What Can Provoke Difficulty of Swallowing in Dog?


If it is difficult for a dog to swallow, then it is a matter of time before it affects the general health. At first, this symptom may be perceived as a slight damage that will go away by itself, but according to statistics, only new problems are added further. Namely, that the pet refuses to eat, and later on from water.

Not to mention the situation when difficulty swallowing may be the first sign of a foreign body entering the nasopharynx or the development of an allergic reaction that can lead to suffocation. The most common causes of swallowing problems in a dog are:

Foreign Object

The most dangerous reason, as it can lead to death of a pet through suffocation. Any object that can block the respiratory tract can act as a foreign body.

difficult to swallow in dog

Usually these are large bones, pieces of toys, wood chips. Small glasses, splinters and bones (mainly from fish) can also dig into the laryngeal mucosa. Every time you swallow saliva, food or water, your dog will feel pain. Such foreign bodies do not threaten the life of the animal, but they cause a lot of discomfort. And in the presence of deep cuts, there is a risk of a suppurative process.

In most cases, the masters themselves manage to extract the irritant with tweezers. It is important to pre-treat it with an antibacterial solution before carrying out the procedure.

In difficult cases, you cannot do without the help of a surgeon, since an X-ray will have to be done to detect a splinter, and special tools will be needed to extract it.

Dental Problems

They usually begin after 10 years. At risk are brachycephalic breeds, which always have problems with the bite, as well as dogs that have not undergone a procedure for brushing teeth from calculus and plaque during their life.

dog trouble swallowing

Even one problem tooth can cause the pet to stop chewing food thoroughly (due to pain during squeezing of the jaw), which will definitely affect the swallowing process. Large fractions (if it is dry food) will irritate the laryngeal mucosa and cause significant discomfort while swallowing unchewed pieces. In such situations, one cannot do without visiting the dentist (and in most cases of removing a problem tooth).

The situation is even more difficult with the gums, which periodically become inflamed, swollen and bleed. If this process is not taken under control in time, serious problems with chewing and swallowing food can appear, which can ultimately lead to a complete refusal to eat. This can be observed when abscesses appear on the gums and fistulous passages, from which pus and blood are released.

Gum problems are solved by removing tartar and treating problem teeth. In rare cases, all teeth have to be removed. Therefore, make it a rule to brush your pet’s teeth regularly and provide him with sufficient solid food.


dog difficult to swallow

Also mainly the problem of adult dogs after the age of 10 years. Rarely is of a benign nature. Almost all formations diagnosed in the larynx region have a malignant course.

The process can develop over several years without showing itself in any way. It is possible to suspect that something is amiss only when it hurts the dog to swallow and refuses to eat. To make a diagnosis, an X-ray of the neck and lungs in two projections is required.

To determine the nature of the formation, a biopsy and cytological examination are required. In the absence of metastases or a benign course of education (fibropapilloma), the tumor is surgically removed with the capture of healthy tissue.

With sarcomas and lymphomas, the prognosis is cautious, with lipomas and fibropapilloma, it is favorable.


A blow, fall, accident, or quarrel with other animals can lead to a bruise on the dog’s neck. Even a small bruise in the larynx region can lead to difficulty swallowing.

A distinctive feature of injuries is that they usually go away within 3-5 days without any therapeutic measures.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

Pugs, English and French Bulldogs are very often diagnosed with chronic granulomatous lesions of the larynx, which manifests itself in the form of difficulty swallowing, noisy breathing and shortness of breath.

Here you need to understand that due to the characteristics of the breed, lifelong supportive therapy will be needed. In severe cases, they resort to plastic surgery of the soft palate.

Based on all of the above, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that difficulty swallowing can become a serious threat to the life of a dog if this symptom is not given due attention or ignored. In severe cases, a tracheostomy may be necessary to prevent the animal from suffocating.

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