We can see our dogs doing all kinds of things. Some are not pleasant. The best example here is gagging. Why is my dog gagging and not throwing up? Should I be worried or not? These are all the questions that need answers as soon as possible. Just to intrigue you. This issue is usually harmless but can be a sign of something severe and bad. We will explain this right here, right now.
What is Gagging?
Some dog owners still don’t know what gagging is. They believe that this is the same as dry heaving or retching. Here’s the fun fact. Retching and dry heaving are not different things. This is the same thing but the name is different. Dry heaving looks like a dog will want to throw up and his body will be in spasm. It will start from the stomach and move to the entire body. My dog is gagging and not throwing up may look like the same thing. It is a different thing.
Gagging means that the throat of a dog will be in spasm. He will have a hard time swallowing and breathing. Humans can have the same issue and will show the same signs when this happens to them.
Causes of Gagging
Now when you know what gagging is, let’s see why your pet does this. There are a few things that can cause this and usually it is better to take him to a vet and rule all the severe diseases and issues out.
There is also one simple way to tell why your pet does this or at least to know in which direction the issue is going. If your pet coughs for some time and then starts gagging, the issue is lower respiratory disease and bronchitis. If he does this in the reverse order, it means that the issue is in the larynx. The 2 common causes of gagging in dogs are as follows.
1. Laryngeal paralysis
Laryngeal paralysis affects the larynx. It will not seal as it should once this happens. This means that some pieces of food will get into the airways and a dog will start gagging. For example, this issue is very common in older Labrador Retrievers but it affects other dogs, as you can assume. It will start slow and it will get worse over time. Harsh and loud panting is another sign here. You can use the sign here to tell if your pet has this disease.
2. Kennel cough
Kennel cough is another issue and a thing that can cause gagging. This is a respiratory infection and a severe one. Harsh and coughing that sounds like a goose is present. Gagging is present as well.
It is important to add that there are all kinds of other issues that can cause gagging. For instance, pneumonia can cause this issue as well. This symptom is not common but can present itself.
Gagging is a common side effect of some completely harmless things. Some dogs will start gagging due to cigarette smoke. If your pee does this all the time, you may want to stop smoking when he is close. Gagging is also common in dogs who eat too fast. They can literally inhale some of the food which will cause this.
There are a lot of tips out there you can use to help your pet eat slowly and prevent gagging in the future. Most of them are very simple and work well. One of them is using a slow feeder that will slowly release food (obviously) hence a dog won’t be able to eat fast and inhale food.
When Do You Need To Take Your Dog To a Vet?
If your poet does this occasionally and only then, you don’t have to do anything. You will have only to monitor the condition and in most cases, the dog will be fine. He can do this for hours or even longer. The best thing is to monitor his behavior for 48-72 hours. If he stops before that you don’t need to take him to a vet. If he continues gagging, take him to a vet. It is possible that a dog does this due to infection or some other health-related issue.
Always pay attention to other signs and complications. If your pet has problems breathing, is lethargic or has other symptoms, take him to a vet sooner. Some dogs will make a noise while breathing. This can be a severe problem. All issues, problems, and diseases that affect the respiratory tract are considered severe and vets like to rule out all the severe complications.
What Can A Vet Do?
A vet will examine the dog, obviously. He will perform blood tests in order to test for any infections that may be present. Vets may have to examine the larynx if they suspect that it is the cause of a problem or if they suspect laryngeal paralysis. Sedation is mandatory in this case scenario. Your pet will get this type of medication if a vet suspects that a foreign object is in the throat.
He must remove it and for that, he will need a calm dog that doesn’t move. He will also take radiographs, specifically of the lungs and the neck. Once he finds the problem, he will prescribe the treatment and you can go home.
The Final Word
Why is my dog gagging and not throwing up occasionally? There are many reasons why dogs do this. Some are harmless and they go away within hours or days. Others are more severe and a dog will need examination and treatment. The bottom line is simple. If a dog is gagging only, monitor his behavior and take him to a vet if this problem remains present for longer than 72 hours. If he has other symptoms as well, take him to a vet as soon as possible.