My Puppy Randomly Gags

I was a typical kid. When I didn’t get what I wanted, I went to my grandmother. Don’t get me wrong I loved my parents. But I had a special bond with my grandmother. And since she lived in a small apartment behind us I was usually with her.

One day ‘Granny’ as I called her got her a puppy. I was about 12 and the puppy and I quickly became as bonded as me and Granny. The puppy was a Miniature Dachshund. His name was Rodchester.

I spent most nights with Granny and since she was already right there mom let me. Rodchester immediately chooses to bunk with me. I was in heaven. It still remains one of my fondest childhood memories.

Late one night, or early one morning as it were, Rodchester for whatever reason let out a sound in which I was convinced was some animal mating call. Rodchester had randomly ‘gagged’ himself in his sleep.

Thinking nothing of the past night’s events I went back to Granny’s and at some point during the night…another mating call. Roschester was a random gagger.

Turned out, Rodchester had an inflamed larynx. And being the little yapper he was, he wasn’t getting any better. In fact, his bark sounded like he had a chest cold and the gagging got worse and worse.

Again I will use true life experience to dive into today’s issue. My puppy randomly gags, what should I do?

Road trip!…To the vet

If your puppy should happen to randomly gag, it’s probably they swallowed something the wrong way. Or they overloaded their mouth with food and tried to swallow it all at once. Either way, one random gag is nothing for concern.

Should the pup happen to gag within two hours of the first gag? Start closely monitoring him. If he is still gagging after 48 to 72 hours or at any time shows signs of labored breathing, get to the vet.

The vet exam

Your vet may be able to make the proper diagnosis during his initial exam. If not, he made need to take some x-rays or do further testing.

Either way, the good news is your puppy will get through his gag stage. It could be a simply strained larynx from barking(Rodchester)or bronchial pneumonia or laryngitis.

If the case is of pneumonia or laryngitis there are several ways your vet can make your puppy feel a whole lot better. And fast. Puppies have tiny systems, they may get sick real quick but they can get well even faster!

Other gagging issues

If you still have just the random gag occurring, take note of when it happens. If the puppy gags occasionally while eating it could be his gag reflex.

The gag reflex is as much motion as it is a muscle. Certain ways the gag reflex could be activated may include the puppy’s eating habits. Puppies are very hearty eaters. They barely get one mouth full swallowed before they begin chomping on the next one.

If your puppy has just swallowed a mouth full and quickly opens his mouth to get the next load, he may be gagging on his food. The food in his throat is making him gag because his mouth is already opening again.

Puppies usually get the idea to slow down a bit when eating. Not much, but just enough.

Problems with his esophagus

The pup’s esophagus might not be large enough in diameter to handle the amount of food he is eating. When he begins to eat the esophagus begins to back up. When the food backs up to the gag reflex he will gag very harshly. And usually vomit his food.

The vet can perform a simple esophagus stretch. It’s the same type of procedure many humans have to undergo as well.

If my puppy ate a lot, I would be concerned about the esophagus stretch. Does it mean he will eat more if he can hold more from a larger esophagus? Just asking.

Irregular tongue muscles

The puppy may gag in response to any number of issues from his mouth to his stomach. If your puppy has underdeveloped or otherwise irregular tongue muscles, it could be the cause.

The muscles under the tongue cause the tongue to remain in its proper place. If those muscles are weak or otherwise irregular, they may allow the tongue to slide back against the gag reflex. Then we all know what happens.

Your puppy could just randomly gag one time and cause the muscle to be strained. The random gag then could possibly lead to a problem gagger.

If these muscles just need a bit of exercise to maintain their strength here’s a good one to try, flavorful too!

Take one teaspoon of peanut butter on your index finger. Open the puppy’s mouth and rake the peanut butter under the roof of his mouth. All of the furious lickings will whip those tongue muscles right in place! If a whole teaspoon feels like a bit too much try a smaller amount.

Also, try some small rawhide chew toys. These are great tools for the muscles in the mouth.

Gag prevention

There are some good plain old common sense approach ideas to be proactive in your puppy’s gagging. Some ideas to keep in mind are:

  • Make sure his food isn’t getting lodged in his throat. The smaller the pieces the better for a puppy. Adult food is out of the question. He will gag just trying to get his mouth around the large pieces
  • Absolutely no bones, large small or otherwise. There will be plenty of time for bones later on.
  • Keep all small toys cleaned up and out of reach of the puppy

These are just good common sense ideas to help prevent gagging.

In conclusion

Aside from being a rather scary issue, gagging just randomly should be no cause for concern. Just keep a close eye on all of the cuteness and get him medical attention if needed.

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