Dogs and Choking: Prevention and What To Do

There is nothing scarier than the sounds of dogs and choking. It is a common emergency with over 200,000 reported incidences in the US each year. Coughing; accompanied by signs of severe distress like pawing at the mouth, drooling, rubbing the face along the ground, gagging and retching are all indications your dog may be choking. There may also be signs that your dog is experiencing trouble breathing and/or a loss of oxygen, such as panting or discoloration of the tongue or gums. In this type of situation, it is important to know what to do beforehand and act quickly. You may not be able to wait for veterinary care to help your dog.

Not only is it important to know the auditory, physical and sensory signs of choking, but more importantly what to do in case of a choking emergency. When dogs and choking go together, it’s easy to panic yourself. When your dog is in distress, what do you do?

Dogs and Choking: What To Do?

Well…  Your dog may start to panic. Keep them restrained so they are not able to hurt themselves or you. Next, check for external factors and remove anything around the neck that may be causing the distress. Look inside your dog’s mouth and remove any foreign object blocking the airway. Be careful not to push the object farther back into the passageway or put your fingers down the throat. The delicate tissues at the back of the throat are delicate and can be injured easily. Finally, has the choking dog retained consciousness.

It is best to get the dog to the vet as soon as possible when they are choking. Though your dog may have coughed out the blockage on their own, they should still be examined to see if medical attention is needed. Should your dog lose consciousness due to lack of oxygen, there is a Heimlich Maneuver for dogs.

The Heimlich Maneuver for dogs and choking issues

Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs and Choking

For small dogs: Hold your dog against your torso with their head up and their paws down. Place your closed fist in the dog’s stomach just under the ribs. Hold the fist with the other hand and make 4-5 rapid thrusting motions, inward and upward.

For large dogs: If the dog is standing put your arms around the belly, one hand a fist and the other closing around the fist placed in the hollow of the abdomen, same as above. Push firmly, 4-5 times, up and forward on the stomach to dislodge object from throat.

If the large dog is lying down, use the same method as above but with one hand placed on the back for support.

After performing the thrusting motion 4-5 times, check the airway again and clear debris from mouth. You may repeat thrusts if necessary.

Dogs and Choking Prevention

Of course, the best way to protect your dog from the dangers of choking is to do your best to prevent it in the first place. Exploring the world with their mouths is true of dogs and choking can be a reality. Many dogs will put lots of things in their mouths they should avoid and are able to choke. Follow these basic guidelines to help keep your dog from choking:

  • Be careful with the chews and toys you give your dog. They should be weight, breed and bite strength appropriate. An object that is too small can easily be swallowed whole and become a choking hazard.
  • Be safe and don’t leave your dog unattended while chewing. Small pieces can break off and pose a choking threat.
  • Be aware of the size and type of bones you give your dog. Take a look at this article on bone safety for dogs.

Preparation for the possibility of choking in your dog is recommended as a responsible pet owner. Information and education on pet safety are the best ways to love on your dog. Another way to keep your dog safe and secure is with a PlexiDor Dog Door. You can offer them the freedom to access to the outdoors and the safety of a lockable dog door. Contact our Customer Service for more information at 888-PETDOOR. We’re always happy to help!