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What Should I Do if My Dog Is Choking?


What should I do if my dog is choking?


Fortunately, it’s rather uncommon for a dog to choke. There are, however, many instances when a dog may seem to be choking.

Determine if your dog is really choking

Often when a dog coughs, it sounds as if they are trying to get something out of their throat. Coughing is not necessarily life threatening. However, take the dog to a veterinarian to determine the cause.

Reverse sneeze syndrome is another phenomenon often misinterpreted as choking. When this happens, the dog extends his head and neck forward and forcefully inhales through the nose and mouth, often appearing to grimace. These episodes can last for seconds or minutes and can be repetitive and distressing to both dogs and humans.

Reverse sneeze syndrome most often strikes small breed dogs with small mouths or “pushed-in” (brachycephalic) noses. It can happen to any dog, though. Allergies or irritants in the environment may be the culprit. Reverse sneeze syndrome is usually not an emergency. However, if you believe your dog is distressed, bring them to a veterinarian right away.

Prepare with pet first aid

Many communities offer pet first-aid classes, often through the American Red Cross. At a pet first aid class, you may learn how to perform a Heimlich Maneuver intended to aid in dislodging an object in the throat. This maneuver should never be performed if you have not received training on how to correctly and safely administer it, nor should it be performed if you are not 100% certain the animal is choking. An improperly performed Heimlich can cause serious injury or even death, particularly for small dogs.

You should also purchase or prepare pet first-aid kits and keep one in your home and another in your car.

When it’s actually an emergency

If you have witnessed your dog eat something and are certain they are choking, rush them immediately to the closest veterinarian.

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