What to do if Your Hound Starts Choking

What to do if Your Hound Starts Choking

As pet parents, we strive to keep our furry hounds safe, healthy, and happy. But sometimes, even with the best intentions and preventative measures in place, scary situations like seeing your beloved dog choking can happen.  

Unfortunately, dogs can choke on a variety of seemingly non-hazardous objects, from toys to bones and even their food. Scarily, it's the everyday objects in your hound's life that can present the most risk, so knowing what to do if your furry friend suddenly finds their airways blocked is vital. Today's Mountain Hound blog provides some clear guidelines for pet parents on how to help a choking dog.

We'll also cover potential choking hazards for hounds, how to spot the signs of choking, and what steps to take in case of a choking hound emergency.

Identifying Potential Choking Hazards for Dogs

The first step to preventing a choking dog incident is knowing what your furry friend can and cannot safely ingest. Some of the most common choking hazards for dogs include:

Small objects:

Dogs are notorious for chewing on and swallowing small objects, from toys to buttons and coins. In fact, any small object found on the floor is fair game for the 'Rover Hoover,' increasing the risk of a life-threatening choking episode! Keep small objects out of your furry friend's reach and supervise any playtime with small toys.


Although dogs may love to chew on bones, they can break off or splinter, causing choking hazards. Stick to soft, edible chews or rawhides that are easy to digest and won't break off into sharp pieces.

Human food:

Many human foods can be toxic or a choking hazard for dogs. Keep foods like grapes, chocolate, onions, and bones (especially chicken or fish bones) out of reach.

How to Spot Choking Dog Symptoms

If your dog starts choking, they may exhibit some of these symptoms:

  • Coughing or gagging
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A blue tongue or gums
  • Pawing at their mouth
  • Panic or anxiety
  • Become Unresponsive or unconsciousness
  • What to do if your dog is choking

Steps to Take When Your Hound is Choking

If you notice your furry friend showing signs of choking, don't panic. Follow these steps to help your dog:

  • Stay calm and assess the situation
  • Open your dog's mouth and look for any visible obstruction or foreign object
  • Carefully remove any visible object using your fingers or a pair of tweezers if it is safe to do so.
  • If you can't remove the object or it's not visible, perform the Heimlich maneuver by putting your hands on either side of your dog's rib cage and applying firm, upward pressure.

How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver

Performing the Heimlich maneuver on your hound may seem challenging, but it is necessary to clear your dog's airway of any obstructions.

Here's what you need to do:

Stand behind your dog and lean them forward into your body.

Make a fist with one hand and place it below the ribcage and above the abdomen.

Holding the fist with your other hand, thrust up and forward quickly and forcefully. Repeat several times until the obstruction dislodges.

When to Take  Your Dog to the Vet for Choking

After performing the Heimlich maneuver, getting your dog to the veterinarian for further evaluation is crucial. Even if your dog seems fine, it is wise to take them to the vet to check for any damage to the throat, airway or lungs. However, if the object refuses to budge, don't waste time heading to your nearest emergency vet!

How to prevent choking incidents

Prevention is always the best strategy for protecting your dog's health and safety. Here are some tips to prevent choking:

  • Avoid feeding your furry friend before or after vigorous exercise/play sessions
  • Cut food into small, digestible pieces
  • Use a non-slip bowl to prevent spills and accidents
  • Supervise your dog during playtime and remove small, damaged or hazardous toys
  • Check your dog accessories, such as dog leashes, collars, and other hound paraphernalia, are free from damage. Unfortunately, hounds love to chomp on things they shouldn't!
  • Don't leave your hound unattended when chewing on chewy toys, rawhide etc  
  • Keep your hound's environment free from interesting but hazardous objects they may be tempted to nibble on.

The Final Nibble

Protecting our furry family members and keeping them healthy and safe is in the unwritten pet parent's job description. So is knowing what to do if your dog is choking, as it could just save your hound's life!

The steps outlined in this comprehensive guide will ensure you are equipped to recognize choking risks, quickly spot choking symptoms, and take quick action to help your furry friend. Remember, never hesitate to call your vet if you have any concerns or questions about your dog's health or safety. Stay vigilant, and may your hound remain happy, healthy, and free from choking hazards!

Image by James Smith from Pixabay