What to Do if You See a Small Dog Choking

Are you a lover of tiny furry pals? Are you a small dog parent? If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, it’s important to know how to keep them safe and help them in an emergency.

We all know that most dogs, big or small, will try to chew almost anything, so we should be prepared for scary “what if” situations.

The emergency vet cannot always be the first and fastest solution, and that’s why we’re offering you all you need to do when you find a small dog choking. Keep reading to discover more!

4 Common Causes of Choking in Puppies

Puppies can choke due to various reasons. Let’s find out the reasons so we can know how to approach the situation when faced with a choking dog.

Excessively Tight Collars

The tight collar is most times the main cause of choking in dogs. Ideally, there should be at least two fingers space underneath the collar. Otherwise, the dog’s airway and esophagus will be constricted, preventing healthy swallowing.

This could lead to their ingesting food into their trachea rather than their esophagus, which could choke the dog. Hence, consider a harness instead of choke collars or chains when choosing a collar for your dog.

Foreign Objects

Puppies are naturally curious about the world around them, having a very intense chewing drive. This is the most important issue that should give you concern.

Dogs frequently mouth and sniff objects in their environment other than their chew toys. It’s hardly surprising that occasionally they could choke on foreign objects. Generally, suffocation is inevitable if they try to swallow any object that is smaller than their windpipe.

So when considering a toy for your small dog, ensure it’s big enough not to be swallowed to prevent choking.

In addition, dog food has the potential to choke, which is important to know. If you have more than one dog of different sizes, the small one may ingest a piece of food from the big dog. As a result, the little dog chokes because most regular canine foods are created according to dog sizes.


Dog influenza infection often comes with coughing due to throat irritation. This highly contagious disease often affects dogs not up to date with their bordetella vaccinations. In severe cases, lymph nodes and throat become swollen and possibly cause a choking cough.

Trachea Collapse

This is a typical issue, especially in small, elderly dogs. The cartilage rings that support and maintain an open trachea typically flatten, which causes the trachea to collapse.

Although the reason is unclear, it could be congenital or an issue that worsens because of age. TheHeimlich maneuver that we’ll discuss in the next section may not be effective if the trachea collapses on its own. But if your dog additionally has an obstruction to its airway, the maneuver may still be able to save his life.

Giving them rescue breaths, as suggested below, is also helpful. Now, let’s delve deeper into what we, as pet parents, should do if our little buddy is choking.

Small Dog Choking – What You Should Do?

Dog  Choking

You must act quickly to save your dog if he is suffocating, so don’t wait until you can transport him to the clinic. Check your puppy’s mouth first to see if any object might obstruct his airway.

If you notice something in his mouth, you may try to swipe it out to clear your dog’s throat. However, you must exercise caution because your dog is probably in fear and will probably be vomiting and retching. Without even realizing it, he may effortlessly bite your hand.

It’s also crucial to remember not to attempt to remove any bones that are stuck in your puppy’s throat. It is best to take your dog to the emergency room so the vet can remove the bone while he is anesthetized. This is because bones can hurt your dog’s airway.

You should take your dog to the emergency vet as soon as possible if you can see another obstruction in his airway but cannot remove it. However, you can also try the Heimlich technique on your puppy.

Heimlich Maneuver

You must perform the Heimlich maneuver for small dogs if you can see an obstruction in your puppy’s throat but cannot remove it.

Firstly, flip your puppy over and put him into your lap. Put pressure right below his chest and ribs with your palm. Then, push strongly inward and up five times using a thrusting action. Once your dog is lying on his side, check inside his mouth to determine if you were able to remove the obstruction-causing object.

If you fail to eliminate the obstruction from your puppy’s mouth, you may need to administerrescue breaths to him. Follow the steps below:

  • Your dog’s mouth should be shut when you inhale via his nose. As you do this, ensure you can see the expansion of his chest.
  • Give one inhalation every five seconds to continue chest compressions.

Final Thoughts

Nothing terrifies a dog owner more than seeing their small dog choking and helpless. Knowing what to do might give you a sense of security because, in most circumstances, you won’t be able to get him to the emergency hospital in time to save him.

However, it’s equally critical to take precautions to remove potential choking dangers from your dog’s surroundings. In this manner, you can avoid having to provide first aid. But if your dog does exhibit choking symptoms, it is preferable to be aware of what to do so you won’t freak out and can assist your best buddy while he is in trouble.

Visitnaturalpuppies.com for additional pet-friendly advice and helpful hints on your furry friend’s health.