Dog or Puppy is Dry Heaving – Top 3 Reasons Why

Just like people, dogs can experience dry heaving, which is basically when they are trying to throw up but nothing comes out. Dry heaving usually happens before vomiting occurs and is often times very loud and scary for dog owners. Here are some of the most common reasons your dog or puppy is dry heaving and how you can help prevent this issue.

1. Your Dog May Have Something Stuck in the Throat

When a dog or puppy is dry heaving, it could mean that something is stuck in their throat. Dogs and especially puppies love to eat objects, some of which aren’t exactly edible. Foreign objects can get stuck in the throat and this will cause your dog to want to throw up. Various objects such as sticks, balls, rocks, tissues, paper towels, and many other objects can end up lodged within the throat.

This causes a blockage and the dog is dry heaving in an effort to get the object out. You may also notice other symptoms such as pacing, pawing near the face, drooling, various breathing noises, and even coughing. Vomiting out the foreign object is likely to happen if the object isn’t very far down the throat.

2. Your Dog Has a Respiratory Illness

A lot of people are unaware that heaving can actually be the result of a respiratory illness, such as kennel cough. Kennel cough itself is very contagious and it often has a classic sign of a dry cough with nasal discharge. When the kennel cough has progressed into a more severe case, you may notice dry heaving. The dogs that have kennel cough will also need to be quarantined away from other dogs.

Other respiratory illnesses could also cause dry heaving, such as tonsillitis, which is swelling of the tonsils. Glands will swell up and that will prevent the dog from breathing properly. The swelling can also lead to a gag reflex which is where the dry heaving comes from. Tumors that are near the throat could also cause the dog to dry heave and have other respiratory symptoms.

3. Your Dog Has Canine Bloat or GDV

Canine bloat is a very serious medical situation and can be life-threatening if it’s not treated quickly. In fact, a dog can die within hours of canine bloat beginning, so it’s critical to know the symptoms of canine bloat so you can get your dog to the veterinarian right away. GDV is gastric dilatation and volvulus, which is not really understood well by the veterinary community. It’s basically when the stomach gets twisted up and will fill with gas.

You’ll notice that your dog looks bloated and it seems similar to a very swollen stomach. Your dog will be walking around, panting, drooling, and also might be whimpering in pain. Dry heaving will occur as well, although no real vomiting will happen. You should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if you notice these symptoms since bloating is a life-threatening situation.

How to Stop Your Dog from Dry Heaving

If you want to stop your dog from dry heaving, you will first need to check with a veterinarian to see why the dry heaving is happening. You want to pay attention to any other symptoms that might be present, which helps determine the overall seriousness of the dry heaving situation.

Preventative surgery may be a good option but there are other things you can do at home to help. You should be offering your dog water often and also give several small meals a day to your dog. Try not to feed your dog using an elevated food bowl. Don’t give your dog dry kibble and also look for ways to reduce stress during feeding times.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


  • David Montoya | 08/10/2020

    my mini pincher makes soft rasping noise stretches neck and tongue laps seems she has some difficulty swallowing and possable breathing noise somewhat humm weezing when she sleeps took her to vet they said something like mechcanical what is that ?

  • Anna | 02/11/2020

    My puppy had been very playful today. More than usual. But stop and started dry heaving and spit up instead of throwing up. Now she is just laying in her bed playing with a toy. What should I do?

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