Help! My Dog Keeps Dry Heaving – What Should I Do?

We’ve all been there – witnessing our beloved furry friends dry heaving and feeling utterly helpless. It’s a perplexing sight, as if they’re about to vomit, but nothing comes out. So, what could be causing this strange behavior?

Understanding Dry Heaving in Dogs

Dry heaving in dogs can be distressing, but it’s important to stay calm and assess the situation. Our friends at Katten TrimSalon have shared some valuable insights to help you understand the possible causes behind your dog’s dry heaving.

Common Causes of Dry Heaving

Dogs may experience dry heaving for various reasons, including:

  • Upper respiratory infection
  • A foreign object caught in their throat
  • Kennel cough
  • Tonsillitis
  • Gastric dilation-volvulus (bloat)
  • A tumor partially obstructing the throat

If your dog has a one-time dry heaving episode, it’s probably nothing to worry about. They may have just coughed up something that was stuck in their throat. However, if your pup is dry heaving repeatedly or the episodes are recurrent, it’s crucial to contact your vet immediately. This could be a sign of a more serious health issue.

Medical Conditions that Cause Dry Heaving

Dry heaving in dogs can be linked to various medical conditions, some more severe than others. Here are a few of the most common causes:

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Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a highly contagious upper respiratory illness in dogs. It’s characterized by a dry, hacking cough that can sound like a goose honk. If your dog displays these symptoms along with nasal discharge, it’s important to isolate them from other pets to prevent the spread of the condition. Contact your vet for advice if you suspect your furry companion has kennel cough.

Bloat – Gastric Dilation-Volvulus

Bloat is an extremely serious condition that can quickly become fatal for dogs. It occurs when their stomach fills with air, increasing pressure and hindering blood flow. In some cases, the stomach can even flip, causing the pancreas to produce toxic hormones that can stop a dog’s heart. Dry heaving is one of the symptoms of bloat, along with an enlarged abdomen, increased salivation, restlessness, and signs of pain when the belly is touched. If you suspect your dog has bloat, seek urgent veterinary care immediately.

Foreign Object Caught in Throat

If your dog has something lodged in their throat, it can cause gagging, retching, and dry heaving as they try to dislodge the object. If you suspect your dog may have a partial obstruction, contact your vet right away or take them to the nearest emergency vet for urgent care.

Sore Throat & Tonsillitis

Just like us, dogs can suffer from swollen and inflamed tonsils, leading to a sore throat. This can interfere with swallowing and trigger repeated gagging and dry heaving. If you notice swollen tonsils, get in touch with your vet for further evaluation and treatment options.

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Tumor Partially Obstructing the Airway & Throat

Any growth in the back of your dog’s throat can cause breathing and swallowing difficulties, resulting in gagging and dry heaving. Surgical removal of the growth may be necessary to clear the airway and alleviate your pet’s discomfort. Contact your vet to properly diagnose and treat any growths in your dog’s throat.

What to Do If Your Dog Is Dry Heaving

If your dog is dry heaving, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and contact your vet immediately. While kennel cough and tonsillitis can often be managed with anti-inflammatory drugs or oral antibiotics, more serious causes of dry heaving require veterinary intervention.

Remember, the information provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only and does not substitute professional veterinary advice. If you’re uncertain about your pet’s condition, make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

For more pet-related articles and expert advice, visit Katten TrimSalon.