The Signs of a Choking Pet: Recognize and Respond

Video what to do when a cat is choking

The Signs of a Choking Pet and What To Do

Imagine the panic that sets in when you see your beloved furry friend choking. It’s a harrowing experience, but it’s crucial to act swiftly and effectively. In this article, we’ll walk you through the signs of a choking pet and the essential steps to take.

Signs Your Pet is Choking

Most pets, be they dogs or cats, exhibit specific symptoms when they are choking. Keep an eye out for the following signs:

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

If your furry companion is displaying any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to act promptly. Follow the steps outlined below and seek emergency intervention from our veterinary clinic during our regular business hours.

What To Do If your Cat or Dog is Choking

Remove The Object if Possible

Firstly, ensure your pet’s safety and restrain them gently. Be mindful that when pets choke, they may struggle, risking injury to both themselves and you. If there’s a string, cord, or any other item wrapped around their neck, carefully use a pair of scissors to cut it off.

If your pet is choking on an object lodged in their throat, open their mouth and see if you can locate the obstruction. If visible, try swiping it away with your finger and out of their mouth.

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However, if you cannot see the object, refrain from attempting to poke your finger down their throat, as it may cause harm. If swiping the obstruction away doesn’t work, resist the urge to push or poke it, as this could push it further into the throat.

Heimlich Maneuver for Cats & Dogs

If you’re unable to remove the object causing the choking, you’ll need to employ the Heimlich maneuver:

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


If the Heimlich maneuver proves ineffective and your pet loses their pulse, initiate CPR immediately. Administer approximately 120 chest compressions per minute and continue until you reach a veterinary practice.

What to do After the Choking has Stopped

Even if you successfully remove the object causing your pet to choke, it’s prudent to bring them to your veterinarian for a thorough examination. Your vet will ensure that the choking incident hasn’t caused any hidden harm or potential health issues.

Preventing Future Choking

To minimize the chances of your pet choking in the future, it’s essential to be proactive. Keep a watchful eye on any potential choking hazards, taking the following precautions:

  • Monitor your pet’s meals, even if their food is specifically formulated for their size.
  • Stay vigilant during playtime and ensure that toys don’t have small pieces that could break off and pose a choking risk.
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Remember, the information provided here serves as a general guide and should not substitute professional veterinary advice. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your trusted veterinarian.

To learn more about pet care and our services, visit Katten TrimSalon.