Dogs Community
10.3k Members
419792 tn?1208270826

Swallowing Hard

Last night before bed my dog (shes 1 year old) randomly started swallowing really hard like something was stuck in her jaw/throat. We checked and there was nothing that we could see, but she was constantly licking her lips/paws/floor, swallowing hard (u could feel it in her stomach) and her throat seems to almost have a swollen lump in it....it probably lasted 10 minutes, after she had a drink of water everything was fine.
Then the same thing happened again today about 30 mins after she had eaten her food (same dog food shes always eaten) she didn't swallow anything, she was playing with one of her toys (i was watching her) she spit it out and started the same behaviour. I thought she was choking on something from the toy so I immediately checked her air way, her jaw was hard to open but i got it open pulled her tongue (it was jammed against the back so u had to pull it down to see) so we could check her airway and it was clear. I checked her toy and there was no parts off of it. So it seems like it just randomly started this time it lasted about an hour. Obviously I called the vet in this time, he advised me that "she probably has a bad taste in her mouth just to let her drink water, maybe give her a fave treat and make sure to check the house for objects on the floor she might be eating."
I was kinda annoyed with this answer but she had stopped so I got her to drink some more water and gave her a treat like he said. About 20 mins later, it starts again, she was sitting on my lap when it started, I know she didn't eat anything.  This time her breathing seemed harder. It seems to have stopped now, but obviously I'm pretty worried.
So any suggestions? Am I over-worrying?
37 Responses
679466 tn?1247006054
sure seems like something is not right.  Could be something lodged anywhere in back of her mouth or throat or even esophagus.  Could be an area of irritated tissue or ulceration.  Water helps sooth it temporarily.  

I'd suggest only canned food and in small amounts until you can get her to vet on Monday.  Plenty of cool water.  

Vet's will want to tranquilize her and probably do an endoscopic exam of track all the way to the stomach.  also may do both a plain x-ray as well as a contrast (barium swallow type) film.  this should find what is going on.  
Avatar universal
My dog, who is 10 months, just started having very similar symptoms yesterday.  He is swallowing hard, licking the ground a lot, it seems almost like he is dry heaving.  It starts up every few hours and last 10 - 30 mins.  I'm wondering if you ever found out what was happening with your dog?  I took our dog to the vet today and got xRay's done, but we need to go back tomorrow to do more testing.

Any feedback would be helpful.
Avatar universal
My dog is doing the same thing.  I took her to the vet before and they claimed it was an infection and i got antibiotics.  well that worked for a while but shes had this problem 3 or 4 more times since then so i feel like my 200 dollars was wasted.  Vets are like highway robbery over 100 dollars just to get them seen.  Its freaking ridiculous.   I search google to see if i can find whats wrong with my dog so i dont have to spend an enormous amount of money.... and what do you all say?  Take them to the vet.  DUH!!  i didnt need to search anything to find that answer.  Im looking for a different answer besides that because the vet doesnt work.  Why cant we get someone who really knows whats going on to answer this question.  From searching different sites it seems like a common problem yet the best answer i can get is to go to the vet. Come on people ANSWER the damn question i sure someone knows!
462827 tn?1333168952
Hello & welcome......I found this article for you...Hope it helps give you some ideas....

Canine Post-Nasal Drip: A Miserable Situation for Any Species
Filed under Dogs

Canine post nasal drip is a condition in which your dog's sinuses produce a vast excess of mucus, which then drains down the back of his or her throat instead of being passed into the nasal cavity where it can later be expelled. It's a frustrating condition that causes an almost constant sense of irritation in the back of the throat and in addition to increasing the likelihood of infections and sore throats, it can add a lot of stress to your dog's life that could cause him or her to act out in unusual and unwanted ways.

The number of potential causes of canine post nasal drip is vast. It can be instigated by basic respiratory diseases such as rhinitis and sinusitis, or it could develop as the result of trauma to the throat and sinuses such as acid reflux disease or a particularly bad instance of airway blockage. It's even possible for allergic reactions to food, medication, or something in the environment to cause canine post nasal drip to occur.

No matter the cause, the disease is rather easy to diagnose. There are certain clinical signs which you should be on the lookout for in your dog. These include constant swallowing in an attempt to get rid of the tickling sensation in the throat, congested airways that might lead to wheezing or a reduced tolerance to exercise. He or she might not eat with the same zest that he or she typically does because of a chronic sore throat that is often accompanied by uncontrollable fits of coughing. Lastly, persistent bad breath is a very good indicator that your dog is suffering from canine post nasal drip.

Treatment depends largely on the underlying cause of the condition. During the early stages of diagnosis, it's important to give plenty of fluids to your dog to help relieve congestion and dehydration. During this time, a large number of cultures and swabs will probably be taken from your dog's throat and nose in an attempt to more accurately understand what's causing his or her suffering.

If the cause is found to be a persistent infection of the sinus, then antibiotics are the usual course of action and are often very effective. Occasionally, a physical defect will result in the persistence of a post nasal drip and in these instances, regular nasal irrigation must be employed. Certain minor surgeries to re-route the flow of the excessive mucus might also be useful to your dog. If the cause is found to be allergic in nature, then the above steps might still be taken to relieve your dog's suffering while the allergy part of the disorder is treated independently with medications such as antihistamines and strong decongestants. Steroids have been used effectively in the past, but they are not recommended for anything more than short term usage.

While there is no real cure for canine post nasal drip, the disease can be very effectively managed by paying attention to your dog's environment and helping to isolate the central cause of the disorder. It may be that a simple lifestyle or diet change is all that's necessary to relieve his or her suffering.

See if any of this info. rings a bell.....Let us know...Karla
1630651 tn?1299734243
Re POST NASAL DRIP In DOGS,,,I live in Canada.My beagle has suffered with this for 2 yrs.  1 trip to vet & my questions were answered,,an allergy to ??,,,Anyways prednisone was given,,just a small dose which decreases the inflammation,,however when done prednisone about 4 months later we are back at square 1...Benadryl allergy works (child dose) & cool rooms..treat your dog as you would yourself,,try things that will help,,when they get this they get anxious because they don't understand what is wrong,,so have patience.They seem to try to eat anything that isn't tied down & i think this is because they think there is something stuck in their throat,,but there isn't its the drip down the throat that is irritating to them,,good luck all & if i discover any good remedy i will post,,,
2102522 tn?1333602951
THANK YOU FOR THE ARTICLE.  FINALLY A REAL ANSWER.  I do not use drugs on my dog unless critical, and no invasive activities either.   For me, This may  very well be the case for my Peekapoo, who because of the small nose may have this issue.  It has happened before but not as bad as tonight.  It freaked me out and she got even more nervous.  So she had some grass from the garden and without throwing up is now relaxed.  
As for the allergies, she sneezes and wheezes and can cough out stuff when i tap her on the back or side of her lungs.    I think it is time to get the air cleaners out , in Minnesota an early spring (by 2 months) is probably not helping her.  I will probably wash all her bedding and toys too and make sure the house is really clean just to be safe for her and us too.    
462827 tn?1333168952
Hello Mary & welcome.......If you can give more details about your girl, we may can help you farther......My first reaction to your post is what is called a "Reverse Sneeze".......But, with no description, it could be a number of things......Let us know & your welcome for the article.......Karla
Avatar universal
What's the source of this article on post nasal drip
462827 tn?1333168952
TerrificPets(Dot)com......Listed in the Learning Center Articles....
Avatar universal
Thanks so much!
I think you may be correct, as many other posts, we have take our dog Roxy to two different vets, with no clear diagnosis. She was on cyclocillin?  its a strong antibiotic, as she had what sounded like fluid around her heart and lungs. this helped with the excess fluid but the symtoms persist. One other thing she began having runny eyes at the same time, which follows your diagnosis.  Again thanks!  now off to find a solution!
Avatar universal
Many things can be the cause and breed and age of dog can help as some breeds are more likely to suffer from post nasal drip.  Acid reflux will cause nose or air licking and licking the ground, tooth/gum disease or mouth problems like a splinter can as well.  

Bacterial infections can cause the same symptom.  If there are other symptoms like joint pain eye discharge, rapid breathing I would look at tick induced problems like ehrlichsiosis, lyme disease and anaplasmosis.  
Avatar universal
My dog has bad reverse sneezez,and  hard swallowing, it makes me think there is a hair stuck in his throat. But then, he will lick up and eat anything he can find. Hair, fuzzies, cardboard, he will try to swallow blankets, rip and swallow sheet strips whole. Last nite i pulled a foot long strip out of his throat, still attached to the sheet, he was ripping n swallowing as much as he could, he also puked up two very big hair  balls. He only does this once in a while. Maybe once in 2 or 3 months. I just dont understand why. I put him in his kennel with nothing else. No fuzzies, not one hair if i can. Then i give him  1 tums,  and wait till he is done. 30 min to 1 hr.   This happens even after he has eaten. Anyone know why this happens to him?
Avatar universal
My Berneese Mountian Dog has had this same problem since he was a pup. First we thought he was ingesting bugs, frogs, or plants and seed pods from the yard, "We live in a forest". I have asked and asked my Vet, he checks my Oz out but never finds anything except maybe wax in his ears,
I have always thought it may be stomach irritation due to post nasal drip. "My dog has a long snout". But wasn't sure dogs got PND. The vet never verified this when questioning him. I now clean his ears out with a vet approved ear cleaning solution follow by Mometamax to help with dryness and itching I use one adult Benadral tab followed by an over the counter antacid like Tums It seems to clear it up after a few days. I also noticed when he has these symptoms my dog starts scratching his neck often. "He doesn't have fleas".
I do make sure he has a bit of food in his stomach before starting this program. During the winter and fall these symptoms seem more prevalent, Allergy Season for humans. My dog eats a high end dog food. We have tried many kinds he is on Blue, others caused him to have more symptoms and to throw up constantly
Avatar universal
My dog is going through this for the 1st time right now & I am FREAKING out but remaining calm for her. I too called my vet & he was asleep as it was 1:30 am, now is 2:50 am & it is still going on. She is so restless & licking everything, especially under the couches, dressers, tables & anywhere there is dust & crap. I have been trying everything to sooth her, excessively, but nothing works longer than a few minutes & then she needs to get up & pace & lick again. The vet said she is just irritated & likely got into something while out side for her bed time pee & that she is just going to puke. She has puked before but NEVER had behavior like this EVER!! She is licking the air too & when I looked on line, after my frustrations with the call to the vet, all I can see for very fitting answers is that she is having a seizure!!!! All the symptoms match & so do most al of yours & yet none of you seem to have mentioned that as something you found on line too? When I typed in excessive dog licking every link I had come up was about seizures!! I am so scared & I am praying this will soon stop...and never happen again & she is my sweet sweet girl, like my daughter & it is killing me seeing her go through this & I feel so helpless. The vet didn't seem like I was welcome to call back if it didn't stop or if she didn't puke & so I am torn as he is the only one on call for tonight, now 3 am & my vet doesn't open until 8 am. I hope you all found the answers you are looking for as too do I hope I do as well. All the best to you all & your sweet babies. My sweet Harley is so tired right now but she can't stop pacing & licking, almost 2 straight hours now.
Harley's Concerned Mommy...XOX My Sweet Girl
Avatar universal
I cannot thank you enough for this posting and all the others up to April 2013.  My bullterrier aged 1 year started with this symptoms last night and I was petrified - she off course more. Sincerely, Poppie and bully girl Bianca ♥
Avatar universal

My dog has just done the same as your pooch and it is very upsetting .... but... I don't think my dog is as upset as me (or you), He has had this before, about 6/7 times and the first time it happened I thought he was fitting.  I was absolutely panicking and thought I should phone the vet, but he got over it and I forgot all about it to be honest.  Today was definitely the worst episode he has had and he just wants to be next to me whilst it's going on, so I soothe him and talk in a low voice and just stroke him until it stops.He's asleep now, as I think it makes him tired, and lying very close to me, but that's ok with me.  I really don't think it's anything dangerous or nasty, but I would like to know what causes it.
Avatar universal
My dog is doing the same thing, I looked on your post for advice but it didn't I'm very worried about him. He keeps liking himself and the floor a lot and keeps scratching like crazy.This is not like him if you find out why your dog's are doing this wired behaviour please may you tell me. Thanks Alice
Avatar universal
He is not drinking either however much I try
Avatar universal
My lhasa x bichon has had an episode tonight,started bout 12.30am and shes just settling now,have read many forums including this 1 i think id go along with gastro/heartburn. Shes been swallowing hard and licking madly,she'l eat anything. Im going to invest in some Pepto Bismol tomorrow for indigestion and try that if theres a next time...i know its safe for dogs as my vet said to use it for my old dog when hs medication was causing tummy upsets. Shes fallen asleep now next to me on sofaim scared to move her incase it sets her off again....
6107910 tn?1379194797
hi, did you find out anything more on this?   This is the 3rd beagle that has this same thing - she had not had an espisode in awhile - last night and today she had one - today she had not gotten rid of it.   $111.00 later after another vet who said they never heard of this - anti-flamatory pills and told to take beneadryl.   Also said to try throat stuff for cat (fur balls)   Tried all 3 of these things - just got back from a walk and back to square one.     Allergies got to play in this.     After an episode she is always super congested.
Avatar universal
We have resigned that the vets don't know what this is,  I have Changed Oz's food to a raw diet and have seen huge improvements. Oz is still eating some kibble but only as a free range, if he might still be a bit hungry after eating the raw food. his coat is beautiful he is itching less he still has some post nasal drip. he has not had an attack all summer. We are heading into the fall season and Oz's ears are itching again. and he is barking at nothing. This tells me he needs to have his ears cleaned out and maybe a course of a week or so on the Benadral. Oz no longer has massive attacks but much milder attacks, that include licking the air. I put him on Benadral immediately when this happens. I check and clean his ears and this goes away.
So my conclusion is that dog food companies have started putting things in the food to help dogs such as joint remedies, eye health, ect. but either the amount of chemical is too high or some dogs are just allergic to what ever this chemical is. A little side bar note I tried to take a joint health remedy for myself, I got a form of hives. I am allergic to something in this product. Maybe dogs can be too
I am finding after trying many dog foods for my dog Oz's problem remained. Some worse, some not as bad. this could be mold in the food or chemicals. Many of the dog foods I have tried are high end and all of them have had a recalls at some time or another. Each for different things. So trusting dog food companies totally may not be an option. Even if you start a raw program one of your ingredients could get recalled but I think you have a better chance with making the food yourself. Each course of dog food I that I make I add another ingredient. Example: First I started with ground meat, hamburger. The next batch I add Sweet potatoes, next batch I add green beens to the other ingredients, then turkey on up to where we are at now. Hamburger, turkey,sweet potato, green beens or peas, carrots,apples, spinach, arugula.yogurt, ground flax seed and flax seed oil. Soon I can add dark meats, and bone meats and organic vitiamins to his diet and he will be off kibble. start slow so you can see if there is any improvements or problems and you dog can ease into the diet without many problems The cost is about the same as high end kibble.
Oz still has bad breath even though we brush his teeth. I can assume that the kibble is still affecting his sinuses. I assume the worse the breath, the worse the problem. I have notice if Oz is more hungry and eats more kibble he has more problems.
I am not a doctor, Doctors seem to be baffled by this, as am I, but I am seeing improvements. My dog has no longer stopped eating he loves his food.  his weight has improved. In fact I was away for two weeks and my husband told me Oz never stopped eating while I was away. This is a first with this dog, who pines away for me when I leave him. I recommend that you start slowly looking at each thing your dog is eating. Oz is no longer on any chewable teeth bones. Instead he is on a real raw cow bone. We saw the biggest improvement when we removed all of these from his diet. Even though many were made in America some of the ingredients came from elsewhere. sticks, raw bones and made in America rope toys are all good options. By the way Chobani yogurt was recalled 2 weeks ago the recall did not include the yogurt I had used in making Oz's food last month. Whew! It just goes to show you nothing in the food supply is safe. I make a month and a half supply. I make the food divide it into 1/2 cup patties freeze them separately on a cookie sheets Place the patties when frozen in a week supply baggy. I take out two paddies every evening and Oz get one in the morning one at night. you have other options like trying different dog foods, the more pure the food the better. This does not mean you have to by more expensive food unless you have tried all the ones in the same price bracket and have had no luck, move up a price point and try these. I hope this helps you, this is what has helped me so far I will write further if I see any change. good luck
Avatar universal
I just took my dog out for a walk this evening and she started this hard swallowing as if she has something stuck in her throat.  I could not see anything.  She is breathing fine.  It is cold out tonight, maybe 33 - 36 degrees.  She wears a harness where the leash hooks on the back.  She walked with our beagle.  Both walk side by side.  I couldn't tell if she ate anything off the ground.  She just turned 2 years old on Oct. 28th.  She is perfectly healthy and spry and active.  

When I got her home, she stuck close to me.  Still swallowing hard.  I gave her some soft treats and she drank a little water.  She is sticking close to my wife and me.  My wife just took her down to the yard to see if she would eat some grass.  She did not do anything but sit there.

They just came and she is still swallowing.  She is alert, looking around, tail wags to normal stimulus.  We are going to give her a milk bone and see if that does anything.

Like posts above, I hate to take her to the vet only to get a high dollar bill and no diagnosis or solution.  She is eating her milkbone now. This swallowing thing is weird.  It just started out of the blue on the walk.  Now going on 25 minutes.

She does not look to be in distress.  It is me and my wife who are distressed. Thought it seems that she is aware that the swallowing is not pleasant.  If she is doing this in the morning, I will take her to the vet.  It is now 9:51 PM ET.  I would be so happy if she vomited or something.

Avatar universal
I feel so relieved that I have found this board.  I have been dealing with the hard swallowing for 2.5 years with my poodle mix..to be honest I think it might be the reason he ended up at the shelter.  His episodes sometimes last 24 hours and they are quite bothersome to him.  I have spent well over 5,000.00 trying to diagnose this with three different vets.  He sees an acupuncturist bc I was so desperate for some sort of relief.  She actually did put him on some herbs that seem to make a slight difference but nobody has been able to solve this.  I think they all thought I was nuts until I brought a video of him doing it-finally they realized what I was talking about.  The thing about this swallowing is if I take him for a ride in the car or a long walk, he'll stop.  As soon as he is sitting quietly it will start up again during his episodes.  He has eaten parts of sheets, his hair, my hair, pajamas..basically anything he can get his mouth on.  I almost can't contain myself, I get sick to my stomach when this goes on.  We notice that he wants to eat when all of this goes on but we do think that somehow it is related to his stomach and acid reflux.  The holistic vet did think that it was acid moving up this throat and bothering him, she told us to also give him pepcid and protein while this goes on but they don't seem to help.  The only thing that works is riding it out but it's just so upsetting to watch it go on.  He is on an all natural, grain free, semi raw diet from a top notch food company, we have seen some improvement in his overall health but nothing significant in terms of ending these episodes.  
Avatar universal
Just wanted to follow up. My dog kept on with the hard swallowing all night.  She never showed herself to be in distress. Rather, you could tell she did not like having to swallow like that.  It made her uncomfortable.  We went to bed where it persisted.  She made attempts to put her head down and go to sleep, a few times waking up and coughing, perhaps from accumulated saliva.  She never became distressed.

By 7:00 the next morning, she woke up and everything was fine.  Not one issue or recurrence.

When I got to work, a number of coworkers said their dogs go through these types of bouts.  All say it happens when their dog eats a coarse edged object.  It is possible my dog ate a sharp pine cone during our walk. Or maybe a perwinkle shell.  

I guess the esophagus gets irriated from an abrasion and that sets off the almost reflexive desire in the dog to clear their throat.

Anyway, I just wanted to circle back and indicate that all is fine.  I sure hope other dog owners who go through this stressful ordeal are fortunate enough to have the same time of abatement of symptoms as my dog did.
Have an Answer?
Top Dogs Answerers
675347 tn?1365460645
United Kingdom
974371 tn?1424653129
Central Valley, CA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Members of our Pet Communities share their Halloween pet photos.
Like to travel but hate to leave your pooch at home? Dr. Carol Osborne talks tips on how (and where!) to take a trip with your pampered pet
Ooh and aah your way through these too-cute photos of MedHelp members' best friends
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child