Some dogs are fond of chewing and scarfing down almost anything. Due to this, something can become lodged or stuck in its windpipe leading to choking. When your furry friend is experiencing a life-threatening airway obstruction, you need to remain calm but act quickly.
Various other symptoms, such as coughing, gagging, reverse sneezing, and vomiting, can be mistaken for choking. If your dog can engage in any normal activities or interactions, the chances are that it is not choking.
Symptoms of choking include discoloured gums or tongue, anxiety, panic, or loss of consciousness. If your dog starts to panic and is pawing at its mouth, it’s a clear sign that the dog needs immediate attention.
Why does a Dog Choke?
Choking is a common emergency in dogs. It is generally caused by a foreign object getting stuck in the throat or by any object getting wrapped tightly around the neck. Choking can be life-threatening for your pet, so it’s necessary that you take quick action or call the vet.
How to Know if the Dog is Choking?
Quick action is essential when you notice your dog choking. Some of the signs that will help you know that your dog is choking include extreme distress, lots of drooling, pawing at the mouth, and making choking sounds.
Your dog may also rub its face along the ground, gag, and retch. If the stuck object is also causing breathing issues to the dog, you may even notice coughing and blue colored skin, and mucous membranes. This can also lead to collapsing.
How to Help a Choking Dog?
It is very important that you act immediately when you notice your dog choking, especially if there is a breathing obstruction or constant gagging. When your dog is choking, you must follow these steps.
- Give your dog a few moments initially to expel the object.
- Try to restrain your dog as choking dogs will struggle and potentially bite in panic.
- Try carefully to cut any object wrapped around the dog’s neck.
- If the dog is not able to expel out the object, then gently open your dog’s mouth to perform a sweep with your fingers to dislodge any foreign objects. It is essential to stay as calm as possible since you don’t want to push the object further.
- Always remember not to stick your fingers down the throat if you can’t see any object as this can cause damage to the delicate tissues at the back of the throat.
- Certain large objects like balls can sometimes be dislodged by giving firm pressure with both thumbs underneath the jaw at the base of the throat and pushing forward.
When to Take Dog to the Vet?
Even if, after all your efforts, you cannot understand whether the dog is choking or not now, you must take it to the vet. The vet will confirm whether your fluffy friend is choking, coughing, or experiencing a different respiratory condition. The vet will sedate your dog to reduce distress, making it easier to examine the mouth and throat as well as removing any object.
Aftercare for a Choking Dog
It can take some days to heal the trauma to the inside of the mouth or throat, making it painful and difficult for the dog to eat regular food. It would help if you made the normal diet soft by blending it with warm water. Your vet may also prescribe some pain relief to help during the recovery period.