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Why Does My Dog Keep Gagging But Not Throwing Up [5 Common Reasons]

Catching your dog gagging is not a good sign at all. As his owner you need to protect your dog from facing such issues.

But you don’t have the slightest clue about what makes your dog gag.

Why does my dog keep gagging but not throwing up?

Gagging in dogs can be a serious sign of heart disease. Usually, the most common victim of gagging is the large dog breeds. Collapsed tracheas or blocked esophagus can be the reason for a dog’s gagging. Last but not least parasite infestation can make your dog gag as well.

Looking for more symptoms? Then stay with us till the end to find out more reasons for your dog’s gagging. 

Let’s begin!

Why Do Dogs Gag Without Throwing Up?

You might’ve noticed that your dog is gagging all of a sudden. And while at it, he is also jerking his body fiercely, but not throwing up. Such signs can be a bad indication of a dog’s health.

To understand why dogs gag, we need to learn the reason behind it. Let’s familiarize ourselves with the reasons why dogs usually gag-

Reason 1: Heart Disease

As your dog grows older, they have an increased chance of growing several heart conditions. With their heart growing weak, breathing gets difficult for the dog. Thus, it might have to gag often to facilitate breathing.

Some common symptoms of a dog with heart diseases are:

  • Chronic gagging
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Faster breathing
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Unwillingness to exercise
  • Coughing
  • Bluish tints to their tongue

Cardiovascular diseases aren’t that rare in older dogs as their heart gets weaker with age. Obesity can be another factor that can increase the chances of heart disease. 

Reason 2: Something Stuck in the Throat

There’s a high possibility that your dog might’ve swallowed something that got stuck in his throat. Whether it’s a big chunk of food or a toy, it can choke your dog. The dog will wheeze when its airway is blocked.

We often lay toys around to keep our dogs occupied. But this is not safe as your dog might swallow the toy accidentally. This can block up their esophagus, making your dog gag to vomit out the object

Similarly, big portions of treats also run the chance of getting stuck inside a dog’s throat. Your dog will be choked by it and gag fiercely for air.

Reason 3: Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a contagious illness predominant among dogs. It’s triggered inside a dog by different bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.

Primary symptoms of kennel cough include dry cough along with frequent gagging. On a serious level, it can also lead to nasal discharge. Your dog will sound jammed while coughing and gagging.

The pathogens responsible for kennel cough inflates the windpipe and bronchi of dogs. Your dog will retch after the coughing spell and cough up white foamy discharge.

With time, the severity of the issue will only worsen. 

Does your dog show any symptoms of kennel cough? Then, you’ll need to treat your dog as soon as possible.

Reason 4: Nasal Infection

Nasal infections like sinusitis and rhinitis can make your dog retch and gag. The postnasal drip from the infection is to be blamed for that. 

Sudden rhinitis and sinusitis are caused primarily due to viral infections. Besides gagging in such cases your dog will snort like a pig.

Your dog will gag in an attempt to ease up his nasal passage. 

Using an air humidifier inside your home can help. The humidifier will make the air inside humid, easing up the nasal irritation of the dog.

Reason 5: Intestinal Parasites

Dogs are very much vulnerable to picking intestinal parasites. The larvae of the parasites migrate to dogs’ lungs and air sacs. Your dog will start gagging once the larvae reach his air sacs, causing internal irritation.

It’s actually quite easy to prevent intestinal parasites from infecting your dog. The monthly heartworm medication can work on protecting your dog from intestinal parasites. 

Take a look at these heartworm medicine brands we recommend for your dog:


These products are effective repellents of fleas and parasites. A successful application provides up to 30 days of protection to dogs.

Before bringing any new pets into your house, make sure to have them checked up.

What to Do When You Notice Your Dog Gagging?

You don’t have to rush for treatment immediately for your dog’s gagging. Instead, take your time and carefully observe the symptoms. If your dog displays any symptoms mentioned in the above reasons, consult a vet.

At the vet’s, your dog will have his esophagus cleaned up first. That’ll be done to make sure that nothing is obstructing the airway in their throat. For nasal infections, the veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics.

Keep your surroundings clean to keep your dog safe from viral infections and parasites.

A fecal examination is also necessary to identify the existence of intestinal parasites inside your dog. If found, the vet will prescribe appropriate wormers to eradicate the parasites. 

You should check if the parasites are effectively eradicated or not. For that you’ll need to visit the vet after two weeks.

Heart diseases and tracheal collapse need treatments depending on the severity of the condition. Be sure to go through your veterinarian before coming up with any decision.

How to Prevent Gagging in Dogs?

To prevent such unpleasant issues, you’ll need to work on your surroundings. Keep objects that your dog might bite and swallow away from their reach. Tear up their food into small, bite-size chunks so that it doesn’t get stuck inside their throat.

For updates about your dog’s health, take him to the vet for a complete checkup. A complete checkup once a year should be enough to assess your dog’s health condition.

Regular fecal examinations will keep you informed whether or not your dog has parasite infestation.


Question: Will kennel cough go away on its own?

Answer: Kennel cough usually mends on its own if it’s not that severe. But you should work on recovering quickly from a kennel cough. Also give your dog medication accordingly.

Question: Do kennel cough symptoms worsen at night?

Answer: Yes, kennel cough symptoms get worse at night and in the morning. The symptoms become less noticeable around the day when the dog moves around. 

Question: Why does my dog keep gulping?

Answer: Your dog might be frequently gulping due to certain dental issues. An abscess or tumor might be the reason your dog is gulping. Burning or injury inside the mouth can also make your dog gulp and swallow constantly.


Hope we answered why my dog kept gagging but not throwing up.

Dogs can’t maintain hygiene on their own. You as the owner should fulfill all their needs and keep them healthy. You should limit your dog’s activities once the issue surfaces. 

Stay healthy, stay safe!