Do you ever notice that your dog acts like it has something stuck in its throat after eating grass? Sometimes, dogs will graze on grass nonchalantly. Other times, though, they may do so if they feel ill and want to throw up.
The downside of this instinct in dogs is that it’s very easy for grass to get lodged in their throats after ingesting since they tend to inhale when they eat.
Unfortunately, this can lead to your dog coughing, wheezing, and acting like they’re trying to clear their throat.
Chances are, they’ve ingested a piece of grass that was too big or oddly shaped to swallow. Further, some dog breeds are prone to airway obstruction regardless of whether grass gets stuck in their throats when they eat it.
To understand why dogs may clear their throats after eating grass and how you can help them, keep reading. We’ll cover the medical steps you should take if you notice symptoms of esophageal obstruction in your dog after it eats grass.
You don’t want to leave this phenomenon untreated, as it may lead to pain, trouble breathing, and other serious maladies for your dog.
My Dog Has Something Stuck In Its Throat After Eating Grass!
If you notice that your dog is acting like it has something stuck in its throat after eating grass, you need to assess the severity of the situation. First, see if you can get a good look inside your dog’s mouth or into the back of their throat.
If your dog continues to try and clear its throat in vain, you’ll likely need to contact a veterinarian. Since this issue affects a dog’s airway, you’ll want to address it quickly and avoid waiting in line at the vet’s office.
A quick video call with a veterinarian is an effective way to get professional advice since the veterinarian can see how your dog is behaving.
There are various veterinary telemedicine services you can access for affordable rates online. One example is Pawp – a service offering a 7-day free trial where you get unlimited access to video chat and message with a licensed veterinarian.
By speaking to a vet, you can figure out which next steps you should take. It may be as extreme as rushing your pup to an animal emergency room for surgical removal of the grass blocking its airway, or it may be something you can safely treat by yourself at home. Either way, time is of the essence since an obstructed airway can worsen by the minutes.
Why Does My Dog Act Like It Has Something Stuck In Its Throat After Eating Grass?
Typically, dogs act like they have something stuck in their throats after eating grass because they actually do have grass stuck in their throat. For dogs, plant matter is both difficult to swallow and difficult to digest.
Note that gagging, coughing, or wheezing symptoms could also be due to your dog’s particular breed, which may be prone to airway obstruction regardless of whether grass is stuck there.
When dogs eat substances like grass, which may be too long to safely make it down the esophagus (throat), their airway can become obstructed. This is why your dog may start dry heaving, salivating, or exhibiting choking symptoms. It can also lead to more symptoms related to digestion that will require veterinary attention.
The other case is if your dog is a breed with a naturally obstructed airway (brachycephalic dogs), such as a pug or bulldog. In this case, your pup may exhibit symptoms of an esophageal obstruction, even if it managed to safely swallow the grass it consumed.
This means that you should still address the airway issues, even if there isn’t a physical grass obstruction in its throat. Regardless of the cause, your dog will suffer if it is struggling to breathe, so you should get help as soon as possible.
How Can I Help My Dog Clear His Throat?
In many situations, it’s not possible to get immediate veterinary attention for your dog, even if you rush to the emergency room. With a situation such as an obstructed airway, it’s crucial to help your dog get back to breathing normally as soon as you can.
This is why you should take measures to help your dog clear its throat in the meantime, even if the veterinarian has advised you to take your pooch into the office.
At home or on the way to the vet’s office, you can help clear your dog’s throat by using gravity to your advantage. With smaller dogs, try lifting them off the ground and hold them face-down while you pat their back to try and lift the blockage.
You can also try opening your dog’s mouth and using your fingers to try and remove the grass or blockage yourself. Keep in mind that if you try this method, you need to be as gentle as possible so you don’t hurt your dog’s throat more.
Finally, giving your dog the doggy version of the Heimlich maneuver may be effective in dislodging grass or other matter from their throat. Get behind your dog as you would do for the human Heimlich, and wrap your arms around their stomach.
As you apply pressure in an upward and inward direction behind their ribs, they should start to salivate, cough, and retch. This may help to lubricate their esophagus and dislodge the grass to cough it up.
If you think your dog has something stuck in its throat after eating grass, you should address the situation immediately to ensure their safety. Dogs often get plant matter like grass lodged in their esophagus because it’s too long or difficult to swallow fully.
And in some cases, dog breeds that are predisposed to obstructed airways will cough or gag even if they’ve swallowed the grass fully. Make sure to contact a veterinarian immediately for professional advice and administer the appropriate at-home treatment to clear your dog’s throat in the meantime.