Dog First Aid - Emergencies (Choking)
We got a PAWsome pocket handbook on Pet First Aid by The National Humane Society and we just had to share it with you! We know how important your pet's health and safety is and we want to make sure you have the information at your finger tips! We will have the information in individual blogs so it's easy for you to find based on what you need to know!
This blog post is on the symptoms and treatments on what to do if your dog is choking.
Similar to people, if your dog is choking they will gag, retch, and cough to try and expel the object.
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Anxiety
  • Gums may be white or blue


  • Open your dog's mouth and sweep from side to side to see if you can dislodge the object. Be careful to not get bitten or push the object further into the throat. Be aware of a firm structure in the throat called the hyoid apparatus. Pulling on this could cause sever injury.
  • Alternatively, lift your dog by the hind legs and hold them up vertically with the head facing down. This position may dislodge the object.

If the object does not come out by doing this, try the following:

  • With your dog stand or lying down, place your arms around their waist.
  • Close your fist and place it on the underside of your dog where the ribs end, just below their sternum.
  • Compress the abdomen by pushing up with your fist five times in rapid succession (similar to the Heimlich Maneuver). Repeat two or three times in succession, sweeping the mouth to see if the object has become loose in between sets.
  • If not successful, try administering a "sharp blow" with the palm of your hand between your dog's shoulder blades, then repeat the abdominal compressions.
  • Sweep the mouth again and if the object hasn't loosened, seek immediate veterinary help. You should prepare to repeat the treatment again in the car, and be ready to administer artificial respiration if your pet stops breathing. See CPR Blog.
November 15, 2021 — Amanda Gyetvay