There are many reasons an esophagus can have narrowing, some of which are correctable with medication or surgery, and some of which have a much more grim prognosis, like cancer. It can also be caused by something as simple as a foreign object that the dog swallowed that got caught in the throat.
Esophageal narrowing can affect dogs of any breed or age. If you suspect that there really is a narrowing of the esophagus and it's not just a case of the dog getting overexcited at the prospect of getting a treat and wolfing the treat down, you will need to make an appointment with your vet to have some diagnostic tests done to determine the cause of the narrowing. If your vet feels there is, indeed, a narrowing, they will need to do a barium contrast X-ray. This will show any abnormalities in the esophagus if they exist.
Is your sister's dog showing any other symptoms besides choking on treats? Does she vomit frequently? Is there any weight loss or is the dog reluctant to allow anyone to touch her neck or throat?
Please don't panic needlessly. A narrowing of the esophagus usually has many more symptoms than simply choking when given a treat. The act of swallowing ANYTHING would cause the same reaction, and your dog would be showing other signs such as yelping when swallowing or when the throat is massaged. The dog would be losing weight because the pain would prevent them from even wanting to eat their regular meals, and you don't say that normal meals are the problem, but treats are.
Many dogs get so excited over receiving treats that they tend to bolt them down so that they can get another one more quickly. This bolting could be what is making her might be the problem. What kind of treats are these that your sister is feeding her dog? Maybe have your sister try to break the treats into small pieces before giving them to the dog, or have her switch to a treat that CAN be torn or broken into smaller pieces before feeding them.
If the dog isn't losing weight or vomiting or acting differently in any other way, I think I would try to just keep a close eye on her and when it's time for the next well visit at the vet I would bring it up and have the doctor check it out. If, however, it becomes such a problem that it is affecting her ability to eat or drink anything at all, or if she begins to lose weight because she cannot swallow her meals or she is vomiting everything up as soon as she eats, then naturally this becomes an emergency and an appointment needs to be made with the vet ASAP.
Please post back and let us know some more of the particulars that are going on with the dog. Thanks!
My dog is inclined to choke on treats too. In her case, it is exactly what Ghilly has just explained....my dog gets excited, tries to wolf it down quickly (in the hope of getting more) and if the treat is a large biscuit or chew, then she is inclined to choke on it. It happened a couple of times, and I learned that I cannot give my dog any treat without first breaking it into small pieces! I dare not give her things like Dentastix (she tries to swallow too much of it at once) and the worst things to give her are anything with "corners" on it as it will not go down and sticks in her throat (obviously!)
I also have to advise anyone else about this as it's easy for a friend to give a large piece of some food without thinking. Most dogs chew food properly! My dog wolfs her food down -I think this stems from her distant past before she came to live with me, when she was fed erratically, so she learned that when food was about, to get as much down as possible in the shortest possible time! and I have to be careful with her.
But with your dog...is her usual food moist or dry? Or a combination of both? You see, if she gets used to moistened food, which she can swallow quicker, and then she is given a dry treat, she may eat the treat in the same way she eats her food, and that's why it sticks? -Just a thought....
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.