We all know dogs love getting themselves into some unwanted trouble. Many pups are like babies, they want to stick anything new into their mouth and chew chew chew! Most dogs will want to chew things like: bones, toys, shoes, socks, and even furniture. It’s important to constantly watch your beloved furry babies to avoid any complication or injury. Aside from always being your pets shadow and watching over every one of their moves, you can also ensure their safety by learning what to do in case your dog ever began to choke.
How to Know Your Dog Is Choking
Often times, dogs show signs of panic when in distress. A dog can paw at his mouth if something is stuck even though this is not always a choking sign. Another possible sign of choking is if your dog is unresponsive or unconscious. If this seems to be the sign then check your fur pals throat and mouth for any foreign objects by gently opening the mouth.
How to Begin
It is important to use precaution when dealing with a dog that is choking as they can be in panic. You can have help by restraining your dog while performing the below actions:
- Use both hands to open the dog’s mouth, with one hand on the upper jaw and the other on the lower.
- Grasping the jaws, press the lips over the dog’s teeth so that they are between the teeth and your fingers. Any dog can bite, so use every precaution.
- Look inside the mouth and remove the obstruction with your fingers. Sweep your finger across the back of the mouth to feel for any obstruction. *If there are bones lodged deep in the dog’s throat, do not try to pull these out. You will need to take your dog to the vet immediately to have him sedated and the object removed safely.
- If you can’t move the object with your fingers but can see it, call your veterinarian or the emergency clinic right away.
If the dog is still choking and you can’t see anything in the mouth, or the dog has fallen unconscious, follow these guidelines.
Small Dog Heimlich Maneuver
Carefully lay your dog on his back and apply pressure to the abdomen just below the rib cage.
Large Dog Heimlich Maneuver
Do not try to pick up a large dog; you’re more likely to do further damage due to the animal’s size. Instead, perform the Heimlich maneuver for dogs:
- If the dog is standing, put your arms around her belly, joining your hands. Make a fist and push firmly up and forward, just behind the rib cage. Place the dog on his side afterward.
- If the dog is lying down on his side, place one hand on the back for support and use the other hand to squeeze the abdomen upwards and forwards towards the spine.
- Check the dog’s mouth and remove any objects that may have been dislodged using the precautions described above.
Time for The Vet
It is likely that objects stuck in the throat have caused damage. Depending on the length of time the dog was without oxygen and the damage to the throat, the dog may require hospitalization after the emergency is addressed. In some cases, bronchoscopy (whereby a small camera is inserted into the windpipe to visualize and remove the foreign body) may be recommended to assess the damage. X-rays may be recommended to make sure the object is completely removed. Sometimes foreign bodies, such as bones, that are stuck in the esophagus can cause respiratory distress and mimic choking.
Time to Prevent!
Avoid moisture-swollen chew toys or sticks, and cut up large chunks of food. Do not give your dog T-bones, which are also known to cause choking when given to dogs. Never give your dog a bone that completely fits inside of his mouth. Cooked bones are very dangerous because they may bend, be swallowed, and then take a shape that causes obstruction or damage. Take away all bones and chew toys (including rawhides) once they can fit within your dog’s mouth. Many dogs will try to swallow an object if it fits inside their mouth.