Dog Choking Hazards

Updated: February 27, 2024

"As pet parents, we should make the safety of our furbabies the top priority."

Dogs just love to chew different things inside your house. They usually play biting games with your curtains, slippers, shoes, toys, and a lot more. Maybe you just find it cute to see them rolling over the floor and playing those things but it can lead to a dog choking on these items.

Dogs have an inherent habit of chewing. It is their way to explore the world around them. Chewing helps your furbaby achieve various things. For puppies, chewing helps relieve the pain of teething. For older dogs, chewing helps keep their teeth clean and their jaws strong. Some dogs chew for fun and the others chew out of anxiety and frustrations. Sadly, dogs are not always smart at choosing the best things to chew on. This is where pet parents come in.

There are incidents that because of them excessive chewing, dogs have choked which resulted in them experiencing extreme pain, and even for some, it led to their death. As much as it can be adorable to see your dogs enjoy playing around and chewing different things, you need to be cautious enough to protect them from any possible danger. In this article, we will look at the most common choking hazards for dogs, how to help a dog choking, and safety precautions to stop a dog from choking.


It is very vital to choose quality treats and toys for your dogs. This is to ensure their safety while enjoying the said toys inside your own homes. A dog choking on an object can lead to emergency situations which are much easier prevented than solved. Therefore, as pet parents, we should make the safety of our furbabies the top priority.

Here are the most common choking hazards that you need to be aware of as pet parents:

Balls. Your furbaby probably loves to play with different types of balls, particularly with rubber balls and tennis balls. It is very important to supervise them while playing with balls. As mentioned by Health Guidance, there have been many tragic occurrences in which a dog has choked to death after catching a ball and having it get lodged in their throat.

When playtime is over, make sure to hide it from them and keep the balls out of their reach to prevent a dog choking on balls. Finding the right size of a ball is an important thing to consider for your dogs to avoid choking incidents. A small ball that fits right into your furbaby’s mouth can pose great danger!

Bones. If there’s one thing people can associate with dogs, it would have to be bones! But did you know that bones, in general, are very dangerous to your dogs’ health? According to Dog Time, there is a risk of a dog choking on bones if they swallow without thoroughly chewing. Bones that are too hard can cause damage to the teeth, too! Cooked bones, in particular, create huge risks when your furbaby gets to chew them because the bones could easily splinter into smaller and sharper pieces that could injure their throat or even their internal organs.

Plastic Wraps. Some dogs just love to dig into trash bins! But it’s good to note that a lot of items in your garbage are dangerous to your furbaby. Trash bins are so full of choking hazards for your dog. There are paper products like napkins and paper towels that your dog may chew on. But the most dangerous of all plastic wraps. Choking is the most acute danger to your furbaby who has eaten plastic. If you hear a dog choking sound, coughing, gagging, or see signs of panicked behavior, call your vet and head over to the closest veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

Stones and Rocks. Most veterinarians will not be shocked to hear a dog ate a rock. Although we know stones add up to the aesthetics of your lawn or garden, it is considered to be a choking hazard for dogs because they are curious creatures and they may attempt to swallow them! If your dog is attempting to eat rocks, be sure to keep a close eye on them outside as surgery might be required if a dog ate a rock.

choking hazards for dogs, how to help a dog choking, safety precautions to stop a dog from choking

Sticks. Pet parents usually give their dogs sticks for playtime. Sticks are best enjoyed in games like fetching. But when dogs get to chew the said sticks without your supervision, it could harm them when it gets stuck in their mouth which could also lead to intestinal blockage if swallowed. This is why you should be very careful if your dog has a habit of eating sticks.

Chew Toys. When pet parents visit pet stores, most will be welcomed by a number of chew toys of different colors, styles, shapes, and whatnot. These chew toys will excite most pet parents but it’s important to know that not all chew toys are safe! If the toy shreds apart, it can lead to your dog choking on the pieces. Monitoring your dog with a new toy is an easy way to prevent a choking dog on your hands.

Bread. It may sound silly but bread is also one of the choking hazards for dogs. There are instances that when they get to eat bread, it could expand and stick on their esophagus which could block the airways making them experience choking.

Bread is honestly easy for anyone to choke on because of the way it expands and lumps together. For humans, we know to chew our food so it is not much of a choking hazard compared to dogs. Dogs have the tendency to swallow food whole and ingesting bread may pose choking hazards.

What to Do if Your Dog is Choking

Precautions are important, but accidents can happen. In the case of an emergency, you should know what to do if your dog is choking and how to help a choking dog. If you hear that dog choking sound or see your dog struggling, you must act fast. Here’s how to help a dog that’s choking.

In an emergency situation, you can perform the Heimlich Maneuver on your dog. Follow these steps. According to PetGuide, you should follow this pattern if your dog is choking on an object.

  1. Hold your dog by the back paws or legs and and tip them up into a "wheelbarrow pose."
  2. Wrap your arms around your dog’s abdomen and use both hands to press hard five times below their ribs.
  3. Quickly sweep their mouth by using your finger.
  4. Place them back in a standing position and give five sharp blows with an open hand between the shoulder blades.

Repeat this pattern if necessary. Remember that it is best to remain as calm and possible and act quickly. Call your vet as soon as possible in case there is any damage to their body or additional pieces inhaled.

How to Stop a Dog from Choking

Prevention is always best when it comes to dog safety. Appropriate supervision can prevent choking incidents from occurring in the first place. In addition, providing them with appropriate chews can help them to redirect their need for chewing from choking hazards to a safer alternative.

You can provide your dog with Gnawtlers®. These are Grade A raw premium elk and deer antlers that are exceptional in providing your furbaby with the best and safest gnawing experience. The benefits of Gnawtlers® include:

  • improved dental health
  • stress and anxiety relief
  • curbed destructive chewing
  • relief for puppies who are teething
  • presents a definite outlet for mental stimulation
  • nutrients like zinc, calcium, and phosphorus

In addition to the common choking hazards, it should be noted that dogs often choke on their own food. In fact, a dog choking on food is quite common. Dogs become excited at meal time and tend to eat much too fast.

Snuffle mats, like the Forager® Mat, can help to slow down meal time to prevent your dog choking on food. These snuffle mats for dogs act as slow feeder dog bowls. Your furbaby has to forage through the SoftSnout® material in order to collect all their food. This slows down eating while providing canine enrichment.

Supervision is a key element in how to stop a dog from choking. Choking hazards for dogs are everywhere! Make sure you keep hazardous items away from your dog and provide supervision with appropriate toys and chews. It is always best to be prepared by knowing what to do if your dog is choking. Now that you know what to do when a dog is choking and the common items that dogs choke on, you will be better prepared for an emergency. Don't forget:

Supervision is key!

Know potential hazards

Give Appropriate Chews