Dog Acts Like Something is Stuck in His Throat – Causes & Treatment

“My dog acts like something is stuck in his throat.” Don’t worry, a lot of pet owners worry about this too. Is it from the food that you fed him? Or, could it just be hairball? You might also be thinking that he ate something he shouldn’t have, such as a plastic bag. What should you do next?

When My Dog Acts Like Something Is Stick in His Throat, Is He Choking?

It’s possible that your dog could be choking from something that he ate. You will know because he will be showing signs like excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, making choking sounds, and he may have his face on the ground.

As you know, choking is very serious. If the object is blocking his airways, he could get blue and may collapse at any minute. Bring him to the animal hospital or clinic nearest you as soon as you can.

What To Do If Your Dog Has Something Lodged In His Throat

With large to medium dogs, yes, you can try the Heimlich Maneuver (find tutorials on YouTube). However, with smaller ones, it might be more beneficial to go straight to the vet as you may not be able to control your strength. The way to do it is to make a fist with your hand and place it just behind the rib cage. With the right amount of force, push firmly up and forward. You may go to the doctor afterward just to get him checked out.

In most cases, if you know that your pooch is already choking, you might feel too frazzled to try out the Heimlich maneuver. As early as now, it is advised that you should have your vet teach you how to do this move properly.

Other Reasons Why Your Dog Might Be Clearing His Throat

If he is not choking, he might be clearing his throat because of an underlying disease. It’s possible that he as a viral respiratory infection like canine parainfluenza, canine adenovirus or kennel cough. Watch out for other signs like a loss of appetite, intolerance for exercise (weakness), increased breathing rate and coughing. You should go to the vet as soon as possible in this case.

There are cases where a dog might act like he wants to cough out something because he feels that something is stuck in his throat when really it is tonsilitis or a sore throat. Other respiratory conditions like pneumonia (especially in older dogs) can also make your dog experience hacking cough.

Lastly, have you ever heard of a reverse sneeze? It’s common in dogs of smaller breeds. This condition produces a cough-like sound that might seem like your dog is trying to clear his throat. Don’t worry, though, because it is not a cause for concern. All that happens is that your dog inhales forcefully through the nose and mouth, with his head pulled back.

When Should You Go to Your Vet?

You should, first, observe how many times or how long your dog has been acting like something is stuck in his throat. If it was just one time, then your dog could have already gotten the object out.

On the other hand, if the coughing has lasted for more than a day, then it’s probably something else. In cases of respiratory infection, you should bring him to the vet so he can get diagnosed and treated with the right antibiotics. It is your call when to go to the vet, exactly, but just make sure that you know what distressing signs to watch out for.

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.


  • BJ Lawrence | 28/04/2021

    No opening at vet for a week. Just “rescued” with a clean bill of health. But coughs and gags. I fear heart failure but suspect kennel cough or heart failure. Is there anything I could give to sooth his throats like a person can do warm tea with lemon and honey?

  • BJ Lawrence | 28/04/2021

    Just adopted from a rescue. I don’t know any history on this dog. Anything I give to sooth his throat?

  • LC Sessoms | 14/11/2021

    One thing I have not seen mentioned…my older dog had heartworms at one time, though has been on preventative since he was rescued at about 7 years old. However, vet tells me his clearing throat sound comes from heart worm damage at one point.

  • KC | 30/04/2021

    Raw Honey is a great natural treatment that helps soothe the throat. Raw Honey also has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties. A 30 to 50 lbs dog can be given about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey three to four times a day

  • Stephen Nevitt | 14/09/2021

    Thank you and OMGosh I just learned my little chiweenie absolutely loves a big spoon full of Honey. Thanks. I’ll be in touch if I need further assistance

  • LC Sessoms | 14/11/2021

    One thing I have not seen mentioned… my older dog had heartworms at one time, though has been on preventative since he was rescued at about 7 years old. However, vet tells me his clearing throat sound comes from heartworm damage at one point. I gave him a 1/2 Tablespoon of coconut oil (unmelted) and that helped. I did not have any honey on hand.

  • Audrey Bushnell | 27/11/2021

    My little dog will sometimes cough, only occasionally & not everyday, it sounds a bit like a human clearing their throat. My dog is eleven

  • Bonnie | 17/09/2022

    KC or anyone who has tried the honey remedy please let me know how your prt is now. I have a similar situation in trying to find out how long it took for the honey to take affect.

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