Why Is My Dog Gagging?

If you’re a dog owner, you know dogs can sometimes display strange behaviors.

One of these behaviors is dog gagging.

Gagging in dogs can be concerning for owners, especially if they are unsure of what may be causing it.

It can be caused by several factors, ranging from harmless to serious.

In this article, we will explore some of the common reasons why your dog might be gagging and provide some tips on what you can do to help your furry friend.

By the end of the article, you’ll better understand what may be causing your dog’s gagging and how you can address it.

Why Is My Dog Gagging? The Reasons

Because Something Caught In Their Throat Or Mouth

If something gets stuck in the back of a dog’s throat or lodged in its mouth, it will likely gag reflexively to expel it.

Remove it carefully if you can see what is causing your pup to gag. Ingested items like bones or grass can lodge in hard-to-reach places and cause your pup to gag.

If you notice ongoing gagging without any visible object, take them to the vet for a check-up.

Might Have Eaten Something They Shouldn’t Have

A common reason your dog might be gagging is if they ate something they shouldn’t have.

This could include household items, foods that are bad for them, or even too much of a good thing! It’s important to keep an eye on them when this happens.

Watch for signs of vomiting and/or diarrhea, as these can provide clues about the issue.

If left untreated, the situation can become much worse with long-term health effects.

Quick action and monitoring are key steps in helping to keep your beloved pup healthy and safe.


Allergies could also be the underlying issue if your pup is gagging regularly.

It’s important to look out for other telltale signs of an allergic reaction, such as constant lip licking, redness around the eyes or nose, and more.

If you notice any of these, along with your dog gagging, contact your vet as soon as possible to discuss what type of allergy they may have and determine the best course of action.

It Could Be Kennel Cough

If your dog has begun to gag or retch without ever bringing anything up, the cause could be Kennel Cough.

It’s a contagious virus affecting dogs in close quarters, such as a kennel, and manifests in a long, dry, hacking cough.

To test for this virus and ensure it is not something more serious, you should bring your pup to see the vet immediately.

They will be able to diagnose the issue and get your pup back on its paws as soon as possible.

Related: Dog Dry Heaving: Causes And Treatment

Drank Too Quickly

If you notice your pup gulping down large amounts of water or food at a time, it may be a cause for concern.

When a dog drinks or eats too quickly, it can often result in them gagging. 

This is because their throat muscle reflex can be triggered due to the pressure of solid objects or liquid rushing down the esophagus too fast.

If your pup is showing signs of gagging after eating or drinking quickly, it would be wise to keep an eye on them and let it pass before potentially seeing if they are having difficulty swallowing anything else.

They Have Nausea

It could indicate that they have a foreign object or annoyance within their throat and instances of motion sickness from car rides.

An upset stomach can also cause nausea, which could lead to the gagging reflex to expel any lingering irritants.

Prolonged gagging and retching can be terrifying for owners, so it’s important to seek immediate advice from your veterinarian if these symptoms appear, as this could indicate a more serious underlying condition.


Your pup’s excitement might be expressed with a gagging sound.

Depending on the pup’s body language, this can be a sign of stress or happiness.

If their tail is wagging and they seem to be in good spirits, the gagging is more likely an expression of positive emotion.

If they appear anxious and uncomfortable, then it could signify stress.

Keeping an eye on your pup’s behavior and understanding why they express themselves like this is key to properly addressing any possible issues.

Collapsed Trachea

This happens when the cartilage that makes up the walls of the breathing tube becomes weak and falls apart. This makes it hard for oxygen to get into the lungs.

Signs that a dog may have this disease are a persistent honking or gagging cough, an inability to handle exercise, and trouble breathing.

If you think your pet has any of these signs, you should take them to the vet so they can do more tests and come up with a good treatment plan.

What To Do If Your Dog Is Gagging

If your dog is gagging, acting quickly and safely is important.

First, make sure nothing is obstructing their airway.

If the gag reflex is intermittent, gently massage and rub their throat while keeping a close eye on them until they calm down.

Call your vet or seek emergency veterinary care immediately if gagging increases or persists.

Other signs that may indicate a more serious issue include coughing, difficulty breathing, gagging after eating and drinking, difficulty swallowing, or if they appear to be choking.

Be aware that dogs often gag due to potential foreign objects in their throats, such as sticks or leftovers from chewed-up toys.

Whenever you take your pup out for a walk, keep an eye on them so they don’t swallow anything dangerous!

Prevention Of Gagging

It is an unpleasant feeling to witness a dog gagging.

Not only does it cause distress for the animal, but also for their owners, who want nothing more than to ensure their pet is happy and healthy.

That being said, there are a few ways to help modify or even prevent this behavior from occurring in the first place.

First, knowing your dog’s triggers can go a long way toward preventing gagging altogether.

It is also good to slowly introduce them to new things, making sure they are comfortable with each one as they smell and play with it.

Last, giving them a lot of time to play and exercise can help with some of the underlying causes and help them get rid of extra energy that could make them feel stressed or anxious. All of these steps can help prevent dogs from gagging in the long run.

When Should I Be Concerned About A Dog Gagging?

If your pup is gagging, it can be a worrying symptom that needs to be taken seriously.

Dogs can gag all of a sudden or all the time, and the cause could be anything from an allergy to a serious illness.

Chronic gagging can be caused by a foreign body, a dental infection, a collapsed trachea, esophagitis, or a physical blockage.

Some illnesses may only need to be treated for a short time, but more serious ones may need surgery or long-term plans for treatment with veterinarians.

Anytime your dog experiences unusual symptoms like

 gagging, contact your vet immediately to keep them healthy and safe.

What Can A Veterinarian Do To Help Dog Gagging?

A veterinarian can help determine the cause of a dog’s gagging and recommend the appropriate treatment.

To establish what is causing the gagging, the vet will perform a physical examination and certain tests like X-rays and lab work.

They may also check your dog’s throat and use an endoscope to look closer at their trachea and other parts of their digestive tract.

If an obstruction is present, surgery may be necessary to remove it manually.

If the vet finds that the gagging is caused by something deeper, like an infection or condition, he or she may prescribe medicine to treat it.

Other options are to suggest holistic treatments or change your pet’s diet to reduce inflammation in the body and make gagging less common.

Seeing your dog gagging can be alarming and worrisome, but more often than not, it is something benign.

Knowing why a dog is gagging and being able to figure out what’s going on can help ease your worries, and if you need to, you can also talk to your vet about it.

If your pet gags because of an underlying health problem, you and your pet will both be better off if you work with your vet to figure out the best way to care for them.

No matter what is making your dog gag, remember to be patient and watchful. This will go a long way toward making sure your dog is healthy and happy.

Before You Go…

Now you know the answer to the question, “Why is my dog gagging?”

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.