Signs Your Pet Is Choking & What To Do

In case your pet is choking on something lodged in their throat, our team of veterinarians in Brodheadsville recommends the following steps to help your furry friend recover.

Signs Your Pet is Choking

Most pets, including cats and dogs, will display some combination of the following symptoms if they are choking on something:

  • Distress
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Salivation
  • Coughing
  • Gagging or retching
  • Blue mucous membranes (cyanosis)
  • Rubbing their face against the ground

If your cat or dog shows any of these symptoms, follow the steps outlined below and bring them into our veterinary clinic as soon as possible for emergency intervention during our regular business hours. 

What To Do If your Cat or Dog is Choking

Remove The Object if Possible

To ensure your pet's safety, it is essential to act quickly if they are choking, regardless of whether they are a cat or a dog. If the choking is caused by a string or cord wrapped around their neck, carefully cut it off with a pair of scissors. However, if the object is stuck in their throat, open their mouth to check if it is visible. If you can see it, gently try to remove it with your finger, but avoid pushing it down their throat as this can cause harm. If the object cannot be dislodged by swiping, do not attempt to push or poke it, as this can aggravate the situation by pushing the object further down the throat.

Heimlich Maneuver for Cats & Dogs

If you aren't able to remove the object your pet is choking on, you will have to use the Heimlich maneuver:

  • Lay your pet on their side.
  • Check the mouth to determine if the object has been dislodged.
  • Hold your pet's back against your stomach (head up, paws down).
  • With one hand, find the soft hollow under the ribs (your closed fist should fit into this spot).
  • Use the hand on your pet's stomach to pull up and in two or three times, toward your own stomach, using a sharp thrusting motion.


In the event that your furry companion, be it a cat or dog, stops breathing and their heartbeat ceases, it is vital that you immediately perform CPR. Aim for around 120 chest compressions per minute and keep going until you can get them to a veterinary clinic. Remember, swift action could very well be the difference between life and death for your cherished pet.

What to do After the Choking has Stopped

In the event that your pet is choking, prompt action must be taken to remove the object that is causing the obstruction. Nonetheless, it is advisable to have your pet examined by a veterinarian even if you were able to remove the object successfully. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet's overall health and examine for any concealed injuries or potential complications caused by the choking incident. By seeking expert assistance, you can guarantee that your beloved furry companion remains healthy and contented for a long time.

Preventing Future Choking

To ensure your pet's safety and well-being, it's crucial to remain watchful of any potential choking hazards. While pet food is usually tailored to your pet's size, monitoring their eating habits is still advisable. Furthermore, it's essential to examine toys before playtime to ensure they do not have any small parts that could break off and cause harm. By taking these basic safety measures, you can maintain your beloved furry friend's health and security.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your pet is choking and you aren't able to remove the object, contact our Brodheadsville Veterinary Clinic veterinary team as soon as possible.