Food & HealthTips & Facts

Why Does My Chihuahua Sound Like Hes Choking?

Do you have a Chihuahua that suddenly started making strange noises? Or does your Chihuahua sound like he’s choking? Pet owners might just get alarmed by such loud choking sounds. If your dog had ever started coughing unexpectedly when you were at home while there was nothing in its mouth, you may pick it up and take it right away to the nearest veterinary clinic, right?

Just like us humans, dogs also experience occasional bouts of coughing and gagging. However, unlike us, these episodes may signal a more serious underlying common health problem in our furry friends. So, why does my Chihuahua sound like he’s choking? Let’s find out.

What Does a Choking Sound Like?

A choking sound coming from your Chihuahua may be described as a honking, gagging, retching, or coughing sound. It is usually accompanied by your dog pawing at its mouth or rubbing its face on the ground. Your Chihuahua may also appear to be struggling to breathe. When to worry? If your Chihuahua is making choking sounds and it is accompanied by other symptoms such as:

🐾Difficulty Breathing

If you observe that your Chihuahua is making an excessive effort to breathe while making a choking sound, this is already a cause for concern. Dogs typically pant to cool themselves down and regulate their body temperature. However, if your dog is panting excessively and appears to be struggling for breath, this may be a sign of other respiratory problems.

🐾Inability to Bark

If you’re chihuahua sound like he’s choking and having a hard time producing its usual sound, this may indicate that your Chihuahua cannot bark. While it is normal for dogs to have a hoarse bark from time to time, if your dog’s bark sounds muffled or wheezy, this could be a sign of trouble.

🐾Pawing at the Mouth

Pawing at their mouth while making a choking sound is your dog’s way of trying to remove whatever is causing the obstruction. If you see your dog doing this, it is best to check its mouth immediately to see if anything is blocking its airway.

🐾Unusual Behavior

You can tell something is wrong with your Chihuahua if it exhibits unusual behavior. If your Chihuahua sound like he’s choking, and you also observed that it becomes lethargic, this may be a sign of a health problem. Lethargy in dogs can be caused by various factors such as pain, illness, or even poisoning.

🐾Excessive Drooling or Drooling With Blood

Do you see blood while hearing your Chihuahua making a choking sound? If so, this may be a sign that your dog is choking on its own vomit or has swallowed a poisonous substance. Blood in the saliva may also indicate an injury to the mouth or throat. Also, if it’s accompanied by drooling, this may indicate an obstruction in the esophagus.

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🐾Loss of Consciousness

If your Chihuahua loses consciousness, this is already a medical emergency. If you see your Chihuahua making a choking sound and suddenly becomes unconscious, bring it to the nearest veterinary clinic immediately, as this may indicate a severe obstruction in the airway or a possibly serious health problem.

 Chihuahua Sound Like He’s Choking? Possible Reasons

 Chihuahua Sound Like He's Choking? Possible Reasons

A Chihuahua honking like a goose might appear silly, but it may indicate a serious condition. If your Chihuahua is making a choking sound, it is important to take note of other accompanying symptoms to determine the possible cause. Some of the common reasons why your Chihuahua may sound like he’s choking are the following:

👉Stuck Foreign Object

Chihuahuas are curious creatures and tend to put anything they can find in their mouth. If your Chihuahua has a habit of chewing on things, there is a possibility that it may have swallowed something that is obstructing the airway. Common objects that can get stuck in a dog’s throat are bones, balls, toys, sticks, and stones. Other symptoms include pawing at the mouth, drooling, and difficulty swallowing.

👉Toilet Bowl Water Aspiration

Did you know that dogs can also aspirate on water? If your Chihuahua likes to drink from the toilet bowl, there is a possibility that it may have inhaled some water into the lungs. It is more common in small breeds of dogs such as the Chihuahua. Dogs who aspirate on water may exhibit symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

👉Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by various viruses and bacteria. It is often spread in places with many dogs, such as shelters, boarding kennels, and daycares. Kennel cough can cause a harsh, dry cough that may sound like your Chihuahua is trying to clear its throat.

There seem to be several microorganisms that may cause this illness, but Bordetella bronchiseptica is the primary factor in these instances. Because of this, Bordetellosis is another name for kennel cough. But remember that the sickness is often also caused by a viral antecedent. Other symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, and fever.

👉Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is a condition that affects small breeds of dogs such as the Chihuahua. It is caused by weakening the cartilage that supports the trachea or windpipe. This condition can cause a honking sound when your dog breathes in and out. Other symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

👉Reverse Sneezing

Reverse sneezing is a condition that is characterized by rapid, repeated inhalations through the nose. Allergies, dust, or pollen often cause it. Chihuahuas with a reverse sneezing episode may make a honking sound and extend their neck and head while trying to take in air. Other symptoms include wheezing and snorting.

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Pneumonia is a serious lung infection that viruses, bacteria, or fungi can cause. It is often characterized by a honking sound when your dog breathes. Other symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and fever.

👉Heart Disease

Heart disease is a general term that covers various conditions that affect the heart. Pulmonic stenosis is one type of heart disease that can cause a honking sound. This condition is characterized by narrowing the pulmonary valve, which prevents blood from flowing properly to the lungs. Other symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and exercise intolerance.

As you can see, several potential causes for your Chihuahua’s honking sound. If your dog is exhibiting any other symptoms, it is important to take him to the vet so he can be properly diagnosed and treated.

First Aid For Chihuahua Sound Like He’s Choking

Dogs commonly choke, which is a sad truth, and Chihuahua is no exception. If your Chihuahua starts to make a strange noise that sounds like he’s choking, then it is important to take action immediately. Here’s how to help your Chihuahua if you think he’s choking:

❗Restrain Your Chihuahua Gently 

Never choke or muzzle your Chihuahua. A panicked Chihuahua who is having trouble breathing is already on edge. Put your Chihuahua on its side whenever possible. Additionally, it’s advisable to get assistance in holding down your Chihuahua so it can stay calm and won’t struggle.

❗Perform The Heimlich Maneuver 

Gently open your Chihuahuas mouth as soon as you can. If you see an object lodged in your Chihuahua’s throat, attempt to remove it with your fingers. If you can’t reach the object since a Chihuahua is too small for you to get a good grip, then you’ll need to perform the Heimlich Maneuver.

The Heimlich Maneuver is a first-aid technique that can be used on humans and animals alike when choking. The goal is to dislodge the object blocking the airway so that the person or animal can breathe again.

To perform the Heimlich Maneuver on a Chihuahua:

  1. Hold the dog in your lap with its back against your stomach.
  2. Make a fist with one hand and position it slightly above the navel.
  3. Grab the fist with your other hand and press into the abdomen with a quick, upward thrust.
  4. Repeat this process until the object is dislodged from the throat.

❗Perform CPR If Necessary 

If your Chihuahua’s breathing stops, perform CPR. CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a life-saving technique used on humans and animals alike.

To perform CPR on a Chihuahua:

  1. Place the dog on its right side on a flat surface.
  2. Place your hand on the dog’s chest and give 3-5 quick compressions.
  3. Tilt the head back and lift the chin to open the airway.
  4. Take a breath and place your mouth over the nose and mouth of the dog.
  5. Give two quick breaths.
  6. Repeat this process until the Chihuahua starts breathing on its own or until you are too exhausted to continue.
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❗Get To The Vet As Soon as Possible 

Once you have performed first aid, you must get to the vet as soon as possible. Even if your Chihuahua starts breathing on its own, he may still need medical attention. Heart disease, pneumonia, and other respiratory problems can cause a honking sound when your dog breathes. If your dog is exhibiting any other symptoms, it is important to take him to the vet so he can be properly diagnosed and treated.

How to Avoid This Chihuahua Sound Like He’s Choking

There are things you can do to avoid this situation. Taking preventive measures can help you prevent a chihuahua sound like he’s choking from happening in the first place. Here are some tips to avoid this situation:

✔️Be Wary Of Toys 

Toys are often the culprit when it comes to Chihuahua choking. Be mindful of the toys you give to your Chihuahua and make sure they are an appropriate size. Avoid giving your Chihuahua small toys that can easily be swallowed or chewed into pieces. Bones are another common choking hazard for Chihuahuas. Never give your Chihuahua a bone to chew on unless you are sure it is safe. Raw bones are particularly dangerous and should be avoided.

Also, never leave your Chihuahua unsupervised when it is eating. It is especially important if eating something that can be a choking hazard, such as bones or small toys. If you must leave the room, make sure to put the food away so that he cannot access it.

✔️Be Careful With Food 

Chihuahuas are notorious for being picky eaters. It can make it difficult to find foods that they will eat. However, it is essential to be careful with the food you give to your Chihuahua. Avoid giving your Chihuahua table scraps or anything else that could be a choking hazard. Stick to dog food or small treats that are designed for dogs.

When in doubt, err on the side of caution and avoid giving your Chihuahua anything that could potentially be a choking hazard.

✔️Monitor Your Chihuahua’s Health 

Another way to prevent your Chihuahua from making the choking sound is to monitor its health. Take your Chihuahua to the vet for regular checkups and vaccinations. It will help you catch any potential health problems early on.

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In addition, pay attention to your Chihuahua’s behavior. If you notice that your dog is having difficulty breathing or has started making a choking sound, take him to the vet right away. These could be signs of a serious health problem.

✔️Always Clean Up After Your Chihuahua 

Choking is not the only danger of leaving food or toys out. Leaving food or toys around can also attract pests like rats or cockroaches. These pests can carry diseases that can harm your Chihuahua.

To avoid this, always clean up after your Chihuahua. Put away his food and water when he is done eating. Pick up any toys or bones that it has left out. Sweep up any crumbs or food that has been dropped on the floor.

✔️Remove Any Irritants

Since an irritant can also cause a choking sound, removing anything that could potentially irritate your Chihuahua’s throat is important. It includes smoke, dust, pollen, and other airborne irritants. If you live in an area with a lot of smog or pollution, consider investing in an air purifier. It’s also worth noting that if a Chihuahua has sensitive skin, it may be allergic to specific chemicals in the doggie cologne or shampoo used on your dog. In such cases, you’ll want to discontinue using any products that may be contributing to the irritation.

Other Weird Noises Chihuahuas Make

A kid handling chihuahua

Chihuahuas are known for making all sorts of strange noises. In addition to the choking noise, there are a few other noises that Chihuahuas are known for making. These noises are usually nothing to worry about and are simply caused by how their throats are shaped.

But for you to be familiar with all the noises your Chihuahua might make, so you can determine which ones are cause for concern, here are a few other noises Chihuahuas make:


When chasing prey, Chihuahuas create a loud, drawn-out, throaty barking sound known as “baying.” Whenever your Chihuahua feels a danger, such as an unknown person intruding on its territory, it will start baying to alert you and try to scare off the intruder.


Chihuahuas also growl when they are threatened or need to protect something important to them, such as food, a toy, or their owner. If your Chihuahua is growling, it is trying to warn you or the person it perceives as a threat that it is not happy and will defend itself if necessary.


Yipping is a high-pitched, brief barking sound that Chihuahuas make when they are excited or want to get your attention. For example, your Chihuahua may yip when it sees you coming home from work or when you pull out its favorite toy.

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If you hear your Chihuahua gagging, check it out since they might be choking on something. Gagging is a reflex meant to clear the throat of any foreign objects. It is different from coughing since it is not accompanied by hacking or productive mucus coughing up. This is a cause for alarm since your Chihuahua could potentially be choking on something.

⬤Snorting and Reverse Sneezing

Snorting and reverse sneezing are two other Weird Noises Chihuahuas make that are usually nothing to worry about. The soft palate causes these sounds, the fleshy tissue in the back of the roof of the mouth being irritated. It can happen when your Chihuahua inhales too much dust, pollen, or other irritants.

⬤Whining and Whimpering

Additional Chihuahua sounds used mostly for communicating include whining and whimpering. A whine may have a variety of meanings, much like a bark. When a chihuahua is in pain, afraid, or stressed, it might whine or whimper. If your Chihuahua starts whining out of the blue, check in with them to see if something might be wrong.


Like humans, your Chihuahua may sigh when they are tired, anxious, sad, or bored. If your Chihuahua has been sighing a lot lately, take note of any changes in their behavior or routine that might be causing them stress.


Moaning is similar to whining but is usually a little longer and lower-pitched. Like a whining, moaning can communicate a range of emotions, from happiness to discomfort. If your Chihuahua starts moaning more than usual, check-in with them to see if they might be in pain or if something might be wrong.

Frequently Asked Questions

①Do you need emergency veterinary care for your choking Chihuahua?

It’s essential to take your Chihuahua to the veterinarian as soon as possible if it is badly choking. When you get there, your veterinarian can determine if your Chihuahua is really choking or just having respiratory problems. If your Chihuahua is truly choking, your veterinarian will be able to clear its airway and save its life. But if you can perform the Heimlich maneuver on your Chihuahua before going to the veterinarian, you may be able to dislodge the object and save its life.

②What is the aftercare for a choking Chihuahua?

After your vet has ruled out the cause for your Chihuahua’s choking sound and has instructed you on what to do, you can take your Chihuahua home. If your veterinarian has determined that your Chihuahua has a reverse sneeze or is just gagging, no aftercare is required. But if Chihuahuas have been choking and had an object removed from its airway, it will need to be monitored for the next 24 to 48 hours to ensure that it doesn’t aspirate (inhale) any liquids or food into their lungs.

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③What to do if your Chihuahua is trying to cough something up?

If your dog is trying to cough something up and you can see it, try to encourage coughing by patting its back firmly. And if the object is small enough, your Chihuahua may be able to expel it on its own. If your dog struggles to breathe or the object is large, take them to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

④Can a Chihuahua get kennel cough without being around other dogs?

Yes, your Chihuahua can get kennel cough without being around other dogs. Kennel cough is a respiratory infection caused by different viruses and bacteria. It is spread through the air, so your Chihuahua can get it just by being in the same area as an infected dog.

⑤Is tracheal collapse common in chihuahuas?

Yes, tracheal collapse is a relatively common condition in chihuahuas. The cartilage that supports the trachea (windpipe) weakens and collapses. This can cause your Chihuahua to make a honking sound when it breathes. Tracheal collapse is usually seen in older dogs but can occur at any age. If your Chihuahua has tracheal collapse, it will need to see a veterinarian for treatment.

⑥What can you do about chihuahua reverse sneezing?

Reverse sneezing is a condition that causes your Chihuahua to make a honking sound when it inhales. It is usually caused by allergies or irritants in the air, such as dust or pollen. If your Chihuahua has reverse sneezing, you can try to stop the attack by massaging its throat or covering its nose. If the attacks are severe or happen frequently, you should take your Chihuahua to see a veterinarian.

Final Thoughts

If Chihuahua sound like he’s choking, it’s important to take him to the vet as soon as possible. There are several different conditions that can cause your Chihuahua to make a choking sound, and some of them can be serious. Your veterinarian will be able to determine what is causing your Chihuahua to choke and provide treatment. It is best to err on the side of caution than to risk your Chihuahua’s health.