Top 7 Items Dogs Choke On

German Shepherd Dog

A choking dog is a serious matter that requires immediate attention. You don’t have time to rush your dog to the vet.

A choking dog will often panic. It may cough, gag, paw at its mouth, and become unresponsive or unconscious.

If you think your dog is choking, open their mouth and look inside. Sweep their mouth from side to side.heimlich maneuver for dogs

Pull your dog’s tongue forward and check the roof of their mouth and the back of their throat.

If you can see the object and reach it, remove it. If you can’t see the object, you need to try and force the object from your dog’s airway.

Give four to five quick blows between your dog’s shoulder blades to try and dislodge the object.

heimlich maneuver for dogs

If you have a small dog pick them up with their head pointed towards the floor. Apply pressure to their abdomen just below their rib cage.

If you have a large dog, you need to perform the Heimlich maneuver for canines.

  • If your dog is standing, place your arms around their stomach and clasp your hands. With your hands firmly push up and forward just behind your dog’s rib cage. Get your dog on their side afterward.
  • If your dog is lying down, put one hand on their back for support and use your other hand to squeeze their abdomen upwards and forwards.
  • Check your dog’s mouth and remove the item that has been dislodged. The item may be towards the back of your dog’s throat so use your fingers to feel for it.

Time is of the essence, so you must take action quickly.

If your dog has experienced a choking incident, it’s recommended to seek veterinary attention.

german shepherd dog with veterinarian

Objects stuck in the throat will cause minor scratching, but other damage may have occurred that only a veterinarian will be able to determine.

Dogs chew. It’s a natural instinct, and it’s what they need to do to keep their jaws strong and their teeth clean. But some dogs will chew and swallow just about anything they can find.

Below are the 7 Choking Items that Pet Insurance Companies See the Most

1. Food

If your dog inhales their food, there’s a chance they can choke on it.

Buy a slow feeder dish to slow your dog down at mealtimes.slow feed dog bowl

Slow Feed Dog Bowl

2. Bones

raw dog bones

Bones that are too small for your dog are a potential choking hazard.

Processed bones are brittle and may have jagged edges.

Never give your dog a cooked bone as it can splinter and cause internal damage to the stomach and intestines.

turkey necks

If you are feeding a raw food diet that contains turkey necks, chicken backs, or other bones, monitor your dog during and after mealtimes.

Raw bones are considered safer than cooked or processed bones, but potential danger still lurks.

german shepherd eating a raw bone

If you want to treat your dog to a raw bone, choose a bone that’s about the size of your dog’s head.

This will reduce the chance of your dog breaking off a piece and swallowing it.

ALWAYS monitor your dog when feeding any type of bone.

3. Rawhide

rawhide dog bonesRawhide is just bad for your dog. The risks of choking, blockage, contamination, and digestive irritation aren’t worth it.

Safe Alternatives to Rawhide Chews: Bully Sticksbest bully sticks


Bully Sticks – Look for 100% All-Natural, Free-Range, and Grass Fed-Beef.



Full-size carrots don’t last as long as a rawhide chew, but they are an inexpensive, healthy treat.

Raw Bones

raw dog boneMarrow bones and beef knuckle bones will keep your dog happy and busy. Look for these in your local food co-ops, specialty supermarkets, or your favorite local butcher shop. Always monitor and supervise the chewing of any bones.

4. Balls

KONG Squeezz BallKONG Squeezz Ball

Be sure your dog is playing with an appropriate size ball that isn’t too small.

Better yet, buy KONG balls that have a hole in the center of the ball.

If the KONG ball does become lodged in your dog’s throat, the hole allows air to get to your dog.KONG rubber ball extreme

KONG Rubber Ball Extreme

5. Treats

dog treats

Make sure your treats are the right size for your dog. Larger treats that require your dog to chew are better a better option than a smaller size treat that your dog may try to inhale.

6. Chew Toys

dog chew toys

Don’t give a large breed dog a small-sized chew toy. Also, stay away from toys that could splinter or come off in chunks.

7. Sticks (Any Wood Product)

german shepherd dog with stick

Dogs love sticks. They love to find them, carry them, hoard them, and unfortunately, some dogs love to chew them. Anything made from wood can splinter and be a choking hazard.

Other potential items that didn’t make the Top 7 but are still dangerous items you should be aware of:

things dogs choke on

  • Coins
  • Rocks
  • Nails
  • Socks, panties, pieces of plush toys
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • String
  • Hard Candy

You can’t stop your dog from putting things in their mouth or from chewing. The key is to monitor them and be sure they are chewing and playing with appropriate items.

german shepherd dog with toys

The best way to prevent choking is prevention. Keep potential choking items off of the floor and out of your dog’s reach.


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