How to Help a Choking Dog?

How to Help a Choking Dog

How to Help a Choking Dog? – Being dog owners, we all know how difficult it is for our dogs when something gets stuck in their throats. The moment when they cough to throw the stuck substance from their throat is referred to as choking.

How to Help a Choking Dog: A Guide for Pet Owners

Choking is a frightening experience for both dogs and their owners. Here’s what you need to know to act quickly and potentially save your dog’s life:

Causes of Choking in Dogs

  • Foreign Objects: Dogs may swallow or inhale items that obstruct their airways, such as balls, toys, or food.
  • Tracheal Collapse: A weakening of the cartilage rings in the windpipe (trachea), common in some breeds.
  • Tight Collars: Constriction around the neck can make it difficult for dogs to breathe and swallow.

Signs of Choking

  • Auditory: Coughing, gagging, wheezing, or whistling noises.
  • Physical: Difficulty breathing, pale or bluish gums, frantic behavior.
  • Sensory: Pawing at the mouth, shaking, extreme anxiety.

How to Help a Choking Dog

  1. Restrain: Gently restrain your dog to prevent them from hurting themselves or you. Avoid muzzling them.
  2. Open Mouth: Carefully open their mouth and look for the obstruction using a flashlight.
  3. Remove Obstruction: Use tweezers or forceps if you can clearly see and reach the object.
  4. Heimlich Maneuver (if necessary):
    • Small Dogs: Hold them on your lap, belly facing up. Place a fist below the ribcage and apply quick upward thrusts.
    • Large Dogs: Wrap your arms around their waist, make a fist, and apply inward and upward thrusts just behind the ribcage.
  5. Veterinary Care: Seek immediate veterinary attention even if you successfully dislodge the object.

Precautions to Prevent Choking

  • Supervise Play: Monitor your dog around toys and potential hazards.
  • Choose Safe Toys: Avoid small or easily breakable toys.
  • Size-Appropriate Food: Offer food pieces suitable for your dog’s size.
  • Avoid Street Roaming: Don’t let your dog wander unsupervised where they might ingest dangerous items.

What NOT to Do

  • Don’t Forcefully Push: You could push the object further down.
  • Don’t Blindly Reach: Avoid getting bitten.
  • Don’t Hold the Mouth Shut: This restricts breathing and increases panic.


Even if you successfully help your dog, consult a veterinarian to check for internal injuries or infections.

Key Takeaways

  • Knowing how to recognize choking and respond quickly can save your dog’s life.
  • Prevention is always better. Supervise your dog and choose appropriate toys and food.
  • If the Heimlich maneuver fails, rush your dog to the nearest vet for emergency care.
  • Remain calm and act swiftly in a choking emergency. Your actions could make all the difference for your furry companion.

What Can Be the Cause Behind a Dog Choke?

As we all know that dogs have a habit of chewing and smelling everything near them, this habit of dogs can sometimes be hazardous for their health as some objects can get trapped in their throat.

The choking of dogs can be due to many reasons. Some of the primary reasons behind the choking of dogs are discussed below.

Trapping of Foreign Particles

The trapping of foreign particles in a dog’s throat can be the major reason behind a dog’s choking.

The habit of dogs chewing and smelling everything can make the foreign particles trapped in the throat. For example, if the dog was chewing the cone of a piece of furniture, then there is a possibility that a portion of it could get into the dog’s mouth.

Collapsing of the Trachea

As per research, the collapse of the tracheal surface is also a significant reason behind the choking of dogs.

Sometimes the cartilaginous rings of the trachea get flattened, which keeps the trachea open and causes the excessive flow of the oxygen into the tracheal surface, which makes the dog choke.

Constricted Collars

The constriction of the collars can even be the cause behind the choking of your dog. Sometimes the dog will not be able to swallow correctly due to the compression of collars and interrupts in the airway through the esophagus, causing breathing issues and many other problems.

What are the Signs of a Choking Dog?

The owners need to know what kind of bodily reactions occur in dogs when something gets stuck in their throats. This is important because it will help them take the proper medications as per the condition of the dog’s health.

The signs of your dog’s body can be divided into three types: the auditory signs, the physical signs, and the sensory signs.

The Auditory Signs

If something gets stuck in the laryngeal area of a dog, then it will irritate the lining of the laryngeal surface by continuous rubbing due to the process of inhalation.

This can make the dog cough, squeak, or make whistling noises as the process of coughing puts pressure downwards the epi-laryngeal surface, which makes the upper surface push the stuck thing to eliminate it from the throat.

These signs like cough, squeak, or whistling noises fall under the category of auditory cues.

The Physical Signs

When something gets stuck in the throat of a dog that is in the laryngeal area, it interrupts the flow of oxygen as the stuck object restricts the entry of oxygen into the body,

which causes breathing issues for your dog, the restriction of oxygen flow in the body also makes the tongue of the dog fade in appearance.

It also discolored the dog’s gum, which falls in the category of physical signs. It is suggested to take your pet to a veterinarian if you notice such symptoms in your dog.

The Sensory Signs

Sometimes you will also be able to notice some sensitive responses of your dog towards the stuck substance in its throat. The acute reactions of your dog will include its anxious behavior, shivering, and shaking of the whole body, which may be due to the itchiness in its throat.

Suppose the condition is not under your control and your dog is not getting the comfort even after your multiple efforts. In that case, you should take your dog to a veterinarian to get treated and avoid the life-threatening condition.

The proper medication given by the veterinarian will prevent your dog from getting troubled by the further problems that the obstacle in the throat can create.

How to Help a Choking Dog? – How to Stop a Dog from Choking?

There is a correct procedure to follow to prevent your dog from choking and make him feel comfortable from that itchiness and unconditional anxiousness.

Sometimes the dogs even get panicked due to the restriction in the oxygen flow, which can harm both the owner and the dog as they might even try to bite the owner due to the anxiousness.

The steps that you can follow to prevent your dog from choking are:

Restrain the Dog

It is essential to restrain the dog at the start of the procedure because they can hurt themselves due to anxiousness. Make sure you restrain the dog and don’t muzzle them because it was already in trouble due to the breathing issues, and muzzling your dog can lead to even worse conditions.

Try to Open the Mouth

As the dog is suffering already, it may be pretty impossible for the owner to open the mouth of the pet.

For opening the dog’s mouth, the owner has to be very careful as there is a chance of getting bitten. The owner can calm the dog with some care, cuddle, rub the dog’s head gently, and open his mouth slightly.

Discovering the Stuck Object

After opening the dog’s mouth slightly without causing any severe pain to the pet, the owner can try to look inside the mouth with the help of a torch to find the stuck object in the pet’s throat.

Elimination of the Object from the Throat

After noticing the same site in the throat where the object is stuck, it can be relatively easier for the owner to take out the thing with the help of a tweezer or forceps.

If the condition still doesn’t seem to be under control, the owner should directly take the pet to a veterinarian to avoid a further emergency.

Many dog owners tested these steps experimentally and used them to make their dogs feel comfortable during critical conditions.

What Things to Be Avoided While Stopping a Dog from Choking?

After discussing the steps to follow for taking out the stuck object from your dog’s throat, now let’s discuss the few steps that should be strictly avoided while following this process.

The steps that should be strictly avoided are:

Pushing the Object

While trying to remove the stuck object from the throat, the owner needs to avoid pushing the thing as it can cause the thing to go even deeper into the dog’s mouth.

Putting the Fingers in the Mouth

The owner should strictly avoid putting their fingers into the mouth of the dog as the dog was already in trouble, and there is a chance of getting bitten. In contrast, this inserting of fingers can even damage the delicate tissues in the laryngeal area of the dog.

Holding the Mouth Tightly

The owner should strictly avoid holding the mouth of the dog tightly as it can be painful for the dog and will increase the problem for your pet even more as it was already in trouble.

The owner should carefully take care of the above-discussed steps as a little bit of carelessness in following the above steps will put the dog into more trouble. The owner should treat this situation with utmost care and love.

Is the Heimlich Maneuver Worth it for Applying to Choking Dogs?

As we all know, the Heimlich maneuver is a type of therapy used to prevent the ones suffering from choking. This therapy has given outstanding results in many human trials and has treated many patients suffering from obstructions in the windpipe.

Now the question is, will a Heimlich maneuver work for removing obstacles from a dog’s throat? As per the studies done, yes, it can happen. Till now, the Heimlich maneuver has treated many dogs suffering from choking.

It’s a first-aid procedure that applies upward pressure on the upper abdomen, making stuck particles out of the laryngeal surface.

How to Apply a Heimlich Maneuver in Dogs?

The process of applying a Heimlich maneuver in dogs differs by the size of your dog. There are two different processes of using the Heimlich maneuver: one is for smaller dogs, and another is for medium and large-sized dogs.

The steps for applying the Heimlich maneuver in different dogs are discussed below :

For Smaller Dogs

For applying the Heimlich maneuver in smaller dogs, the owner has to take the dog carefully and make him calm with some love and care,

then try to keep the pet on the lap and slowly apply some pressure at the lower edge of the abdomen right beneath its back and try to pressurize it slowly upward so that the stuck object will get the required force to move out from the laryngeal area of the throat.

For Large and Medium-Sized Dogs

The process of applying the Heimlich maneuver in large and medium dogs is a bit different from the process discussed previously.

If the dog is standing, then the owner was suggested to take both of his hands around the pet’s body and try to make a fist so that both of his fingers fall on the dog’s abdomen and then slightly try to put some pressure on the lower side of the stomach towards the spine so that the external force applied can make the obstacle in the throat move out of the throat.

Both the steps have very little difference in their application process, so the owner has to be very careful while applying the Heimlich maneuver to dogs. If applying a Heimlich maneuver is not sufficient for relaxing your dog, the dog should be taken to a veterinarian.

What to Do After Preventing Your Dog from Choking?

 It is suggested to all dog owners that even if they successfully removed the obstacle from their dog’s throat, they still have to take their dog to a veterinarian.

It is important because the procedure followed by the owner at home to remove the obstacle from the dog’s throat can cause damage to its mouth which will not be visible to the naked eye.

The veterinarians have access to such instruments, which can detect issues deep inside the dog’s mouth and have proper medication to provide if any tissues were harmed during the procedure. The infections in the trachea and damage in its tissues need to be treated as soon as possible as it can turn into a severe disease in the future.

What Precautions to Take to Prevent Future Choking?

After the dog’s survival through this critical situation, none of the dog owners will want their dog to get into this situation again. So to prevent future choking, the dog owners have to follow the below-discussed steps.

The steps that should be followed to prevent your dog from choking in the future are discussed below:

  1. The owner should keep his dog in an accessible place with no obstacles, like furniture and hard toys that the dog can chew.
  2. The owner should strictly avoid giving his pet small balls and wooden pieces to play with.
  3. Always prefer giving food as per the size of your dogs. If you have a small dog, you can’t feed the pet large-sized foods as it will get stuck in its throat.
  4. Always keep an eye on your dog during an outing so that it will not get any chance to chew the things in its surroundings.
  5. Please keep your dog always at home and never let him walk in the street alone as they don’t know what things can hurt them and will try to chew things in their surroundings.

These techniques were well researched and have given fantastic results to prevent your dog from choking in the future.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

Know More

Recommended For You