Dogs are renowned for their nosy noses and inquisitive appetites. Your dog will inevitably get into trouble at some point in their lives, whether it’s eating a stray chicken wing left on the sidewalk or searching the trash for ruined food leftovers. But what can you do if, god forbid, your dog starts choking on whatever strange object they’ve discovered?

Knowing that your dog is in danger as a pet parent can be upsetting, stressful, and even irritating, especially if you don’t have a clear plan of action. Your dog depends on you to free whatever is lodged in their throat before it’s too late while they are choking.

But how precisely do you assist a dog who is choking? What should you do if your dog is having trouble swallowing or choking?

You can better understand the seriousness of the problem and perhaps get some advice on what to do if you are aware of some facts concerning dog choking.



What leads to dog choking?

Your dog could choke for a number of reasons, but food is the most frequent one. Small toys, rawhide chews, and other inconspicuous items that your dog comes upon and decides to place in their mouth can potentially cause obstruction.

Usually, when a dog swallows something, it passes via the esophagus first before entering the stomach. The thing your dog swallows blocks the trachea, however, if it chokes.

The trachea for breathing and the esophagus for eating are the two tubes in your dog’s throat. Your dog chokes if the food or object goes down the wrong pipe.

Small things that can choke a child include tennis balls, rubber balls, and plastic toys. You must supervise your dog as they play and provide them only the safest toys. Learn what pet store products you should not give to your dog.


What are the typical symptoms of a dog choking?

People can stop talking when they are choking, and we can use the universal sign of putting our hands around our neck to signal for aid.

Obviously, your dog cannot do that, therefore it is important to watch for any abrupt changes in your dog’s behavior to determine whether they are already choking.

How can you recognize when a dog is choking when the little behavioral changes may be too subtle for the majority of dog owners to notice?

The typical warning symptoms are listed below:

  • Coughing or hacking while joyfully eating their food or biting onto something
  • Tries to breathe deeply and fully without feeling the chest rise or fall
  • Pawing at one’s stomach
  • Trying to cough something out while gagging and retching
  • Rubbing the earth with their faces
  • Breathing with wheezing noises

Your dog will eventually pass out and lose consciousness if it is unable to breathe through its trachea, and its typically pink and healthy gums will turn pale, yellowish, or even bluish. Death is a possible in the absence of immediate assistance.


What to do if your dog starts to choke?

What should you do if something becomes stuck in your dog’s throat? You should always treat a choking event seriously, regardless of whether you can reach inside and remove the clog on your own or you’d prefer to visit the veterinarian. It almost always involves a last-minute trip to the vet for the animals.

Here are the first aid procedures you can do to assist a dog who is choking if you are feeling confident or if time is of the essence:


1. Gently and carefully restrain your dog

An anxious or bewildered dog that is choking may accidently bite you. Restrict your dog gently to avoid this happening. Use of a muzzle is not advised as it can make the problem worse.

It is normal that your dog will whirl around and bite while panicked and already having a hard time breathing.

Placing a scared, choking dog on its side is the easiest technique to confine them. While telling your nervous dog that everything will be fine, hold your pet down.


2. Make a finger sweep

So, if your dog is choking on a bone or something else, here’s what to do.

If at all possible, have someone hold your dog still as you open the mouth and peek inside. Look to see if there is anything blocking or lodged in your dog’s throat.

Evaluate the situation frequently and avoid putting yourself at danger of being bitten.

You can use tongs, long tweezers, needle nose pliers, or your hand to try and hold and remove items like a piece of bone or a stick. However, if you believe that touching the object would cause your pet to swallow it even more, refrain from doing so.


3. Go to the Vet

Even if you were successful in removing the choking danger or if you are having second thoughts about trying to do so, it is still recommended to take your dog right away to the doctor so they can perform a more thorough examination and look for any hidden injuries.


Important facts to have in Mind

  • Never reach out blindly for the item or try to find it by patting or examining with your hand because doing so could further harm the tissues in your dog’s neck.
  • You can try to move the stuck object by executing a Heimlich technique if you want to learn how to help a choking puppy or smaller dog breed. Pets should be picked up with their heads held high and their backs pressed against yours. Push up in the soft area beneath their ribcage.
  • Another helpful approach for assisting a dog who is choking is to apply strong pressure with your thumbs under the dog’s jaw, especially if a big object is caught, such a ball or a rawhide. Gently advance your fingers until they are at the base of its jaw.
  • If your dog stops breathing, start CPR and apply chest compressions right away to help him resume breathing. A dog coughing but still breathing is still a good indication. You must immediately travel to the closest veterinarian at this point.




With a little direction, you can feel confident in your ability to assist a choking dog and save a dog’s life. Good luck, and remember to work with your veterinarian to make sure your dog is okay following a frightening choking event.