10 Common Choking Hazards for Dogs


1. Balls (tennis, rubber, plastic, or fabric)

2. Rawhide bones

3. Cooked and raw bones (steak, chicken, cow, turkey, ect.)

4. Bully sticks

5. Sticks

6. Stones

7. Plastic wrap

8. Kid’s toys

9. Gristle

10. Balloons


Dogs, especially puppies love to put just about anything in their mouths. Like kids they have no idea of the damage these things can do. It is up to the parent to see they are protected.


Balls, no matter what they are made of is not safe. The more they chew on them the more unsafe they become. The dog will eventually chew bits and pieces off the toy and ingest them. This can cause choking, total airway obstruction, or intestinal obstructions. If you want to play fetch make sure the ball is too big for them to swallow. Supervise the play and when done put the ball out of reach of your dog.


Rawhide bones should not be a part of a dog’s diet. They can break off large chunks and swallow them whole. Aggressive chewers can actually wear down their teeth. These bones are linked to choking, airway obstruction, esophageal, and intestinal blockages. Rawhide becomes soft when chewed and becomes a choking hazard.


Cooked bones tend to be brittle. Fragments and pieces can easily break off, causing choking, airway obstruction, cuts in the mouth, perforations and/or obstruction of the esophagus and intestines.


Raw bones has minerals in it which is good for your dog, but even a large one piece bone can be dangerous. They can still splinter and swallowed. It is best to not give bones period.


Bully sticks are ok but do not let them chew down to the very end. If you cannot see a piece on each side of dogs mouth it is time to throw it away and start on a new one.


Sticks from outside are loved by dogs and puppies. Sticks can splinter in the mouth causing cuts and obstructions as well as perforations.


Stones can become lodged in the throat and can cause total obstruction. If the dog swallows the stone it can cause intestinal blockage which requires emergency surgery.


Plastic wrap that is wrapped in meat will still have the flavor and possibly blood on it. Plastic wrap can wad up in the throat and if swallowed cannot not be passed out. It blocks the intestines and prevents oxygen getting to the rest of the body beyond the blockage. This requires emergency surgery or it will die. Balloons are the same danger as plastic wrap.


Kid’s toys should not be laying around. Toys have small parts and some dolls have buttons for eyes. Just like a kid your puppy will put whatever it can fit into its mouth.

Gristle cannot be broke down even by a dog’s teeth.


One thing to look for is if your pet eats slow or fast. Always be on the lookout for broken or cracked teeth. Always read the label and try to buy only items made in the United States. Other countries come over in bulk and there is no way to see what is in it like preservatives, dyes, ect.


It is always better to be safe than sorry.


Warning signs your dog is choking


1. Opening mouth and lunging their body forward in an attempt to dislodge object

2. Inability to breath

3. Pawing at the face

4. Panicking


What to do if your dog is choking


1. Stay calm to keep your dog calm

2. Use both hands to open dog’s mouth to check for a foreign object

3. If you don’t think the dog will bite, go ahead and carefully attempt to remove it. Tweezers would

be the best. Make sure you do not further push it down the throat.

4. If you are unable to remove the object with your hands, grab onto your dog’s hips and suspend

him in the air with his head toward the floor. For small dogs: Get a good grip on his upper thigh/

hip area, lift him in the air, and gently shake in a downward motion several times. For large dogs:

If your dog is too large to lift up into the air, simply pick his back legs up like a wheelbarrow.

5. If the object doesn’t dislodge, it’s time to perform the Heimlich maneuver. Wrap both hands

around your dog’s abdominal area. Make a fist with one hand and place it just behind the rib cage.

With your other hand on top, push up with enough force to dislodge an object (do this up to 5


6. Open your dog’s mouth again and look for a foreign object. If you see the object then put your

fingers in your dog’s mouth and attempt to scoop it out. Again, be careful not to push the object

further down your dog’s throat. 

7 If the object doesn’t dislodge within a few minutes then get to your vet ASAP.

8 If your dog goes unconscious and you are finally able to dislodge the foreign object (either with fingers or tweezers), you may need to perform CPR.