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What to Do if My Dog has Something Stuck in his Throat?

Josie F. Turner
Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare
What to Do if My Dog has Something Stuck in his Throat?

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Who hasn't experienced a dog sitting next to them when they're eating, with eyes fixed on their food, and at the first moment something falls to the floor, the dog immediately hoovers it up? Usually this isn't a problematic situation because it is often a small piece of food, or just some crumbs. But what happens if you drop a bone? Or a children's toy? Swallowing such items is very dangerous and will require urgent veterinary treatment. However, as owners, there are a number of first aid steps that you can take before running to the nearest veterinary clinic.

We at AnimalWised want to help you know what to do if your dog has something stuck in their throat. We hope you find it useful!

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How to know if a dog has something trapped in its throat?

It's not always possible to keep your eyes on your furry friend at all times. Some dog breeds are more energetic than others, whilst others are greedier than others. Therefore, sometimes we see certain signs that make us suspicious, and also doubtful, about what is going on with our dog.

Dogs might cough for many reasons, but sometimes they may have objects stuck in their bodies such as toys, bones, a plant or simply something that they find difficult to digest. You need to remember several things before tackling the issue, such as if the dog is chewing a lot or not at all. This is an issue that owners don't usually consider; especially in naturally gluttonous breeds such as the labrador, golden retriever or beagle, among others.

But you must also consider that, if your dog has a cough, it might be caused by something else. There is a disease that you have surely heard of: laryngotracheitis, or kennel cough. The signs are very similar to when a dog has something stuck in their throat; the most common symptoms are coughing and retching, as the dog tries to bring up what they have stuck in their body. It can even end up vomiting. If you notice these signs, you should go to the vet to conduct a differential diagnosis and begin treatment, so as to avoid possible infection of other animals.

What to Do if My Dog has Something Stuck in his Throat? - How to know if a dog has something trapped in its throat?

What to do if I see my dog swallow something that gets stuck?

Before running the vet, if your dog has something stuck in the throat you can try these tips:

  • Immediately open their mouth to take a look at the entire cavity, and see if you can remove the item by hand. Much will depend on what type of object has been swallowed. Sometimes you can do the manoeuvre yourself, whilst other times it will require veterinary attention. Thus, it's not advisable to remove objects with sharp points or edges, such as splintered bones, needles, scissors, etc.
  • If your pet is a small dog, you can put them upside down when trying to remove the object. In the case of large dogs, raising their hind legs will be a great help.
  • Heimlich manoeuvre: place yourself behind the dog, either standing or kneeling, wrap your arms around them and and support their legs with your own legs. Apply pressure behind the ribs, inwards and upwards, so that they start to cough or retch. The more they salivate the better, as this will make it easier for the object to slide out.
  • Even after you've managed to remove the object through either of these techniques, you should go to your vet to assess injuries and possible treatments.

Swallowing any object can cause your animal serious digestive problems. Therefore, you should consider the possible damage you'll be dealing with according to the type of object that the animal has swallowed. It might be a food item or plant which makes them feel sick, in which they may show the following symptoms:

  • Drooling (salivation).
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea.
  • Apathy and listlessness.
  • Lack of appetite and/or thirst.

Treatments

We said that this is a veterinary emergency, so if you have tried all of the above without success you need to go to the vet. The more time that passes, the worse the treatment will be, having to resort to surgery to remove the object that the dog has stuck in their throat.

First of all, you need to locate the foreign body. This is done by performing an X-ray as soon as possible. Possible treatments will be discussed at the discretion of the veterinarian professional that deals with the urgency. Now, we at AnimalWised will discuss the most common treatments:

  • If less than 48 hours have passed since you have worked out what has happened, depending on the location, you might be able to remove it with sedation and endoscopy, or you could also try orally applying liquid vaseline.
  • If 48 hours have already passed, you should assess getting surgery to remove the foreign body, since there will certainly already be adhesions to the digestive tract.

It is very important to consult the vet and not to medicate your pet with antidiarrheals, antiemetics or painkillers, because all that will do is hide the symptoms and worsen the solution. So, if you're wondering what to do if your dog has something stuck in their throat after trying the aforementioned first aid tips, make sure you go to a vet!

What to Do if My Dog has Something Stuck in his Throat? - Treatments

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What to Do if My Dog has Something Stuck in his Throat?, we recommend you visit our First aid category.

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5 comments
Rating:
ana
Going to the vet is useless these days, at least where i live they are only concern with how much money they can get our of you and very little they do for our pets, they refer each other to get commission on the referral even if not needed. Sad.
Rating:
Sherlock
Thank you! Thank you! Sherlock had something stuck in her throat that I couldn't see. Did the Heimlich a few times as you instructed and for good measure put her upside down. It easily dislodged whatever it was so she could swallow it. She immediately gave me a big kiss, ate a treat, and drank some water. Yay!
Administrador AnimalWised
Glad we could help Sherlock!

AnimalWised
Crg
What happend or how did you cure your puppy ? Mine is the same way
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Crg

Thank you for your comment, Unfortunately we do not quite understand your question and therefore cannot answer it.

Regards!
Tshering
My 2 month puppy has eaten a fish head now she is crying and don't let me touch her. She is in pain and I don't know what to do. I can visit vet tomorrow but we don't have doctor in our place. I am in a remote place. She did vomit alot but still no sign of improvement. She cough very little. I am not not whats wrong now. Please help
Sherab
My 2 month puppy have fish bones stuck and we can't see. She is vomiting whatever she eats. And still she cries and do not want us to to
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Sherab,

If your dog is vomiting when she eats, it could be due to a number of reasons. Puppies are particularly vulnerable to illness, especially for viral and bacterial infections (https://www.animalwised.com/feline-parvovirus-322.html), so you should seek advice from a vet if you see these symptoms. They alone will be able to determine the cause and treatment. If it is indeed due to food being stuck, then they will also have the knowledge and experience to remove it.

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