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Dog Dry Heaving

Dog Dry Heaving

Does your dog look like they are trying to vomit, but nothing is coming out? Today our Gilbert vets discuss dry heaving in dogs, what could be causing your dog to dry heave, and what you should do.

My Dog is Dry Heaving!

Our Gilbert vets know that watching or listening to your dog dry heaving can be worrying. It certainly looks and sounds as if they are going to vomit, but nothing happens. 

Medical Conditions That May Cause Dry heaving in dogs?

A single episode of dry heaving is likely not something to be concerned over. They often are just coughing something up that was caught in their throat.  

If your dog is dry heaving repeatedly or dry heaving is recurrent it is essential to contact your vet right away to book an examination for your dog so that serious health issues can be ruled out.

Conditions that can lead to dry heaving in dogs range in severity. Below are just a few of the reasons why your dog may be dry heaving:

Kennel Cough

Dry heaving may be a sign that your dog has kennel cough. Kennel cough is a highly contagious upper respiratory illness in dogs that is characterized by a dry, hacking cough and nasal discharge. Because of the highly contagious nature of kennel cough, dogs showing signs of the condition should be isolated from other dogs in order to limit the spread of the condition. Call your vet if you think that your dog may have kennel cough. 

Bloat - Gastric Dilation-Volvulus

When the dog's stomach fills with air it increases pressure and prevents blood from the dog's hind legs and abdomen from returning to the heart. Bloat is a very serious condition in dogs that can quickly become fatal.  In some cases, bloating can cause the pancreas to produce toxic hormones which can cause the dog's heart to stop. If your dog shows signs of bloat, urgent veterinary care is required right away! Signs of bloat include dry heaving, enlarged abdomen, increased salivation, restlessness, and signs of pain if you touch their belly.

Without treatment dogs suffering from bloat will likely go into shock within 1-2 hours, experience increased heart rate, lose strength, and the condition will become fatal.

Foreign Object Caught in Throat

If your dog has something caught in their throat that is causing a partial obstruction it could result in gagging, retching and dry heaving as your dog works to force the object out. If you think that your dog has something stuck in their throat, and they are unable to dislodge it themselves, contact your vet right away.

Tonsillitis & Sore Throat

Your dog's tonsils can become swollen and inflamed leading to a sore throat, and possibly interfering with swallowing and your dog's natural gag reflex. If your dog has swollen tonsils it could lead to repeated gagging and dry heaving. Contact your vet if you suspect that your dog has swollen tonsils.

Tumor Partially Blocking Your Dog's Throat & Airway

Any sort of growth that occurs in the back of your dog's throat could cause breathing and swallowing issues and result in gagging or dry heaving. If your dog has a tumor in the back of their throat it will need to be surgically removed in order to clear the airway.

What Should I Do if My Dog is Dry Heaving?

If your dog is dry heaving, and it is continuous or prolonged, it is recommended contact a vet right away. 

Kennel cough and tonsilitis may be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs or oral antibiotics

Foreign objects can damage the throat and become a choking hazard, and bloat is always a veterinary emergency.

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 dog is dry heaving long enough for you to finish this article? Contact our Gilbert veterinary clinic to book an appointment.

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