How to Quickly Save a Dog Choking

How to Quickly Save a Dog Choking

A choking dog is a life threatening emergency that we hope will never happen. The reality is, plastic toys and rawhide bones are the equivalent of cat nip to our beloved dogs and there is always a chance that the toy will break or the bone will splinter. 

If my dog were to choke, I’d want to know the following 3 immediate ways to save him. The three main causes of choking include dog toys, dog bones, and anaphylactic shock.


Disclaimer:  I am not a veterinarian or a veterinarian’s technician. My posts are carefully researched but I always recommend a licensed veterinarian for all pet medical advice.  I currently have a certificate in Dog First Aid and CPR training. 2018.

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1. How to Know There is a Dog Choking.

A choking dog will most likely begin pawing at his face right away. In addition, you might notice the following:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Clawing at the mouth
  • Agitation
  • Your dog might be dragging his head on the floor
  • Drooling
  • Turning a bluish tinge where you can see the dog’s skin (lips, gums and tongue)


You have less than 4 minutes to save your dog.

That heading was meant to scare you and here’s why; every second that your dog is choking are precious seconds he is going without oxygen.  You or I would begin to experience brain damage within 4 minutes of choking.  A dog’s brain cannot survive any longer.


2. Remove Object From Dog’s Throat

The second you recognize the signs of choking noted above, you need to jump into action immediately. 

Dislodge the object to save the dog choking

A.   If there is anybody around, ask for help. A two-person rescue is always better than just one.

B.    Have the other person restrain or hold the dog.

C.    Prompt the dog to open his/her mouth by grasping the muzzle with the palm of your hand while using your fingers and thumb to exert gentle pressure on the sides of the dog’s mouth.  Use a towel from the first aid kit and pull the tongue out. Keep a good grip on the tongue and use a curled (or hooked) finger to sweep across the back of the dog’s throat.

Be careful not to push the object down further. HOWEVER, your first concern should just be to get the object out ASAP.  There is no time to waste.

If nothing comes out, look down into the dog’s mouth.  Use a flashlight to look down the dog’s throat AND DON’T BE AFRAID to get behind the dog, tip the head and really look down that throat.  If you see something, try to pull it out with your fingers.  Don’t keep trying.  You need to go straight to the Heimlich Maneuver at this point. 



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If you can’t dislodge the object after the second try, you will need to attempt to force it out by doing the Heimlich Maneuver.

  • Small Dogs

Hold the dog up with his back against your stomach.  Put your first (or a few fingers depending on the actual size of the dog) the soft spot just beneath the rib cage, and thrust inwards and upwards.

  • Medium to Large Dogs

Lay a big dog on his side and kneel behind him.  The dog’s head should be facing your LEFT.  Using the same procedure as above, locate the spot just beneath the ribs and use your fist to thrust inwards and upwards.

REPEAT THIS TWO OR THREE TIMES AND RECHECK THE DOG’S MOUTH TO SEE IF THE OBJECT POPPED OUT.  If it hasn’t, continue the Heimlich Maneuver in the car while someone drives you to the veterinarian.

If you can still hear air coming out, even if it’s wheezing, it means the dog can still get some oxygen to vital organs.  Your dog will die if you cannot get the object out of his throat.  If the Heimlich Maneuver isn’t working, try striking the dog on the back between the shoulder blades. At the end of the day, you need to get that thing out of your dog’s throat anyway that you can.  If you don’t get it out, the dog will die.


3. The Object is Out, But The Dog is Not Breathing.

Always be mentally prepared to give artificial respiration. If the object comes out of your dog’s throat but he stops breathing. The following steps may revive him:

  • Wrap your hand around the dog’s muzzle firmly.
  • Put your mouth over the dog’s nose and give one breath every 3 seconds for a total of one minute.  Watch to see if the chest is rising and only puff hard enough for the dog’s weight.  A very small dog might only need a little puff to bring air into the lungs.





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GET THE DOG TO THE VETERINARIAN ASAP! Carefully transport him to the car and have someone drive while you remain next to the dog. 

Hey, thanks for taking the time to read my post.  Before you leave, I hope you’ll check out some of my other content including Cancer and Dog Anal Gland Expression. 

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