Why Do Dogs Get Things Stuck In Their Throat?

a dog coughing

We all know that dogs have two ways to explore the world, either by his nose or his mouth. Those clumsy furry friends are adorable. They don’t think about the dangerous situations that they get into because of their curiosity. They want to explore, play, and stick to you just like a little baby. If you have a baby in your house, no wonder you are very familiar with this phrase, “Remove any small thing that the baby might try to eat.” And that makes you think, why do babies put everything in their mouths?

Dogs use their mouths to discover the world. It can sometimes result in getting something stuck in his throat. A dog that has something stuck in his throat is a serious situation that requires fast response. You can help him by removing the subject with your fingers gently. You can also use gravity to help to dislodge that subject. If you found that there was some resistance from the subject’s part, that means you have to run to the vet or use The Heimlich Maneuver to help clear air pathway for your dog.

And the answer is the same as the dog’s answer. They don’t know what it is. They don’t know whether it is food or toy, they want to explore. And while you can never prohibit a baby from investigating, you can never ban a dog from exploring as well. So, you decide to let the baby explore and keep a good eye on him in case he did something dangerous, in the same way, you should treat your little fur baby!

How Do Dogs Recognize Food?

I will use the above heading to prove something exciting.

When you were a baby, how did you understand that chicken is a kind of food? Meat? Fish?

If you thought about it a second, you could remember ancient people in history when they were eating leaves. However, now you might find leaves very disgusting (despite being very delicious to our ancients). So, why is that?

Because of how you are taught things, you can’t determine whether a food is beautiful or not until you taste it. And actually, you can’t decide whether this object is food or not until you taste it and understand the components of it. That’s why plastic isn’t food. You can’t chew it or taste it. However, because we are humans, we don’t need to taste every object to find out whether it’s food or not because our relatives teach us from the first moment, we are lucky that we have a way of communication and understanding.

Our fur babies aren’t that lucky, though, they still need to know whether this object is food or not. And that’s when they start tasting every object and associating its taste to whether this is food or not. However, we can see that now the dog is trying to eat grass, wood, etc. That’s because he had found that this grass or wood is tasty! Even if it’s not real food, for him, it is, so now they start associating the smell and taste to the foods they have tried and start shaping them in their minds, so when they see them next time, they will begin eating immediately.

Another way for dogs to recognize food is the smell of nutrients, what?

Do you know how strong a dog’s tasting or smelling ability? Dogs can identify the addition of a spoon of sugar on a piscine. How strong is that?

So actually, they can start smelling the nutrients inside each food from Vitamin C, mineral salts, etc. and will choose the food that is rich in those nutrients, especially if there’s a vitamin they lack in their body. That’s why some dogs like to eat cement because it’s rich in mineral salts!

The Results Of The Dog’s Curiosity

And as I mentioned, we can’t stop a dog from exploring. We always have to let them sniff and nap on everything to know what’s food and what’s a toy. However, we have to keep a good eye on them and know the techniques that can be used whenever a problem occurs, and that’s what we learn today.

Oops, I forgot to mentioned something. If you had a baby and he had eaten something, you can see his coughing or his blue face. You can identify there’s something wrong. Unfortunately, with dogs, it’s quite different. You have to be familiar with the signs they give to understand that there’s something stuck in their throats

What Are The Objects That Get Stuck In a Dogs’ Throat?

The object is grass/Something that didn’t cause Airway Obstruction

That happens frequently. Dogs (especially my dog Kira) love eating grass, and some of them enjoy eating their toys too! So generally, grass and plastic are the most popular things that stuck in the dog’s throat without blocking the air pathway at all. So, in other words, this is not dangerous. However, it makes the dog uncomfortable. So how to identify it?

How to identify if something is stuck in a dog’s throat?

This one is a lot easier than the next one. You will notice that the dog is coughing, drinking a lot, and will not eat a lot. You can see pieces of plastic or grass when he coughs, too, which will make it easier for you to identify the cause of his coughing, and as I mentioned, it’s not dangerous. However, we don’t want to leave the dog suffering.

If you can’t imagine how something can get stuck and not cause blockage of the air pathway, you can think of humans when they eat fish. Sometimes, some fishbone gets stuck in your throat. However, you can still breathe, but you are too uncomfortable.

How to help your dog?

In this one, you don’t need to do a lot of things. Usually, your dog will cough for a couple of minutes and return well the next day. However, you might help him by forcing him to drink a lot of water. Or, you can put your fingers in his throat to help you.

However, this case doesn’t need to be seen by a vet though I recommend sending him to a vet if the coughing continues more than 24 hours (sometimes, dogs cough because they’re ill)

An Object Blocked The Air Pathway Completely

Here, we are addressing a more deadly severe problem that you need to deal with as professionally as possible. I always recommend vets to see dogs who are having a difficult situation. HOWEVER, this situation requires you and only you.

If an object is stuck in the dog’s throat, that means the dog has a couple of minutes before he passes away. You have to be calm, professional, and wise to make the right move. Otherwise, you can kill your dog.

First, how to identify that your dog is having something stuck in his throat:

Some of these popular signs are:

  • Acting as if trying to swallow something: Like children, he will appear to try to swallow, but he fails to do so, that is the first and most important sign that should tell you to move quickly
  • Drooling: While dogs drool for a lot of reasons, if something is stuck in his throat and the dog can’t swallow, then he will drool as he can’t swallow the saliva.
  • Pawing at the mouth: Just as we try to get something from our throat using our hand when we have something stuck, they will try to do the same.
  • Pawing at the neck: A clear sign that indicates he is very uncomfortable.
  • Refuses to eat or drink: That is a clear sign too that should get you on your nerves.
  • Anxious: When dogs feel they are about to die, they will start to show aggressive behaviors due to the fight or flight situation they have. When my dog had, for the first time, something in her throat, she was about to kill me. She didn’t want anybody to help her; that’s why you should remain calm and wise.

These are some of the signs. There may be more signs. However, those are enough to make you sure that there’s something in your dog’s throat, So now, it’s time to remove it.

How to remove an object from a dog’s throat:

First of all, you have to know how dangerous is the object is.

  1. Start by opening your dog’s mouth as wide as you can.
  2. Put your fingers inside his mouth and feel the object. Be very careful not to push it.
  3. Now start pulling the object with your fingers. However, if you found resistance, stop, if you continued pulling, you’re about to hurt your dog’s throat badly. Feeling a resistance means that this is very serious and requires a vet immediately.

A good trick that every owner can use is to hold your dog from his back legs and make him lean forward, like standing on his front paws. This will help the dog a lot if there is something stuck as gravity will make it pushed forward, also gently hitting your dogs’ upper back will help a lot.

However, if after all this, you couldn’t get the object out, that means you have to run to the vet as this is very serious immediately. However, you can use the Heimlich Maneuver to help clear an air pathway for your dog to make him breathe.

Unfortunately, some situations require fast surgery, so please don’t leave your dog and try to help him as fast as you can.


That was a quick How-to article to help you. I just wanted to say one more thing. Learning how to deal with a dog who has swallowed something is a must-have skill for any owner. No matter how old or young your dog, you have to be able to help him right when you see him. It’s something like first aid skills for humans.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Have you seen our latest one, by the way? It was about dogs who chase bikes 😉 Take a look. Stay tuned. We have more powerful articles coming 😉

Soheir Maher

Hi, I am Soheir. I have always been passionate about dogs. My first dog was Leo who was a wonderful Golden Retriever after that I got Kira another Golden Retriever who is wonderful too. My passion for dogs made me read a lot about them. Training them personally made me become an expert in everything related to them, that's why my writing is always a mix of experience and science. My writing about dogs isn't for the sake of earning a living but instead, for the sake of benefiting people around the world.

Recent Posts