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What To Do When a Dog Is Choking?

Usually, dogs chew almost anything they come across: toys, shoes, bones and socks.

Additionally, dogs are curious and eat anything they come across.

At times this can go the wrong way, leading to choking and difficult breathing.

Other times, a dog can choke while playing with toys and balls as it tries to catch them using the mouth.

Also, if a dog tends to wolf their food, it can easily choke.

Now, what should you do when a dog is choking? How do you know that a dog is choking?

What can you do to prevent your dog from choking? Read on and get enlightened.

How Do You Know When a Dog Is Choking?

Most dogs depict the following signs when choking

  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Retching or gagging
  • Distress
  • Rubbing the face in most cases against the ground
  • Blue mucous membranes, which is commonly known as cyanosis
  • Salivation
  • Coughing

It is also important to note that if the airway is partially blocked, the dog may alert to the problem by pacing back and forth, retching or pawing at its mouth.

Nonetheless, if it is not blocked, the dog may not be able to make any sound.

In any case, choking can result in disastrous results if not handled immediately.

So it would be best if you addressed the matter immediately using the following steps.

How Do You Help a Choking Dog?

Before you embark on the process of helping your choking dog, start by restraining it.

Even if your dog is a calm one, it will panic if it cannot breathe.

So it is essential to protect yourself by restraining it.

However, it would be best if you did not muzzle it, for it may cause further harm.

If the dog is choking because of an item wrapped around the neck, such as a string or cord, use a pair of scissors and cut it off.

Also, if the dog is choking on something lodged in the throat or mouth, you have to get it out.

Therefore, open the dog’s mouth to find out if you can locate it.

For example, you can use the following process.

  • Using your both hands, open your dog’s mouth as you place one hand on the lower jaw and another one on the upper jaw.
  • As you grasp the jaws, press your dog’s lips over its teeth to ensure they are between your fingers and dog’s teeth.  As you do this, ensure you are incredibly cautious because any dog can bite, especially when under duress.
  • Check inside the dog’s mouth and remove the object causing the choking using your fingers. Swipe your fingers to feel the stray object. If you realize there are bones stuck or lodged in the dog’s threat, do not forcefully pull them out, for it can lead to further damage. Instead, take the dog to a professional such as a vet who can sedate the pet and remove the stuck object safely.
  • If you can feel the object and you can’t move it, but your dog is still choking, take it to an emergency clinic immediately.
  • If your dog is choking, but you can locate or see anything on the throat or mouth, or it has fallen unconscious, you have to perform the dog’s Heimlich Maneuver.

Dog Heimlich Maneuver for Small Dogs

Ensure that your dog is lying on its back and carefully apply pressure below the rib cage on the abdomen.

You can give inward and upward rapid thrust four to five times.

After that, recheck your dog’s airway to get rid of any debris in the mouth.

You can repeat the chest thrust if need be.

Moreover, if your dog is unconscious, clear the airway by performing rescue breathing.

Dog Heimlich Maneuver for Big Dogs

If your big dog gets choked, it would not be a good idea to pick it up, for it can do further damage.

Instead, you should follow the procedure to perform Heimlich Maneuver.

  •  If your dog is conscious, put it in a standing position and put your arms around the belly. Join your hands and make fast as you push firmly forward and upwards behind the ribcage area. Once done, place the dog on its side.
  • If the dog is not conscious, lie it down on its side. Place one of your hands on the back to support the other one and squeeze the abdomen forward and upwards towards the spine.
  • Once done, check the dog’s mouth to remove the object that may be dislodged. At times the object might be way back on the throat. Therefore, you should hunt it using your index finger. If you realize that the dog will require CPR or artificial respiration, contact a professional veterinarian immediately.

Veterinary Care When a Dog Is Choked

At times, when the object is stuck in the throat, it can result in health damage.

Moreover, if the dog stayed for an extended period without oxygen or if the foreign object damaged the throat, it may require hospitalization.

Additionally, if the vet used bronchoscopy to locate and remove the stuck object, an X-ray might be recommended to confirm that the object is obliterated.

At times, if the foreign bodies get stuck in the esophagus, it can result in respiratory distress.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Choking

To minimize the chances that your dog may choke in the future, you have to treat them like a young child.

Therefore, be on the lookout as they play or eat and get rid of items that are likely to be potential choking hazards.

Additionally, avoid placing things in your pet’s mouth.

Avoid sticks or moisture–swollen toys while playing with your dog.

When feeding your dog, you should also avoid feeding it large chunks of food.

More importantly, please do not feed your dog T-bones for they easily cause choking in dogs.

It is also not a good idea to give your dog bones that fit entirely in the mouth.

You should also avoid feeding your dog cooked bones, for they can be swallowed, bend or take the shape of an object that can choke it.

Finally, it is also necessary to eliminate any object that starts to fit in the dog’s mouth.

Typically, dogs swallow any object that fits in their mouth.

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National Canine Research Association of America