Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Signs Your Pet Is Choking & What To Do

Signs Your Pet Is Choking & What To Do

If your pet is choking on something lodged in their throat, our veterinarians located in Murfreesboro recommend these steps to help your furry friend recover.

Signs Your Pet is Choking

If your pet, be it a cat or a dog, is choking on something, they are likely to show one or more of the following symptoms:

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

If your cat or dog shows any of these symptoms, follow the steps outlined below and bring them into our veterinary clinic as soon as possible for emergency intervention during our regular business hours. If it's after business hours, please contact our emergency vet clinic in Murfreesboro

What To Do If your Cat or Dog is Choking

Remove The Object if Possible

Firstly, it's crucial to restrain your pet when they are choking, whether they're a cat or a dog. If the choking is due to something like a cord or string wrapped around their neck, use a pair of scissors to cut it off carefully.

However, if the object is stuck in their throat, open their mouth to check if you can see it. If it's visible, use your finger to try and remove it, but avoid attempting to poke down their throat, as this can cause injury. If you cannot dislodge the object by swiping, do not push or poke it, as this could worsen the situation by pushing it further down the throat.

Heimlich Maneuver for Cats & Dogs

If you aren't able to remove the object your pet is choking on, you will have to use the Heimlich maneuver:

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


In case your furry companion, be it a cat or dog, experiences breathing difficulty and cardiac arrest, administering CPR is crucial. Ensure to perform chest compressions at a rate of 120 per minute and continue doing so until you can get to a veterinary clinic. Remember, timely action can make all the difference in saving your dear pet's life.

What to do After the Choking has Stopped

If your pet is choking, it's important to take action and remove the object causing the obstruction. However, even if you manage to do so successfully, it's still a good idea to have your pet checked by a veterinarian. Your vet can assess your pet's health and check for any hidden injuries or potential complications caused by the choking incident. By seeking professional help, you can ensure that your furry friend remains healthy and happy for years to come.

Preventing Future Choking

Keeping your furry friend safe from choking incidents is crucial. It's important to remain watchful of any items that could potentially pose a risk, such as pet food that may not be suitable for their size. To further ensure safety, it's recommended to supervise your pet while they eat.

Prior to playtime, inspect any toys for small detachable parts that could cause harm. By taking these simple measures, you can help maintain the health and safety of your beloved pet.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your pet is choking and you aren't able to remove the object, contact our Murfreesboro veterinary team as soon as possible.

Caring for Pets in Murfreesboro

Brogli Lane Weaver & Alexander Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Book Online (615) 893-1728