What To Do If Your Dog Is Choking – A Safety Guide

What To Do If Your Dog Is Choking - A Safety Guide

Dogs are some of the most loyal companions you can find on this planet. They certainly deserve their moniker of “man’s best friend.” Dogs will demonstrate an astounding amount of empathy for an animal and can often have quite human mannerisms. In short, dogs are cute, loyal, fun to be around and they can even protect you in dangerous situations.

If you are a new dog owner, it is important to know about caring for your dog and looking out for its health. Many first-time owners do not even realize they are irresponsible with their pets until they are told so. It is very important to ensure that you give your dog the proper amount of care and ensure that it lives a healthy lifestyle and a long, rewarding life.

Traveling With Your Dog

Dogs can make excellent traveling companions. If you are about to go on a journey where you will be alone for the majority of the time, you should consider bringing your four-legged friend along with you. Dogs tend to help alleviate the boredom and loneliness that accumulates throughout the duration of longer voyages.

Traveling with dog

If this sounds like a good idea to you, and you know your pet is calm enough to be able to handle the trip without being overly distracting or bothersome, there are a few basics to consider before you take your pet along. The first consideration you must make is whether you will be able to make frequent enough stops for your dog to get out, stretch its legs and do its business.

It is important to remember to let your dog out for walks at the same intervals you do at home. Sometimes these intervals will have to be even more closely-spaced as your pet may be more nervous on the road than they are at home, and you would not want your pet to have an unfortunate accident inside of your vehicle.

Caring For Your Dog’s Health

Even more important of consideration is whether you are prepared to care for your pet's health without the aid of a vet or anyone else. If you are on the road and you have to deal with your pet going through a health crisis, it helps immensely to have some working knowledge of how to care for it.

One of the more important aspects to consider is whether you know what to do when your dog is choking. If you are a trucker undertaking longer hauls, you will find that truck stops are not necessarily a safe place for your pet. Between a large number of trucks around and moving traffic, you will have to keep your pet on a short leash if they are prone to wandering away.

Dog Safety While Traveling

An omnipresent risk in these situations is if your pet sniffs out some scraps on the ground. Dogs aren’t necessarily picky when it comes to choosing what they attempt to swallow. It is important to always watch out for your dog trying to pick up and eat inedible scraps. This is something that is ten times more important to watch out for when you are trucking.

The reason it is so important to ensure your dog doesn’t eat anything that may pose a health risk is that you do not have easy access to a veterinarian when you are out on the road, so you must ensure that you are properly prepared to deal with any issues your dog encounters. Complications can arise from your dog swallowing unwanted garbage.

Dog Choking Hazards

These issues can range from simple unhealthy eating to long-term digestive issues. The most dangerous issues that can arise from your dog ingesting unwanted garbage consist of choking and intestinal blockages. Intestinal blockages will result in your dog being unable to digest food and will result in it constantly throwing up and may require surgery, more often than not.

A more immediate threat to your dog’s life in a situation like this is if they choke on something they try to eat, like gristle or perhaps a bone. In such a situation, it is important to know how to react quickly and appropriately so you can save your pet from any injury. For these reasons, we will be going over what to do if your pet is choking and how you can best help them in these situations.

What To Do If Your Dog Has Something Stuck In Its Throat

The very first step for when you know your dog has something stuck in its throat is not to panic. You must remain calm and take quick action. You will know if your dog has something stuck in its throat if it is making choking sounds, repeatedly trying to cough something out or if it is pawing at its mouth.

Often, your dog will panic if it is choking, it is important to ensure that you remain safe as well as your pet, so you must take care with how you approach the animal. Do not make sudden movements, simply approach your dog calmly and take its snout in your hands. Do not attempt to muzzle your dog as it will only make matters worse and it will make it impossible to clear the obstruction.

Prevent Dog Choking

Once you have your dog's snout firmly in hand, you must open the jaws. Put one hand on the upper jaw and the other on the lower jaw. Once you have done this, roll your dog's lip over the teeth and your hand, so it does not bite you in its panic. Once you have done this, examine your dog's throat, if you can see the cause of the obstruction, attempt to take it out with your hand.

If you manage to take out the obstruction, your dog should calm down relatively quickly. If you cannot reach the obstruction with your hand, you must use something to lever it out like the handle of a fork or something shaped and sized similarly. It is imperative that you accomplish this as quickly as possible so you may limit the amount of time your dog goes without breathing, as elongated periods of choking can result in unconsciousness, brain damage, and death.

If you cannot see the cause of the obstruction in your dog's throat, you will have to escalate matters, and you may have to perform the Heimlich maneuver on your dog.

When You Need To Perform The Heimlich Maneuver On Your Dog

You will not always need to perform the Heimlich maneuver on your dog when it is choking, but it is an important skill to know if you are a pet owner and the worst occurs. If your dog is choking, your first course of action should always be to check the throat for any obstructions, as the maneuver may be unnecessary in such cases.

It is also important to only use the Heimlich maneuver on your dog when you are sure it is the last course of action, as it may result in injuries to your dog's ribs or diaphragm. The Heimlich maneuver should certainly not be your go-to course of action in the case of your dog choking, so it is always important to first consider whether or not the obstruction can be cleared manually.

Also, take into account that the Heimlich maneuver is less reliable on dogs than on humans simply due to the way our anatomies function and the differing sizes of different dog breeds. You must ensure that you learn the proper way to Heimlich a dog of similar size to your own and learn if there are any special considerations to make due to the breed of your dog or any pre-existing health issues it may have.

Practicing the Dog heimlich maneuver

If you have checked your dog's throat and you are unable to remove the obstruction, or it is not visible in the throat, the object may be lodged deeper down, and in this case, it becomes imperative to perform the Heimlich maneuver as quickly as possible. There are many ways to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a dog, and they depend on the position in which the dog finds itself.

How To Perform The Heimlich Maneuver On Your Dog

The first thing to consider before you perform the Heimlich maneuver on your dog is whether you can clear the obstruction in any other way. If you have attempted every other method of saving your dog from choking, you should go ahead with this method, but we cannot stress enough how important it is to exhaust all other methods of clearing the obstruction before reaching this point.

Depending on the size of your dog, this maneuver will be somewhat different, but it is very similar to the Heimlich maneuver when performed on a person, in theory. The point of the Heimlich maneuver is to forcibly expel air from the target's lungs in hopes of dislodging the object which is stuck in their trachea. While it is a bit more complicated in practice, it is a last-resort measure that has been used to save lives.

In the case of your dog, it is important to know where its ribcage ends so you can efficiently perform this maneuver without risk of breaking your pet's ribs and causing further damage by accident. If your pet is in the standing position, you must stand over it, wrap your arms around its sides and then lock your hands together.

Once you have done this, you must position your hands over the point just past the end of your dog's ribcage and push up with enough strength to expel the air from your dog's lungs without hurting it. You may not get it on the first try, so it is important to persevere until the obstruction has been cleared.

Performing this maneuver on a dog which is lying down is somewhat more simple. You must place one hand on your dog’s back and the other on the same spot just below the ribcage. Once you are in position and you are set, you must push on the dog’s diaphragm until the object becomes dislodged once more.

It is important to remember that your work is not done once you have dislodged the object as then, you must quickly move to get the object out of your dog's throat or mouth using the same technique we described earlier. Hold your dog's jaws apart and pull the object out by hand, making sure to remember to roll your dog's lip over its teeth, so you do not get bitten.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Choking Or Just Coughing

It is easy to mistake the sound of your dog’s coughs for the sound of them choking. Especially since dogs are unable to tell us they are choking, you must take special care to identify the symptoms of a choking dog compared to those of one which is just coughing.

Dog Pawing at it's face

The most common way to distinguish between these two phenomena is by your dog's behavior. If a dog is coughing, it will typically be distracted, but it will behave no differently than usual. If a dog is choking, it will begin to panic and paw at its mouth. These are the most typical delineations between these two occurrences.


If you are planning on taking your best friend out for a trip on the road, it is important to know a little bit of first-aid for your dog, just in case something goes wrong. Our four-legged friends love us very much, and we must do as much as we can to repay the favor by looking out for them, especially when there is no veterinarian present to do it for us.