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Dogs can be an integral part of your family. Their friendship can be one of the best things to have in life, which is why seeing them in pain can be hurtful. Unfortunately, dogs choking is not an unusual phenomenon, but one must always be prepared with helpful knowledge to get into action when needed.

Hearing your dog sounds like choking can be scary, and it’s because it is alarming. Choking can be life-threatening. It is always convenient to rush to the vet’s office in time to save your dog’s life. It is crucial to learn how to save a choking dog in these circumstances, and this guide will help you step by step.

How to determine if your dog is choking before it’s too late?

If you’re a dog owner, you would know that they can still exhibit their emotions very well even though they can’t talk. The first and foremost thing you should know is dog choking signs, so if it ever happens— you can get into action and save them.

Here are a few ways to tell when your dog starts to choke:

Coughing

Always pay critical attention to your pets’ auditory signs. For example, if you’re wondering what would your dog sounds like choking, then the answer is sounds of whistling and coughing. Dogs often start to choke on small foreign objects and make high-pitched squeaks and whistles— this should be your cue.

There is also a possibility that food gets stuck in your dog’s mouth or windpipe. This scenario would result in making it harder for your dog to breathe. In these situations, they might try to cough to expel the food particles out. 

Decoloration of Gums

Another way to determine dog choking symptoms is to check your dog’s mouth and see for the signs of discolored gums or tongues. If any particle is stuck in his mouth, it will block the airpipe, which will ultimately make it harder for your dog to breathe. 

This situation is dangerous because it can block oxygen circulation if the symptoms are not caught early. In addition, if this accident occurs, it could make your dog’s gums and tongue discolored due to lack of oxygen. Hence, it’s always a good idea to monitor physical attributes as well.

Panic Attack

Dogs usually communicate through their sensory motions. Therefore, when you have the slightest doubt, observe if your pup exhibits any signs of anxiety or panic. For example, they tend to paw their mouths, pant, pace, or have extreme trouble breathing in these situations. 

All of these signs could indicate that something is wrong. However, it is essential to note that your dog will only exhibit these signs if his airway is partially blocked. If the airway is entirely blocked, then your pup may not be able to move or make any sound at all.

Ways to save a choking dog

Soothe them

When your pup starts to choke, the oxygen circulation in his body will stop, which will cause him to panic. In this situation, the first step should be to gently calm them down before more harm is done in the frenzy of the moment—even the quietest dogs panic when something is lodged in their throats.

Try to restrain your dogs to protect them from hurting themselves or even biting you while they are panicking. However, don’t muzzle them because their windpipe is already blocked at this point, making it harder to breathe.  

Scrutinize their windpipe

Once your dog has stopped the thrusting motion, gently open his mouth and scrutinize his throat. You can fold your pup’s lips over their canines to protect your fingers and use light to see the potential choking hazard. If it’s a stick or a large bone, you can go ahead and use tweezers to pull it out.

However, if you feel you can handle the situation, ensure that you don’t block your pup’s mouth. Your dog should be able to move his mouth, dislodge, or vomit the choking particle.

Take them to emergency veterinarians

It’s not always easy to locate the problem right away, which is why it’s pertinent that you don’t force a tweezer in your dog’s mouth. Sometimes, it is absolutely crucial to take your pup to the emergency veterinarians as soon as possible not to cause further damage. 

Can we do the Heimlich maneuver for dogs?

Until now, the information you learned can only be utilized if your dog is choking in a conscious state. However, if your pup is unconscious, here’s how you can perform an emergency Heimlich maneuver for dogs.

Performing the Heimlich maneuver on small dogs:

1. The first step is to immediately lay your dog on his back and place his head higher than the rest of the body so that his spine is longer.

2. Find your pup’s sternum near the abdomen and place your fist at the end of it.

3. Hold your fist with another hand and make rapid thrusting motions— inward and outwards— a few times to push firmly on the choking particle.

Some people even prefer to hold their puppies up by their thighs and gently shake them in the downward directions about three to four times.

Performing the Heimlich maneuver on large dogs:

With large dogs, the Heimlich maneuver can be tricky, but it is worth a shot.

1- Start by standing behind your dog and gently place a fist below its ribcage. Bring your other hand from around to put it on top of the fist. Now push firmly in the upward and forward direction.

2- If your dog cannot stand, then place one hand on your dog’s back to support him and use the other hand to squeeze the abdomen in an upward and forward direction towards the spine. Then, repeat thrusting your dog’s chest until the airway is clear again but make sure you pause after four or five thrusts to check.

3- If your dog is not conscious, you will have to perform emergency rescue breathing to clear the airway. You will have to use the ways described above to remove any debris blocking the throat. However, make sure that you don’t cause any more harm by injuring your dog’s gums, tongue, or throat.

Make an appointment with your vet. 

If Heimlich’s maneuver is successful, you can take a deep breath as the red zone has passed. However, even after the choking ends, it is vital to make an appointment with the vet. There are various reasons behind this:

1- You can’t make sure without medical consultation if the particle has wholly dislodged. Even if a tiny particle has been left behind, the chance of your dog choking is very high. So don’t take that risk.

2- if you managed to pluck the object lodged in your dog’s throat with a tweezer, you may have left behind a gash, or would that can turn into a severe injury.

3- If you performed the Heimlich maneuver, then there is a possibility that you may have hurt your dog’s abdomen or internal organs.

One trip to the vet’s office is necessary to ensure no additional damage to your dog’s internals. 

How to manage aftercare once the choking stops?

Even after the object obstructing your pup’s throat is removed, the trauma lingers. Therefore, it is essential to take care of your dog after the choking incident because the trauma inside your dog’s mouth or throat can stay for many days. This problem might make it harder for your dog to consume and swallow food for a while.

You can cater to your beloved pet’s needs by making their diet food softer by blending it with water. This solution will make it easier for them to swallow without fearing another choking incident. The vet may also prescribe pain relief medicine for your pup for a while, but don’t worry, it’s mainly in extreme cases.

What things to take care of the next time?

Dogs are not much different from infants, so it is crucial to keep an eye on them. The world is their playground, and they will try to take everything in their mouth based on instinct. This reason is precisely why it’s vital to take extra precautionary measures to avoid choking accidents.

1- Make sure that your house doesn’t have any potential choking hazards lying around. If you’re handing your pup toys to play with, make sure that it’s not chewable or tiny in size.

2- Always keep an eye out for your dog while he’s playing with the toys because any piece can be bitten off by him and become a choking hazard.

3- Ensure that the food you’re giving to your pup is size-appropriate. Small dogs should get food that is easily chewable to avoid any food particles obstructing their airways.

4- Employ the use of safe products designed especially for dogs, such as Bully Buddy. The Bully Buddy clamps onto the end of chew treat or bully sticks to prevent your dog from consuming the end of the bar, which is often the object that leads to dogs choking. 

 Let’s sincerely hope that you don’t have to face this gut-wrenching situation where your dog is helpless and unable to save himself. Seeing them writhing in pain can be scary and hurtful, but preparing yourself in advance can help you save your dog from choking.

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