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Posted on 06-16-2017

Dog Choking

Watching a dog choking can be a frightening thing. At the Animal Emergency Centre, our Los Angeles veterinarian team relies on our extensive experience and advanced veterinary skills to help pets in urgent need and help educate pet parents about what to do in the event that their animal begins to have trouble breathing due to some sort of obstruction. 

Dog Choking

Signs & Symptoms of Dog Choking

Like humans, dogs often become panicked if they can't breathe. If your dog is choking on something (whether it's a part of a bone, toy, sock, or anything else), then he or she will often start pacing frantically and/or pawing at its mouth. It may have a heaving chest but will not be making any breathing sounds. In more advanced cases, a dog may become unresponsive or unconscious. 

What Should I Do if I Think My Dog is Choking?

If you think your dog cannot breathe, take action immediately. Remember is that a panicking dog may become aggressive. This is a natural response to fear, so please use caution, even if your pet has never been aggressive before. 

Stay as calm as possible. If someone is with you, have them call Animal Emergency right away. Approach your dog calmly but firmly, and use both your hands to open its mouth. Look inside the mouth--if you see the obstructing object, remove it with a finger sweep or the flat end of a spoon. 

If you cannot open your dog's mouth, cannot see or remove the foreign object, or if your pet falls unconscious, then you may need to perform the equivalent of the canine Heimlich maneuver:

  • For small dogs, invert your dog and apply a firm sharp pressure with your hand to its abdomen.  
  • For large dogs, wrap your arms around its belly and clasp your hands into a fist, then firmly push your fists up and forward. If your dog is lying down, place a hand on its abdomen and apply a firm sharp pressure up and forward. 
  • After you perform this procedure a few times, check your dog's mouth again for the object. If it has now become dislodged, remove it.

Once you have successfully cleared the offending object, or if you need further assistance, then call our Los Angeles veterinarian team. Our emergency staff can offer you additional guidance on what to do. We'll likely ask that you bring your animal in for further evaluation and observation. 

Call Valley Pet 911 to save your dog from choking!

Emergencies, like dog choking, can happen when we least expect it. Prepare yourself by saving the number to our emergency animal clinic here in Los Angeles: (818) 760-3882.

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