Emergency pet advice: Choking dog – what to do

Posted on 10th February 2023 | in Community

Pet emergency tips from Coquet Vets

Although extremely uncommon, choking is not unheard of in dogs, especially larger breeds. Complete obstruction of the airway is very rare, but it can be catastrophic when it occurs and is deemed as an emergency. Here’s what to do if you suspect a dog is choking on something. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBTTLmJVseI 

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBTTLmJVseI (please note the last letter in this link is a capital I [for India])

The most usual cause of a complete obstruction is a ball that has been thrown by an owner and caught by a dog, and subsequently got wedged in the back of the dog’s throat, obstructing the dog’s airway.

Signs of choking
• Frothing at mouth
• Panic
• Shaking of head or pawing at mouth
• Collapse
It is essential that the obstruction is removed as soon as possible, and unfortunately, time is of the essence. If the dog is able to get some air in (if there isn’t a complete obstruction) you can attempt removal, but if unsuccessful, then rush to the nearest vets. If, however, the obstruction is complete and the dog can’t breathe, even a short trip to the vets could be too late.

What to do:
1. Try to stay calm
2. Shout for help
3. Whilst doing 1 and 2, if at all possible, turn the dog onto its back – ask anyone around to help keep them in this position. Try to massage from behind the throat towards the dog’s nose – ‘milking’ out the ball. (See our demo video).
4. If you try to remove the obstruction via the mouth, there is a high chance you will be bitten, and unfortunately, a chance you could push the obstruction further down
5. If step 3 fails, try some short hard blows on the dog’s chest.
We have made a short demonstration video which shows you how to massage a dog from behind the throat towards the dog nose – ‘milking’ out the ball. See https://youtu.be/qBTTLmJVseI

Things to consider:
• Use balls with a hole through the middle
• Size of ball – is it a choking hazard?
• Use something other than a ball

There is additional advice from First Aid for Life (https://bit.ly/3WktdpB) to show you what you can do to help a choking dog.

We hope that this never happens to any of our patients, but please pass this article on as it could save a dog’s life.
If you are a client at Coquet Vets, and you have an emergency situation, please call us without delay on 01665 252250. For further contact information and our out of ours emergency service, please visit our ‘Contact Us’ page.

From the team at Coquet Vets

PLEASE NOTE THE LAST LETTER OF THE YOUTUBE LINK IS A CAPITAL I [FOR INDIA]. In the print edition of The Ambler, the font has made it unclear and we apologise)

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