What to Do if Your Pet is Choking

Stay Calm

If you suspect that your pet is choking, it's important to stay calm. Dogs and cats can sense your panic, and this can make things worse. Panicking can make your pet anxious, and he or she may struggle harder, making it harder to dislodge the object that is blocking their airway.

What to Do if Your Pet is Choking

Assess the Situation

If your pet is coughing or gagging, this may mean that he or she is in the process of expelling the object that is blocking their airway. However, if your pet is making choking or gagging noises and is not coughing, you need to take immediate action. Check your pet's mouth to see if there are any visible foreign objects that you can remove. However, don't put your fingers into his or her mouth if they are struggling or fighting – you may inadvertently push the object further down.

Perform the Heimlich Maneuver

If your pet is still choking, you may need to perform the Heimlich maneuver. For small dogs and cats, place your pet on a flat surface and kneel behind them. Make a fist with your hand and place your knuckles just behind the rib cage. Using quick, firm pressure, push upwards and forwards. If your pet is a large breed dog, stand behind him or her, place your hands just beneath the ribcage and push upwards and forwards. Repeat until the object is dislodged or your pet is breathing again.

Call Your Vet

Even if you have managed to dislodge the object, you should still contact your veterinarian. Your pet may have suffered damage to his or her airway, and it's important for your vet to assess your pet's condition. Your veterinarian may order additional tests or provide instructions for medication to help prevent further episodes.

Prevention is Key

Preventing choking in pets involves simple steps such as keeping small objects out of reach, supervising pets while they eat, and choosing appropriate toys and treats for your pet's size and breed. If you have multiple pets, feed them in separate rooms to avoid competition for food. By following these simple steps, you can help keep your pets safe and prevent choking episodes.