What to Do if Dog Is Choking?

As pet owners, we’ve all experienced moments of panic when our furry friends are distressed. One such alarming situation is when a dog is choking. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to take if you face this frightening scenario.

Stay calm, assess the situation, perform the Heimlich maneuver, clear the obstructed airway, and seek veterinary assistance.

By being prepared and knowing what to do, you can potentially save your dog’s life.

What to Do if Dog Is Choking? - dog, Choking - TotallyDogsBlog.com

Key Takeaways

  • Stay calm and assess the severity of the choking
  • Perform the Heimlich maneuver and encourage the dog to cough and clear the obstruction
  • Stand behind the dog and place hands just below the ribcage to apply firm upward pressure
  • Promptly seek veterinary assistance and provide detailed information about the choking incident

Recognizing the Signs of Choking

We should be aware of the signs of choking to ensure quick and effective action. Choking can happen to anyone, including our furry friends. As responsible pet owners, we must be able to recognize the signs of choking in dogs.

One of the most common signs is coughing or gagging. If our dog continuously coughs or makes choking sounds, it may indicate that something is lodged in their throat. We might also notice that they’re pawing at their mouth or drooling excessively.

Another sign to look out for is difficulty breathing. If our dog struggles to breathe or displays rapid, shallow breaths, it could be a sign of choking. In addition, we should pay attention to any signs of distress or panic, such as restlessness or pacing.

It’s important to mention that not all dogs will display the same symptoms, so we must be vigilant and observant. Knowing these signs, we can immediately help our choking dogs and potentially save their lives.

Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

Remaining calm and assessing the situation is essential when our dog is choking. It can be scary and stressful, but we must stay composed to help our furry friend. Here are three steps to take when our dog is choking:

  • Evaluate the severity of the choking: We first need to determine how severe the situation is. If our dog is coughing, gagging, or still able to breathe, it may not be a complete obstruction. However, if our dog struggles to breathe, has blue lips or gums, or is unconscious, it’s a critical emergency that requires immediate action.
  • Perform the Heimlich maneuver: If our dog is conscious and choking, we can try the Heimlich maneuver. Stand behind our dog and place our hands just below the ribcage. Apply firm, upward pressure to dislodge the object causing the obstruction. Be careful not to apply too much force, as it can cause injury.
  • Seek veterinary help: Even if we can successfully remove the obstruction, bringing our dog to the vet is essential for a thorough examination. There may be underlying issues contributing to the choking episode, and our vet can provide further guidance and treatment.

Performing the Heimlich Maneuver on a Dog

Let’s carefully apply upward pressure just below the ribcage to dislodge the object causing the obstruction when performing the Heimlich maneuver on a dog.

Choking can be a terrifying experience for both dogs and their owners. Acting quickly and effectively to save the dog’s life is essential. When we notice a dog choking, we must remain calm and assess the situation before acting.

If the dog is conscious and can still breathe, we should encourage them to cough and clear the obstruction independently. However, if the dog cannot live or their condition worsens, it’s time to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

We should stand behind the dog, place our hands just below the ribcage, and apply firm upward pressure. It’s crucial to be gentle yet firm to avoid causing any harm. We should repeat this motion until the object is dislodged and the dog can breathe freely.

After performing the Heimlich maneuver, seeking veterinary care is essential to ensure the dog’s overall health and prevent any potential complications.

Clearing an Obstructed Airway in Dogs

To clear an obstructed airway in dogs, gently perform abdominal thrusts to dislodge the object causing the blockage. It’s crucial to act quickly and confidently to save the dog’s life. Working quickly and confidently to keep the dog’s life is vital.

Here are three critical steps to follow:

  • Assess the situation: Determine if the dog is genuinely choking or if there’s another underlying issue. Look for signs such as excessive coughing, pawing at the mouth, difficulty breathing, or a bluish tint to the gums. If the dog is conscious and struggling to breathe, choking is likely the cause.
  • Perform abdominal thrusts: Stand behind the dog and place your hands below the ribcage. Make a fist with one hand and put it above the navel. Grasp your fist with the other hand and give quick, upward thrusts. Be careful not to apply too much force, as it can cause injury to the dog.
  • Monitor the dog: After performing abdominal thrusts, reassess the dog’s breathing. Repeat until the object is dislodged, or seek immediate veterinary assistance if the obstruction isn’t cleared.

Seeking Veterinary Assistance and Follow-up Care

After successfully dislodging the object causing the blockage, we should promptly and consistently seek veterinary assistance and follow-up care for our dog’s well-being. It’s important to remember that even if we could clear the obstruction ourselves, our dog may still require medical attention. Choking can cause damage to the airway, throat, or even internal organs, and a veterinarian will be able to assess the extent of any potential injuries. Additionally, secondary complications or infections could arise after the choking incident, which a professional can address.

When seeking veterinary assistance, providing them with as much information as possible is crucial. Let the veterinarian know the details of the choking incident, the object that caused the blockage, and any symptoms or behavior changes our dog has exhibited since then. This will help them diagnose accurately and determine the most appropriate course of action.

Follow-up care is equally essential to ensure our dog’s complete recovery. The veterinarian may prescribe medication, recommend dietary changes, or suggest further tests or treatments. Following their instructions carefully and scheduling any necessary follow-up appointments is essential. Regular check-ups will allow the veterinarian to monitor our dog’s progress and address concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Prevent My Dog From Choking in the Future?

To prevent our dog from choking in the future, we can: 1) Supervise meals and avoid giving him small bones or toys. 2) Keep harmful objects out of his reach. 3) Enroll in a pet first aid course for additional knowledge.

Can I Perform the Heimlich Maneuver on a Small Dog?

Yes, you can perform the Heimlich maneuver on a small dog. It is essential to act quickly and use caution. If your dog is choking, follow these steps to help clear their airway.

Are Any Risks or Potential Complications Associated With Performing the Heimlich Maneuver on a Dog?

Performing the Heimlich maneuver on a dog can have risks and potential complications. It’s essential to consider the size and health of the dog. You can consult a veterinarian for proper guidance and to avoid any harm.

How Long Should I Wait Before Seeking Veterinary Assistance if I Successfully Clear the Obstruction?

If we successfully clear the obstruction, we should still seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible. Even if the dog seems fine, underlying injuries or complications could require professional attention.

What Common Household Items Can Pose a Choking Hazard to Dogs?

Everyday household items that can pose a choking hazard to dogs include small toys, bones, balls, and even household plants. It’s essential to keep these items out of reach to ensure the safety of our furry friends.


In conclusion, recognizing the signs of choking in our furry friends is crucial to act quickly and effectively. By staying calm and assessing the situation, we can perform the Heimlich maneuver or clear their airway to save their lives.

However, seeking veterinary assistance and follow-up care is vital to ensure their well-being. Remember, being prepared and knowing what to do in an emergency can make all the difference for our beloved dogs.

Jennifer Barker

I'm Jennifer. My passion for dogs lead to this blog's creation in 2014. I share tales of life with my pups and insights on natural dog care so fellow pet parents can nurture the joy and wellbeing of their furry friends.

Leave a Reply

Press ESC to close