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Swallowing Difficulties in Dogs

4 min read



Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the dysphagia. If your dog's problems with eating are being caused by an abnormality of the mouth (oral dysphagia), you will need to feed your dog by placing a ball of food at the back of its throat and helping it to swallow. Patients suffering from pharyngeal or cricopharyngeal dysphagia may be helped to eat by lifting the head and neck during swallowing. If your dog cannot maintain a good body weight, your veterinarian may opt to insert a stomach tube. If a mass or foreign body is present due to your dog swallowing it, surgery may be necessary to remove it.


Living and Management


It is essential to keep your dog at a good body weight while it undergoes treatment. If your dog does not have a stomach tube placed and you are feeding it by hand, be sure to give it several small meals a day while it is sitting upright. You will need to support your dog in an upright position like this for 10 to 15 minutes after every meal to prevent aspiration pneumonia, which occurs when food is inhaled into the lungs.


Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia include depression, fever, pus-like nasal discharge, coughing, and/or problems breathing. If your dog should ever show any of these signs, call your veterinarian immediately and/or take your dog to an emergency veterinary clinic for immediate treatment.



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