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Why Does My Dog Keep Dry Heaving [5 Reasons Why]

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Majid Tanveer, DVM

Dog owners understand how difficult it is to keep a dog alive and comfortable.

And one day, when you see your dog is dry heaving, it’s pretty normal to get concerned. 

If your dog is dry heaving, it has something to do with his throat. If your dog has something stuck in his throat, then this can cause dry heaving. Other factors like nausea and bloating can also cause dry heaving. Throat tumors and respiratory illness can also cause dry heaving in your dog.

Still feel like you don’t have the complete picture?

This is, after all, possible. We are aware of your concerns.

It is for this reason that we have written this piece.

This will provide a thorough explanation of everything you need to know.

Why the wait? Jump right in!

Is Your Dog Heaving?

Dry heaving in dogs is a condition where the dog repeatedly attempts to vomit without producing any material. It’s similar to the feeling you get when you’re about to gag, except nothing is coming out.

Dog owners are always conscious about their dogs. You can get concerned if your dog shakes his head or is heaving. 

But before you search for reasons why your dog is heaving, it’s better to be sure first. Most dog owners confuse heaving with something else. And false diagnostics can lead to your dog having other complicated problems.

Let’s find out if your dog is heaving!

Reverse Sneezing vs Heaving

Most of the time, dog owners confuse dry heaving with reverse sneezing. A squealing sound will frequently accompany your dog’s reverse sneezing. 

Reverse sneezing will speed up your dog’s breathing at the moment. This way, you’ll know if your dog is reverse sneezing or heaving. 

Cough vs Heaving

Although coughs sometimes cause excessive heaving, they are not the same. Treatment for heaving and coughing can be completely different. It’s better to understand what your dog has before you treat him. 

Coughing in dogs frequently precedes hacking, preceded by a loud yack.

In severe respiratory diseases, they may even cough up tiny volumes of phlegm. Or your dog may grasp and consume.

Dry heaving, unlike coughing, necessitates a complete body action, including the stomach muscles.

Okay, now that you’re sure your dog is heaving, let’s see why he is doing this. 

Why Is Your Dog Heaving

Anything might trigger heaving in your pets, from stomach problems to a foreign substance in the airway. The sooner you understand the reason, the sooner you can treat it. 

Let’s find out why your dog is heaving:


Our dogs may occasionally dry heave in the days preceding their vomiting fits, sometimes after they’ve already spat out their dinner.

Drooling or drowsiness may occur before your dog’s dry heave bouts. Other symptoms of stomach issues might follow this.

Nutritional indiscretion, viral illness, and other disorders that affect digestive function can cause nausea in our fur babies.

If this is the case, your pup will most likely refuse food and drool excessively. If this occurs, you should contact your veterinarians for help.

Has Something Stuck in The Throat

A puppy’s throat might become clogged with foreign objects. This is because they are known to consume things they shouldn’t.

This might be rocks or anything else that clings to the back of their neck.

When particles become trapped in a dog’s throat, it irritates. It causes people to cough and heave to expel it.

You may see your dog scratching at their lips or perhaps sneezing backward due to the discomfort.

Your dog may have a complex item caught in its throat. That’s why they are dry, heaving, and restless. If this is the situation, we advise seeing a veterinarian as fast as possible.

Respiratory Problems

Suppose your dog is coughing hard as well. Then, dogs’ dry heaves are a symptom of several respiratory disorders.

The coughing itself might induce dry heaving in a dog. It also includes the prevalence of throat irritation.

It’s not uncommon for dogs to have respiratory problems. Each sickness can cause a dog to cough severely, commonly resulting in dry heaving. Sometimes you’ll find that your dog is only gagging

This could be causing your dog’s dry heaving. 

Throat Tumor

Your dog might suffer from a significant blockage in or around its neck. That’s why it’s heaving.

Due to a dog’s continuous dry heaving, several cancers or polyps in the neck have been discovered. To assist the dog in finding relief, these must be removed.

Some of these problems produce dry heaving on their own. Or forceful coughing that causes dry heaving as a result of the discomfort.

This might be the source of your dog’s dry heaving.


The primary reason for dry heaving in dogs is bloating. Bloat in dogs is a condition where the stomach becomes filled with gas and food, causing it to become enlarged and twist on itself.

The stomach’s contents are confined, and the bowels’ blood flow is cut off. Your dog will be exceedingly sick, which causes dry heaving. 

If this is the case, your dog will need immediate surgery. This is to return the belly to its proper position. This will also take care of any intestinal injury.

These five are the most common reasons for your dog’s heaving. Other might include:

  • Eating too quickly
  • Stomach upset
  • Heart conditions

Most of the time, you’ll have to take your little buddy to the veterinarian. But you can also care for your friend in some less severe cases. 

In our next piece, we’ll look at how you can accomplish this.

How To Prevent Your Dog’s Heaving

A multitude of medical conditions might lead to dry heaving. As a consequence, the goal is to prevent these issues from arising in the first place.

That’s why we’ve put up a list of things you can do to avoid heaving:

  • Always make sure your dog is vaccinated, especially for kennel cough. 
  • Next, ensure that your furry friend does not have access to anything that could get stuck in their throat.
  • Address any stomach discomfort as soon as symptoms appear.
  • Immediately after meals, avoid movement, particularly in dogs with broad chests.
  • Use a slow feeder if your dog is susceptible to chugging its dinners.

These slow feeders will ensure your dog doesn’t eat too fast. Or that he doesn’t choke. 

If you follow these few steps, your dog will be alright and free from heaving. But, if you are new to owning a dog, we suggest you know primary dog care


Why is my dog attempting to vomit but failing?

See if your dog is attempting to vomit but cannot. This might happen because they may have a twisted stomach/GDV. If this is the case, call your veterinarian, especially if they have a bloated stomach.

Question: Is dry heaving harmful to dogs?

Bloating and foreign items lodged in the throat can both produce dry heaving. If this is the case, it may be fatal, demanding immediate medical intervention.

What is the sound of a dog dry heaving?

Retching, choking, or wheezing sounds like dry heaving. It’ll almost look like your dog is vomiting.