Gagging and dry heaving in dogs: A complete guide

Gagging and dry heaving in dogs

Some health conditions require the full attention of your veterinarian. If your dog does not get the necessary treatment, it may lead to some fatal diseases. One of these conditions is dog gagging and dry heaving. Here I am going to provide you a detailed guide about gagging and dry heaving in dogs.

What is gagging in dogs?

Gagging and heaving is a condition in which a dog has high-pitch sound from the mouth and shows sensation of vomiting but cannot vomit. In some cases, it will result in vomiting. This is an emergency, and you need to consult with your veterinarian.

What are the causes of gagging and dry heaving in dogs?

  • Respiratory and gastrointestinal problems cause gagging.
  • Kennel cough is a bacterial disease caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica and results in coughing, followed by gagging.
  • Laryngeal paralysis is also one of the causes of gagging. Sometimes larynx does not close properly and this allows some food to go into the larynx and your dog show signs of retching and heaving.
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus in which the stomach becomes distended with gas and result in the twisting of the stomach, and your dog shows the feeling of retching and gagging.
  • Bilious volvulus syndrome is caused when the stomach is empty, and bile does not perform the proper function of digestion and absorption of nutrients. As a result, sometimes a yellow color vomit will result.
  • Bloat can also cause retching. Gastroenteritis can also lead to the retching and gagging of your dog. Dogs may heave due to some food allergy.

What is the difference between vomiting, coughing, and gagging?

In case of vomiting, contents will come out of the mouth. In coughing, thick or thin mucus will come. But in case of gagging, nothing comes out of the mouth. Gagging of dogs usually happens with coughing.

Treatment of gagging and dry heaving in dogs

  • Always consult with your veterinarian. Treatment depends on the etiology of gagging and dry heaving.
  • If it is because of a bacterial cause, then there will be antibiotics available.
  • If it is due to gastric dilatation complex, then surgery should be performed to untwist the stomach.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication is done in the case of laryngeal paralysis. If the problem is severe, then your dog is a candidate for surgery.
  • Proper therapy of electrolytes is the way to go.
  • Prokinetic can also be given to regulate gastric motility.

How to prevent gagging and dry heaving in dogs?

  • Please provide a suitable environment for your dog, give him adequate rest, and provide a clean environment.
  • Maintain proper hydration of your dog.
  • Give him balanced feed like plain carbohydrates to avoid any metabolic disorder. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving food.
  • Regularly check your dog to the veterinarian to avoid any pathological condition.
  • It would help if you Properly vaccinated your dog to prevent any pathological condition.


Above is the detailed guide about gagging and dry heaving in dogs. Sometimes, dry heaving and gagging proceed to vomit, so proper electrolytes therapy should be given. I hope you like the article, feel free to ask questions.

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Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and a passionate blogger. He loves to write about pets, especially dogs. His aim is to educate and guide pet owners. Feel free to ask him any questions.

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