(Note – this page is not professional veterinary advice.) Choking is an emergency that can leave any dog owner in a state of panic and not knowing exactly what to do. We found a great video tutorial and it’s posted below our comments.
Choking can happen anytime: Dogs are inherently curious and may eat or breathe in all kinds of things. In almost all instances, the culprit is a seemingly harmless item that just happens to fit inside your dog’s throat: a little plastic toy, a stick or wood piece, a bone, a cork, etc. When a foreign object lodges in the throat or windpipe, the flow of air is blocked and thus oxygen supply to all organs, especially the brain, is compromised.
A choking dog will most often make some kind of a ‘coughing’ sound and may either stand still or possibly become more restless than usual, pacing back and forth, pawing its mouth, or scratching its throat in an effort to relieve itself. Your dog might likely gag or appear to vomit too.
So what should you do when your dog unfortunately chokes? Obviously, the primary aim is to remove the item blocking your dog’s airway and restore your dog’s normal breathing. That can be easier said than done if the dog is freaking out. The size of your dog, whether he is conscious or not, and the location of where the lodged object is are among the considerations. For example, small dogs can be picked up by the hind legs and this may help dislodge an obstruction of the airways. It’s even possible to perform a “Heimlich maneuver” on a dog, but you will need to know how to do this correctly.
The object stuck in your dog’s throat might also have caused some damage already. In such cases, veterinary assessment and care is still important even if you have successfully pulled out whatever your dog is choking on.
As they say, knowledge is power, so here’s an instructive video from Dr. Adrienne Mulligan of expertvillage regarding what to do when your dog is choking.