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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16179
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My dog might have swallowed something and got it stuck in his

Customer Question

My dog might have swallowed something and got it stuck in his esophagus. He is 1.5 years old and 18 pounds. At first he was trying to throw up and a little bit of mucus came out. It's been about an hour and every once in a while he does these exaggerated swallows and acts like he might throw up. He isn't having trouble breathing at all. He is drinking water just fine. I'm not sure what to do! I'm worried but we live over an hour from the nearest vet hospital!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.
Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner. If you would still like assistance, can you tell me:
Can he eat and keep any food down?
Can you take a breathing rate for me (just count his breaths for 10 seconds + multiply by 6)?
Are his gums pink or pale/white?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes he can eat just fine and drink water. He hasn't had any problems with that so far.His resting heart rate is 50 (that was averaged over three trials).His gums are his normal pink color.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,
Can you confirm that was his heart rate (too low) or his breathing rate (a bit high)?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This was his resting heart rate this morning.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,
If that is his resting heart rate, you do want to keep an eye on that. If he is a sighthound or a very athletic dog, then that could explain why his heart rate is so low, but generally speaking we'd want to see it around 60-120 bpm at rest. So, if he isn't one of those 2 exceptions, you may want to have this checked by his vet.
In any case, his heart rate doesn't really have any bearing on our current signs. As well, I would note that an obstruction or something being caught is unlikely here since he can eat and the food can travel down the esophagus. Instead, he likely has irritation or inflammation in the throat. This could be related to something having abraded the throat on its way down but could also be related to a esophagitis, or a possible viral or bacterial tracheitis.
Therefore, if he is breathing comfortably (<30 bpm) and his gums are pink (a sign of proper oxygenation), you can focus on soothing his throat at this stage while monitoring. To do so, you can try him with plain over the counter glycerin/honey cough syrup (with no drugs in it). Typically we will give a milliliter (~1/4 teaspoon) as needed. This will aid to soothe his throat and settle any upper airway related coughing. Alternatively, you can try Robitussin DM. If you choose to use this one, I would just say to make sure to use this preparation and avoid any containing other medications like Paracetamol, Acetaminophen, Pseudoephedrine, Phenylephrine or caffeine (since these can be toxic). If it also contains Guaifenesin that is okay. Dose-wise, we tend to give this as 1/2 (half) teaspoon per 10lbs of the dog's body weight every 8-12 hours. These will help soothe throat irritation and can help at least decrease the coughing, retching, and throat irritation. As well, it can help to offer soft foods to just avoid any more throat irritation or abrasion.
Overall, his signs do sound like he has some irritation (possibly related to something he ate) in his throat. That said, considering the rest of his history, we'd not expect something to be stuck here. Therefore, if he is more settled, we'd just want to use the above supportive care at this stage. Otherwise, if he seems very irritated in his throat, then we'd need to consider having his vet examine him and potentially start him on a gastroprotectant to coat his throat and a dog safe anti-inflammatory to soothe any inflammation and reduce any soreness for him. And at the same time, they can check to see if this slowed heart rate is still ongoing or if it has elevated once he gets moving.
Please take care,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. You said to use the "above supportive care" but I don't see that in your message? What supportive care should I use?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome,
I was referring to those options for soothing his throat since that is our focus at the moment. Further to that, the additional treatments I noted (dog safe pain relief, gastroprotectants) would need to be dispensed by your vet.
Take care,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm so sorry but I think part of your email might have been cut off. What are the soothing techniques we can use?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Oh dear,
Well, let me repost what I said above just now & do let me know if you can see everything -->
If that is his resting heart rate, you do want to keep an eye on that. If he is a sighthound or a very athletic dog, then that could explain why his heart rate is so low, but generally speaking we'd want to see it around 60-120 bpm at rest. So, if he isn't one of those 2 exceptions, you may want to have this checked by his vet.
In any case, his heart rate doesn't really have any bearing on our current signs. As well, I would note that an obstruction or something being caught is unlikely here since he can eat and the food can travel down the esophagus. Instead, he likely has irritation or inflammation in the throat. This could be related to something having abraded the throat on its way down but could also be related to a esophagitis, or a possible viral or bacterial tracheitis.
**
Therefore, if he is breathing comfortably (<30 bpm) and his gums are pink (a sign of proper oxygenation), you can focus on soothing his throat at this stage while monitoring. To do so, you can try him with plain over the counter glycerin/honey cough syrup (with no drugs in it). Typically we will give a milliliter (~1/4 teaspoon) as needed. This will aid to soothe his throat and settle any upper airway related coughing. Alternatively, you can try Robitussin DM. If you choose to use this one, I would just say to make sure to use this preparation and avoid any containing other medications like Paracetamol, Acetaminophen, Pseudoephedrine, Phenylephrine or caffeine (since these can be toxic). If it also contains Guaifenesin that is okay. Dose-wise, we tend to give this as 1/2 (half) teaspoon per 10lbs of the dog's body weight every 8-12 hours. These will help soothe throat irritation and can help at least decrease the retching and throat irritation. As well, it can help to offer soft foods to just avoid any more throat irritation or abrasion.**
Overall, his signs do sound like he has some irritation (possibly related to something he ate) in his throat. That said, considering the rest of his history, we'd not expect something to be stuck here. Therefore, if he is more settled, we'd just want to use the above supportive care at this stage. Otherwise, if he seems very irritated in his throat, then we'd need to consider having his vet examine him and potentially start him on a gastroprotectant to coat his throat and a dog safe anti-inflammatory to soothe any inflammation and reduce any soreness for him. And at the same time, they can check to see if this slowed heart rate is still ongoing or if it has elevated once he gets moving.
Please take care,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes that time it was there! Thank you so much! We will do that!
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Perfect, I am glad you can see it now. :D
You are very welcome & all the best to you both,
Dr. B.