?

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What is Gagging?

Gagging is a normal reflex that dogs have and it generally comes on quickly and just as quickly is gone without recurring. Older dogs will be especially susceptible to gagging because they will produce more mucus, this will cause them to gag occasionally. Recurring gagging or non-stop gagging is a cause for concern and will require veterinary intervention. Possible causes of recurring gagging include:

  • Foreign object in the throat, esophagus or mouth
  • Kennel cough
  • Sinusitis or rhinitis
  • Intestinal parasite infestation
  • Heart disease
  • Tracheal collapse

The first thing you should do is check your dog’s mouth for any foreign objects. Gently feel along the roof of your dog’s mouth and then check and under the tongue. If you feel something and can easily remove it without the object falling down your dog’s throat, do so. If you are unsure, take your dog to your veterinarian immediately. Objects lodged in the throat or esophagus will require your veterinarian to try to retrieve to clear the blockage and stop the gagging.

Why Gagging Occurs in Dogs

While occasional gagging is not something to worry about, recurring or non-stop gagging can be cause for alarm. Have your dog thoroughly checked by your veterinarian to determine the cause of your dog’s gagging.

Foreign Object in the Throat, Esophagus or Mouth

Small objects such as toys and sticks can easily become lodged in the back of your dog’s throat. These types of objects can also enter the esophagus and throat. You must closely monitor your dog when they are playing with certain toys and do not encourage chewing on sticks or rocks. Your dog will gag, claw that their mouth, drool and possibly vomit.

Kennel Cough

This is an illness that is contagious to other dogs. Your dog will have a hacking cough that is dry and many times accompanied by gagging. As the illness runs its course the gagging and coughing will become worse. Your veterinarian will prescribe medications to alleviate your dog’s cough and gagging.

Sinusitis and Rhinitis

Sinusitis is a sinus infection and rhinitis is a nasal infection. The postnasal drip from these infections will cause your dog to gag and retch. Infected teeth are a common cause of these infections. These infections will require medications from your veterinarian.

Intestinal Parasite Infestation

All puppies are born with intestinal parasites and therefore de-wormings will be necessary. It is easy for dogs to pick up intestinal parasites without you realizing it. Gagging and coughing can be a sign that your dog is suffering from a roundworm infestation. The larvae will migrate to the lungs and then penetrate the capillaries in the lungs and move into the air sacs. Your dog will suffer from chronic gagging because the roundworms are in the air sacs. You may see worms in your dog’s stool or in their vomit.

Heart Disease

Gagging can be a sign that your dog is suffering from heart disease, especially in senior dogs. Chronic or non-stop gagging accompanied by fast breathing, exercise intolerance, lethargy and a bluish tint to their tongue are signs that your dog is suffering from cardiovascular disease.

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is common in smaller breeds such as the Chihuahua. Your dog will have recurring gagging and the collapse will worsen over time and may require surgical intervention. Tracheal collapse can be congenital, or a birth defect, or it can be acquired at some time in your dog’s life.

What to do if your Dog is Gagging

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when your dog is in need of medical attention. If your dog is gagging more and more often or the gagging is accompanied by a cough, nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, lethargy, clawing at the mouth, fever or excessive panting/drooling, you need to see your veterinarian immediately as your dog could be in extreme distress.

Clearing the mouth, throat or esophagus will be the first thing your veterinarian will do to ensure that there are no foreign objects obstructing their airway or in their throat. Antibiotics will be prescribed if your dog is suffering from sinusitis or rhinitis. 

Your veterinarian will perform a fecal exam to verify the presence of intestinal parasites and will prescribe the appropriate wormer for your dog. Be sure to follow up with your veterinarian two weeks after giving the wormer to ensure that all parasites have been eradicated. Pick up your dog’s feces immediately to keep your dog from becoming re-infested. 

Heart disease and tracheal collapse will be treated by your veterinarian and treatments will vary depending on the severity of the disease. You will need to speak with your veterinarian regarding treatment options.

Prevention of Gagging

To prevent your dog from chronic recurring gagging keep certain things from your dog such as sticks, small toys or bones. These things, if lodged, can cause gagging. Make sure you take your dog for regular check ups, especially if they have been diagnosed with an underlying condition such as heart disease or tracheal collapse. 

Regularly have fecal exams done on your dog and when intestinal parasites are found, use an appropriate wormer that will kill off those parasites. If your dog is going to be boarded, be sure to give the Bordetella vaccine which will protect your dog against contracting kennel cough.

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Cost of Gagging

The cost of treatment for your dog will depend on the underlying cause of their gagging. The average cost for treatment of an intestinal parasite infestation is $300. Treating kennel cough will average $650. If your dog has been diagnosed with heart disease, treatments will average $2500 whereas treatment for tracheal collapse will average about $1800.

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Gagging Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Goldendoodle

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Gagging

My dog had been gagging and I’m not sure what the cause is. He is usually active and happy but now he is just sitting around gagging

July 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello Has your pet been chewing on something recently? Dogs will gag sometimes if they have something stuck in the mouth. It is recommended that you take him to a veterinarian right away for an exam. They may need to sedate him and do a thorough oral exam to see if there is foreign material present in his mouth or throat. Good luck.

July 10, 2020

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Cobie-Cinnabon

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Shetland Sheepdog

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12 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Gagging

My dog gags or hacks intermittently during the day and night. It appears much worse at night and early morning. Occasionally, he throws up a bright, yellow liquid. He is old and lacks energy but this along with the gagging is ongoing for years. Otherwise, he looks good and he loves to eat. 12.5 year old Shetland Sheepdog.

July 10, 2018

Cobie-Cinnabon's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

There are many causes for Cobie's gagging, including GI disease or respiratory disease of some kind. Since I cannot see him or examine him, it would be a good idea to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can assess what might be going on with him and determine if he needs treatment for the cause.

July 10, 2018

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Simon

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Labrador Retriever

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7 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Gagging

My dog got his head caught in the car window when stepped on the control and started yelping and I stopped it on time. That was about 3 months ago and he did not have any issues after that. I was wondering if the causes could be delayed. He now gags once in a while and he is fine and healthy other wise.

May 19, 2018

Simon's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I would be surprised if he didn't' show any signs right after the trauma and started to show signs now, but I suppose it is possible, if scar tissue or thickening occurred. If the gagging becomes a problem, it would be best to have him examined by a veterinarian, as they can see him, determine what might be causing the gagging, and get any treatment that he may need.

May 19, 2018

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Bailey

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German Shorthaired Pointer

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12 Weeks

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Gag

Just adopted a 12 week old pup. She has been Gagging a lot. Mostly when she is sleeping or resting. Not when she is walking around or exercising. The vet checked her out for worms and Parvo. Also checked her vitals and everything seems to be good. She just keeps gagging, especially at nighttime.

May 4, 2018

Bailey's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There are a few different causes for gagging which may include stray hairs, other small foreign objects, acid reflux, laryngeal disorders among other causes; without examining Bailey I couldn’t say what the underlying cause of the gagging is, but if your Veterinarian couldn’t determine a cause I would monitor for the time being and look for any changes or other symptoms presenting. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 5, 2018

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Koko

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Dachshund

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5 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Gagging

my dog gags and looks like she's about to puke.. happens randomly.. mostly at night when she's just sitting with me or in bed.. her eating is normal and her energy level is normal too... I just don't kbow what is going on with this gagging thing..

May 3, 2018

Koko's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Without seeing Koko, I"m not sure why she is doing that either. Some dogs do gag intermittently, and it isn't anything to worry about, but some dogs do have intestinal or esophageal problems that cause this. If you are not sure that is is normal, it would be best to have her examined at some point by a veterinarian, let them know what she does, and they'll be able to look at her and determine how best to treat this problem.

May 3, 2018

Louie ate raw chicken thigh (he’s 9 months old) another dog started him while eating and he gagged for 2 days. Just as I was about to take him to the vet when he vomited his entire breakfast. No gagging since. No more raw food period.He also likes to eat grass then gag and vomit.

July 1, 2018

David T.

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Cheyanne

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Great Pyreneese

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Gaging After Eat

5 year old female Great Pyraneese has been gagging 2-3 times a day for last 7 weeks, usually after eating Usually gagging roaring sound 2-3 times several times a day, often after eating

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Cooper

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Beagle/Basset

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Gagging While Asleep

My 2 year old beagle/basset mix appears to have gagged a couple of times while asleep. Today was the first time it happened. It woke him up and it took a moment or two for him to recover. Needless to say it scared us both. His eating and drinking are normal and there has been nothing new in his diet. No new shampoos or lotions or powders either. He is about 3-5 pounds overweight. Apnea perhaps?

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Honey

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terrier

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9 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Gagging
Coughing

My dog has been coughing and it’s dry she tends to not do it too often when I walk her on her harness she begins to cough I’m worried that maybe it’s something bad. And she just started coughing 4 months ago She tends to eat whatever she finds on the floor which is what people tell me is the reason but I don’t really have the money to go to a vet so I don’t really know what to do

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Ella

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Labrador Retriever

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9 Weeks

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Tired

My puppy is 9 weeks old. We just adopted her 2 days ago. She gags and has thrown up a couple times. The last 2 times have been clear and foamy, like spit up. She has been sleeping a lot, i'm not sure if its because she is sad, due to change in environment. or just because she is a puppy.

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Trouble

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Yorkie

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16 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Gagging
Coughing

I recently inherited my grandmothers 16yo yorkie. He has a dry cough that usually ends with a gag. He does this all day, probably 20x/ day. I've had him for about 2 months now and it seems to be getting a little worse. It only lasts for a few seconds. He seems totally fine otherwise. He has a great appetite, voids and stools appropriately. He does have allergies and sensitive/ irritated skin but is not on any medications. He has always been an inside dog without much exposure to other dogs.

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