Dog Dry Heaving | Causes And Treatment

Dog dry heaving can be a concerning symptom for any pet owner.

When our furry friends start exhibiting unusual behaviors, it’s natural to feel worried and unsure of how to help them.

Dry heaving in dogs can be caused by various underlying issues, ranging from mild to serious.

Understanding dog dry heaving causes and symptoms is crucial to treating your pet.

This article covers dog dry heaving’s causes, symptoms, and treatments.

If your dog has dry heaving, this guide will help you care for them.

Causes Of Dry Heaving In Dogs

Dry heaving is a common symptom in dogs that can be caused by a variety of underlying issues.

As a pet owner, it’s essential to be aware of the possible causes of dog dry heaving so that you can take appropriate action to help your furry friend.

Let’s explore these and other potential causes of dog dry heaving in more detail.

This will help you to understand what might be behind this uncomfortable symptom in your pet.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a condition that can cause dry heaving in dogs.

It’s a highly contagious respiratory infection that can affect dogs of all ages and breeds.

Canine parainfluenza, adenovirus, and Bordetella bronchiseptica viruses and bacteria cause the condition.

When dogs are housed in close proximity to one another, such as in kennels, the infection can spread quickly.

The infection leads to inflammation in the respiratory tract, including the trachea and bronchi, which can result in a persistent, dry cough.

In some cases, the cough can be so severe that it leads to dry heaving.

While kennel cough can be uncomfortable for dogs, it’s usually not a serious condition and can be managed with appropriate treatment.

Treatment may include antibiotics, cough suppressants, and rest.

Bloat – Gastric Dilation-Volvulus

Bloat, also known as gastric dilation-volvulus, is a serious condition that can cause dry heaving in dogs.

This condition occurs when the stomach fills with gas, fluid, or food, causing it to expand and potentially rotate on its axis.

This can lead to a range of symptoms, including dry heaving, as well as abdominal pain, restlessness, and difficulty breathing.

Bloat can occur in any dog, but it’s most common in large, deep-chested breeds, such as Great Danes, Saint Bernards, and Weimaraners.

Bloat is a medical emergency and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Without prompt treatment, bloat can be fatal.

Treatment may include decompression of the stomach, IV fluids, and surgery to reposition the stomach and prevent a recurrence.

Foreign Object Caught In Throat

Dogs are curious creatures and may accidentally swallow objects that they shouldn’t.

This can lead to a foreign object becoming lodged in the throat, which can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to dry heaving.

Common items that dogs may swallow include bones, toys, and other small items.

When a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat, it can cause a range of symptoms, including gagging, coughing, and dry heaving.

Depending on the size and location of the object, it may need to be removed surgically.

If you suspect that your dog has a foreign object in their throat, it’s essential to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

Delaying treatment can lead to serious health issues, including infection and even suffocation.

Sore Throat And Tonsillitis

Sore throat and tonsillitis are two conditions that can cause dry heaving in dogs.

A sore throat can be caused by a range of factors, including viral or bacterial infections, allergies, and irritants.

Similarly, tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils and can be caused by a range of factors, including bacterial or viral infections.

Dogs with sore throats and tonsillitis may exhibit symptoms such as coughing, gagging, and dry heaving.

The inflammation and irritation in the throat and tonsils can lead to difficulty swallowing, which can cause dry heaving.

In many cases, the condition can be treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications.

However, if the sore throat or tonsillitis is caused by a foreign object or tumor, surgery may be necessary to remove the offending object or growth.

It’s essential to seek veterinary attention if you notice your dog exhibiting symptoms of sore throat or tonsillitis.

The condition can progress and lead to further complications if left untreated.


Dry heaving in dogs can also be caused by tumors.

Tumors can develop in any part of the body and can be benign or malignant.

When tumors develop in the respiratory tract or gastrointestinal system, they can cause dry heaving, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

Tumors can also put pressure on surrounding organs and tissues, leading to pain and discomfort.

In some cases, tumors may be visible or palpable, but in other cases, they may not be detected until they have grown large enough to cause symptoms.

Treatment for tumors depends on the type, size, and location of the tumor.

In some cases, surgical removal of the tumor may be necessary.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be used to shrink or eliminate tumors.

Early detection and treatment are key to a successful outcome for dogs with tumors.

If your dog has dry heaving, coughing, or trouble breathing, see a vet immediately.

Delaying treatment can lead to serious health complications and a poorer prognosis.

What To Do If Your Dog Is Dry Heaving

If you notice that your dog is dry heaving, it’s essential to take appropriate action to help them.

The first step is to assess your dog’s overall health and behavior.

If your dog is exhibiting other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.

In this case, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

If your dog is otherwise healthy and the dry heaving is an isolated symptom, you can try some at-home remedies.

For example, you can try feeding your dog smaller, more frequent meals to prevent stomach upset or providing them with a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice.

You can also try giving your dog a small amount of water or ice cubes to help soothe their throat.

To ensure your dog receives proper treatment, seek veterinary attention if dry heaving persists or is accompanied by other symptoms.

How Can You Prevent Dry Heaving In Dogs?

Preventing dry heaving in dogs can be challenging, as it’s often caused by underlying health issues that are beyond our control.

However, there are some steps that you can take to reduce the risk of your dog experiencing dry heaving.

Firstly, it’s important to ensure that your dog is eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight.

Overeating or eating too quickly can increase the risk of stomach upset, which can lead to dry heaving.

It’s also important to give your dog plenty of fresh water and watch for contaminated sources.

Regular exercise and mental stimulation can help your dog avoid stress-related health problems.

Finally, regular veterinary check-ups can detect health issues early.

This ensures that your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and preventative treatments.

By taking these steps, you can help reduce the risk of your dog experiencing dry heaving and other health issues.

Before You Go…

You now know the reasons for dog dry heaving.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Dimitra Kokologianni, DVM
Dimitra holds a Masters’s degree in public health and a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. She is a versatile professional with over 7 years of experience. Her passion for animal welfare and preventive medicine makes her an excellent resource for our readers.