Imagine you wake up and find your dog choking on something, you begin to panic and get nervous not even knowing what to do, It can be a very disturbing scenario and I am writing this post to help you reduce your level of panic and of course to help you know the first thing you need to do when a case like that arises. Dogs are very curious animals, they would gulp down virtually everything and anything they find, in their world of exploring.
The reason why your dog may be choking is because he has a foreign object stuck in his throat, this foreign object could puncture the delicate tissue in their trachea, larynx or esophagus. Gagging or coughing will be displayed evident of the fact that, your dog has something stuck in his throat. You will know your dog is choking when he coughs from time to time, gagging, vomits, drools excessively, difficulty with swallowing, constant gulping, pawing at the face or the mouth.When your dog show any of these symptoms, proceed to check if there is something stuck in his throat.
Let me quickly describe what the esophagus of your pet looks like, it is a long, narrow, muscular tube that connects the mouth and the stomach, the esophagus also happens to be the passage where food pass through. The problem with blockage can happen with the pet eating what he shouldn't, basically any foreign object, but basically, mot of those items are irregular and rough shaped that are too big to pass through normally.
When an object gets stuck in the esophagus of your dog, the pet may show symptoms of distress and lack of comfort. but still breathe normally and this is because the esophagus is not involved in breathing. When the object is however stuck at the back of the mouth or at the upper part of the esophagus, pressure could be placed on the trachea (windpipe), and in no time create breathing difficulty. Esophageal obstruction can result in several complications if not treated on time, if left untreated, the object would create hole in the esophagus, in some cases, it would allow fluid or air to build up around the lungs and crate breathing issues.
Esophageal obstruction could either be full or partial;
Full obstruction is when neither food nor water can pass through the stuck object to get through to the stomach, partial obstruction on the other hand, occurs when a smaller object gets stuck in the esophagus, which can even be a more difficult one to recognize, as some food and water are still able to pass through but definitely not all. Signs and symptoms are very obvious when there is complete blocking to a partial one, partial obstructions are still emergencies also. Dogs who have full obstruction will spit out food and water several hours after the object has been ingested.
Bone is not the only thing that could get stuck in our throat,other things that could get stuck are; large pieces of food, sewing needle, rawhide, dental chews or other sharp objects. The longer these foreign objects remain in the esophagus, the more pressure necrosis which is cell death, causes to the thin muscular wall of the esophagus, when itis lft untreated, it could lead to complications like;
- Serious strictures.
- Abnormal air entering into the chest cavity.
So I found this method as a remedy to get bone out of your dog's mouth while preparing for this post, but I feel this technique is rather dangerous, especially if your dog is an aggressive one. According to the article I read, it was described that, the pet owner should open the dog's mouth with both hands, one hand would be holding the upper jaw while the other should be holding the lower. A friend could help hold the dog to his/her chest while you do this and look down their throat, with a flashlight, check to see the foreign object, and gently grab with your fingers and pull it out carefully, but while doing this if you meet with any resistance, rush to the vet instantly. While this may work for some dog owners, I don't advise someone who is not trained to take care of dogs to carry out such an act, it is best to speak with a vet.
Another option is to get your pet to cough out the object by himself, if it is a small dog, hold them with their head in a downward manner and pat his back as you would do with a choking human, if your pet is large, raising hi hind leg could be really helpful, but if your dog is too big, just avoid it ass you may end up getting yourself and your dog injured.
Heimlich manoeuvre is another way to help your dog feel better, this you would do by placing yourself behind the pet, either you are in a standing or kneeling pattern, proceed to wrap your arms around the pet and support their legs with your own legs, apply some pressure behind the ribs inward and upwards as this will make the pet begin to cough or retch, the more they get to salivate, the better it is for them, as this will make it easier for the object to dislodge from their throat and then slide out.
Proceed to the vertinary doctor, even after the object causing the blockage has been removed, still go to the vet to cancel every possibility of internal injuries and digestive issues that the foreign object may have possibly caused.
A trained vet will typically diagnose esophageal forgein items with a chest x-ray or a barium swallow. Treatment includes anesthesia and endoscopy, which is a situation where a small camera is inserted into the mouth and the esophagus, for endoscopy, the foreign object is either pulled out of the mouth or directly pushed into the stomach.
As careful as we may like to be as pet owners, it is sometimes not possible to be careful enough not to allow your pet swallow anything that wouldn't move well into the stomach, but there are simple techniques that could help out, some of the precautions are;
If you notice your dog does not have the patient to chew for properly, desist from giving them cooked bones or a type of bone they will swallow once and for all.
Ensure that all pet toys are big enough that they cannot be swolled by your pet.
Closely observe your pet when heis out and make sure, he is not scavenging anything as he moves along.
Do not give your pet rawhide chews, if you have to give it to them,ensure to remove them from your dog once it has been chewed to a size they can be swallowed.
A foreign object getting into the mouth of your pet already poises serious issues, the outcome of the entire process depends greatly on how early the treatment started, the moment you notice that your pet may have swallowed a foreign object, make sure to speak to your vet about it.