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4 Common Choking Hazards for Dogs

albuquerque spring petIt is scary to see your dog or cat choking. The best treatment is prevention. Let’s look at the most common reasons your pet may choke.

1 Foreign Objects

Dogs and cats figure out the world by tasting and chewing on things, much the same as human babies. Putting a new thing in their mouth gives them information about that thing that sight and sound did not. The problem is that they can accidentally inhale what they are chewing on. Common hazards are, balls, rawhides which break off into small pieces, bones which can fragment and splinter, old chew toys, sticks which can splinter and break, kids toys, string, electrical cords, and basically anything smaller than their throat. If your dog is a chewer, only let them chew on things while they are being supervised. Throw away old chew toys that are falling apart or small enough to swallow. Avoid giving them rawhides, or bones from your leftovers. Bones need to be properly heat treated to avoid splintering. Better things to chew on are pigs ears, big string knots or tugs, or kong toys.

If your dog passes out, then and only then should you open the mouth and see if you can remove the item. Use both hands to open the mouth, and grasp the upper jaw while pressing the lips over the dog’s teeth so they are between the teeth and your fingers. Look inside your dog’s mouth and remove the obstruction if possible. If you can’t remove the object, try using a flat spoon to pry it out of the dog’s mouth.

2 Collapsing Trachea

The trachea is also known as the windpipe and connects the nose and mouth with the lungs. In some small dogs, it is not very sturdy and can more easily collapse. This can happen if the dog is breathing really heavily. The dog sucks in air hard and the windpipe collapses causing the dog to cough, sputter, or choke. If you notice your dog coughs when they are panting, being her to the vet to have her trachea evaluated. If this is a problem for your dog, the older she gets, the more problematic it will become. You should discuss with your vet treatment options.

3 Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is highly contagious. Because it is so contagious, kennels insist that dogs are vaccinated against it if they want to board. Kennel cough is not just transmitted from one dog to another, it can live in an area for a long time. This is why all dogs need to be vaccinated for it, because you don’t want to take your dog to the dog park and contract kennel cough because an infected dog was there the week before. If your dog has kennel cough, he may go into coughing fits and even cough up foam. Make sure to get him treated with antibiotics right away.


4 Constricting Collars

Many owners don’t realize that they may be coking their dog by simply having an ill-fitting collar. Collars that are too tight, or tighten when they pull, can easily choke your dog and cause bruising to their trachea. If their windpipe gets bruised, this can cause swelling which could lead to choking on food or water as their windpipe becomes restricted.  If your dog is pulling on his leash a lot, you may want to look at a different type of collar or switching to a head halter or harness, or invest in some training.


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2510 Main St. NE #1 Los Lunas, NM Phone: (505) 865-0662

Veterinarian Clinic Website: www.loslunasvetco.com


The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.