Why My Dog Is Coughing Like It Has Something Stuck In Its Throat

Why My Dog Is Coughing Like It Has Something Stuck In Its Throat?

Last Updated: August 20, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

An underlying disease may be causing him to clear his throat if he isn't choking. Canine parainfluenza, canine adenovirus, or kennel cough are viral respiratory diseases that can affect dogs. Dogs can sometimes cough out something because they feel like something is stuck in their throats when, in reality, they have tonsillitis or a sore throat.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Why My Dog Is Coughing Like It Has Something Stuck In Its Throat?“.

It can be a frightening experience for any pet owner to hear their dog cough like something is stuck in his throat. 

Why My Dog Is Coughing Like It Has Something Stuck In Its Throat

Actually this is a good thing as you should be scared and treat it as a medical emergency. 

If your dog has something stuck in throat he might choke and collapse under your gaze. 

Even so that scary cough may very well be the sign of something less serious such as a respiratory infection which your veterinarian is easily able to treat. Yet until you are sure that your pet is not choking you should treat him as if he is. 

As a precaution.

Here are the most common reasons why a dog may be making strange choking signs or coughing as if he were trying to get rid of a hairball.

What are the signs that your dog has something stuck in his throat?

Some people asks My dog sounds like he has something stuck in his throat. You should become alarmed once you hear strange choking sounds coming from your dog. 

If you want to be of any help you must assess the situation quickly.

Has your dog been fed recently? 

Could it be that he ate something that got stuck in his throat? 

Was he wandering around the house or yard? 

Is it possible that he swallowed something he should not have?

You should consider the possibility that there is something causing him breathing difficulties if you answer yes to any of the questions above.

Additionally you should look at the dogs overall behavior. 

No matter how funny the cough sounds if the dog is lying in his corner peacefully and only coughs occasionally that probably isnot an emergency.

A choking dog will be in obvious distress and here are the main signs to keep an eye out for:

  • A restless state
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • He rubs his head against the floor or furniture
  • Gagging
  • The retching
  • An excessive amount of drooling
  • Anxiety about breathing
  • The sound of gagging

When your dog has something in his throat he will be frantic which could complicate your mission.

What to do if your dog has something stuck in his throat?

Whenever all the signs are present and your dog is in distress you should check whether there is a visible obstruction and if you can remove the foreign object yourself. 

There is a time-sensitive situation here. 

Check to make sure the dogs lips are not blue. 

Your dog is clearly suffering from an oxygen deficiency which is a potentially life-threatening situation.

Find the obstructing object lodged in your dogs throat by opening his mouth as wide as possible. 

Using your fingers or tweezers if its within reach try to remove it. 

Under no circumstances push the object down as this might cut off the air supply completely.

You should perform the Heimlich maneuver if you are unable to remove the foreign object. 

The same method works for dogs as it does for humans. 

This should only be tried on medium-sized or large dogs. 

It is risky to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a small dog since you might apply too much force and cause more harm than good.

What is the Heimlich maneuver for dogs?

Humans are also subjected to the same maneuver. 

When you have a large dog it would be best if you could make him stand on his hind legs. 

You can also place your hand on the abdomen of your pet just below the rib cage and position yourself behind your pet. 

Next use a jerking motion while pressing upwards being careful not to apply too much force. 

In the correct execution of the maneuver the foreign object should be dislodged from the dogs throat and flung out.

If you have a small dog and are worried that hes choking you can try lying him on his back and gently applying pressure on his abdomen between his ribs. 

Use your hands instead of your fists.

Several times can be repeated but do not waste too much time. 

You should visit your nearest vet as soon as possible if the remedy does not work and your dog is still making gagging sounds. 

You should also go to the vet if you are not sure how to do the Heimlich maneuver and you are having difficulty controlling your dog.

Are some breeds more prone to choking?

A dogs nose and mouth allow him to explore the world around him. 

If a dog finds an interesting object lying on the floor or in the garden he might be tempted to put it into his mouth even if it does not smell like food.

Nevertheless there are breeds that are known as greedy dogs that devour their food like there is no tomorrow. 

As a result they are at a greater risk of choking and also of getting something stuck in their throats. 

Beagles Labradors and Golden Retrievers are the breeds most prone to choking.

You should also be very cautious with brachycephalic dogs such as Bulldogs Pugs and Mastiffs. 

As a result of their elongated soft palates and short tracheas dogs with flat faces are at risk of getting something stuck in their throats. 

They suffer from breathing problems due to the particular anatomy of their heads so they tend to pant heavily even when exerted moderately.

Do dogs get hairballs?

Whenever you hear about hairballs your mind automatically goes to cats which are known for their meticulous grooming habits. 

Nevertheless dogs can also get hairballs though they are less common. 

Hairballs are more likely to occur in dogs with medium to long hair. 

In addition a dog with a skin problem or parasites may lick himself obsessively or even bite off chunks of fur.

The problem could very well be a hairball if your dog is making retching sounds and is visibly trying to vomit. 

The only thing you have to do to prevent hairballs in the first place is clean up the mess on the floor after the dog vomits the hairball. 

Reduce loose hair on your dog by giving him a haircut and brushing him more often.

Keep an eye on your dog if he does not vomit if you believe he might have a hairball judging by the sounds he makes. 

It is possible for hairballs to cause intestinal obstructions which can be extremely dangerous.

If you add a spoonful of pureed pumpkin to your dogs regular food you can help him eliminate the hairball faster. 

Laxatives can also be helpful but its always best to consult with your vet before giving anything to your dog.

What is kennel cough?

If you’re a new pet parent you may be surprised when your dog makes a honking noise. 

The sound of a kennel cough resembles a goose honk according to experts. 

Normally dogs do not constantly cough but when they do it sounds like they are clearing their throats or choking. 

Unlike when he really chokes he would not be in a state of acute distress. Bordetella bronchiseptica m or Bordetella for short causes Kennel cough a highly contagious disease. 

A dog may contract the disease after coming into close contact with an infected canine companion.

In addition to the forceful and odd-sounding cough there are other signs your dog might have contracted kennel cough including:

  • Having a runny nose
  • Eyes that are watering
  • Sneezing
  • Appetite decreases
  • Lethargy

Usually kennel cough is a mild disease that resolves itself within a few days. 

After a few days you should see a veterinarian if no improvement has occurred. 

To speed up recovery your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics.

What to do if my dog keeps licking his lips and swallowing?

Besides coughing there are other signs your dog might have something in his throat. An owner will sometimes notice that their beloved companion is constantly smacking his lips and swallowing. 

There is a possibility that something is stuck in the dogs throat. 

The foreign object is probably not large enough to affect his breathing but its still very annoying and he keeps trying to swallow it.

If he has an obstruction in his mouth or throat check this out once again. 

It is likely that the dog will try to bite you if he is in distress so be extremely cautious around his jaws.

Rather than treating the dog at home take it to the vet. 

Endoscopy is often required to remove the foreign object when the dog is sedated by the veterinarian.


Do not ignore your pets coughing when he sounds like he has something stuck in his throat such as a hairball. 

You should remove any foreign objects from your dogs throat before he enters respiratory distress.

Perform the Heimlich maneuver for dogs if you see a foreign object in his throat. 

Do that as quickly as possible and if it’s not working head to the nearest veterinary clinic.

In addition to kennel cough other respiratory problems can also cause a honking cough. 

The dogs condition is not an emergency but you should see a vet if it does not improve.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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