View Full Version : Please help, I have a serious problem.. ..

5th September 2006, 08:43 PM
It’s taken me all day to muster up the courage to post about my awful experience this morning.

I’ve had two of what I consider to be near death experiences with Kosmo now and I don’t know what to do to correct it from happening. It starts out as Kos is eating something and then all of a sudden he tries to swallow and somehow it gets stuck in his windpipe and he gasping and choking and making an awful noise!!

The first time this happened was a few weeks ago with the chicken jerky thing. It scared me to death and I posted about it. Since that time I’ve been watching him eat everything ~ whether it’s a piece of kibble or a charlee bear.

This morning I was making my lunch and getting my food ready. I was putting some baked Doritos in a plastic bag when one fell on the floor. Of course my little Mr. Hoover was standing next to me on the floor, and of course I accidentally dropped a Dorito. Mr. Smarty Pants quickly picked up the chip and ran off with it as he knew he wasn’t supposed to have it and I would make him drop it. So as he’s running apparently it goes down the wrong direction or something and all of a sudden he stopped dead in his tracks and his whole body hunched over and he started making this awful terrible gasping sound. I FREAKED out as soon as I seen/heard it and I ran over to him as fast as I could. The only thing going through my mind was “Oh my GOD” and “stay calm so you don’t freak him out..” I immediately dropped to the ground to feel his hunched over body stiff as a board. His teeth were completely clinched. I mustered up the strength to open his mouth and shoved my finger down. I felt the chip and tried to dislodge the offending object, but the first try did nothing. Panicking I tried again and finally was able to dislodge the object. Thank GOD it worked out OK. This reduced me to tears and I’ve a hard time functioning today because of my emotional roller coaster this morning. I cannot thank whoever was watching us enough for helping me to dislodge the chip and keep it together while I was on the floor with him.

I don’t know how to teach him to chew his food completely before he swallows it. I have tried everything I can think of. He eats pretty all the time and will lick your fingers for 5 minutes until you give it up. As soon as your hands are off, he thinks it’s his and takes a swallow without even thinking about tasting the food. I don’t know what to do because these episodes are very taxing on me emotionally. I am so happy to have Kosmo in my life I couldn’t bear anything happening to him, especially if it was me who caused it!!!

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

matties mum
5th September 2006, 08:55 PM
Oh what a nasty start to the day I cannot tell you how to get him to eat sowly but some body might have an ldea just so pleased that it was alright in the end Aileen

5th September 2006, 09:05 PM

I am so so sorry for the huge scare you had this morning, I think I read a post somewhere about trying to get another furkid to eat slower.

Some folk suggested to put small tennis balls in the bowl this way he would not be able to grab large amounts at once.

I am on my way out the door to the Vet, but I will try and find the thread and post the link for you when I get home later.

brid kenny
5th September 2006, 09:06 PM
Am afraid am not much help either. That must have been awful for you.

5th September 2006, 10:34 PM
Could you teach him to eat slower by putting his food inside a kong toy or treat ball? he will have to work to release the food by pushing it around the floor and the food then normally comes out rather slowly...or feed softer food for a while like chicken, flaked fish, rice, soft veg/fruit to get over your scare...

Little monkey :D

Hopefully others will be able to give you a few more ideas... :flwr:

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

5th September 2006, 10:41 PM
Sorry you've had these scares!

I'd mention this the next time you are at the vet because it may have something to do with his shortened palate or possibly a trachea problem and it would be good to make sure these aren't issues or to know how to address the problem if these are.

I'd be very cautious with treats. Also Alison's idea is very good -- use a treat ball and put his kibble in that, or in a kong -- then he has to eat slowly. Also he may have fewer problems with wet kibble -- so eone recently posted on one of the email lists about a dog that nearly choked on kibble because he inhales it and someone mentioned moistening it can help.

Also you can place a number of smooth stones in the food bowl, like the kind you'd get in streams; large enough that he can;t swallow them, so maybe about golf ball size or a bit larger. With several of these in his dish he has to work around them to eat and will eat more slowly. This is a good trick for either dogs or cats that bolt their food.

I'd definitely talk to your vet though for reassurance and some help and to have a general check done on his mouth and throat.

5th September 2006, 11:03 PM
Ack--this happened to Cedar once. She tried to swallow a piece of rawhide that was too big. It freaked me out, too.

The trouble with your predicament is that it isnt happening with just treats or kibble--it happens when the cutie "steals" something. You can't keep everything out of their mouths all the time. In reality, a dropped chip on the floor is often considered score one for the dog. Not the healthiest thing, but not generally life threatening..... Unless the dog swallows it whole and chokes.

Some of the steal-run-swallow is the dog's reaction to your behavior. The dog wants to get the item down before he has to give it up, because he knows you'll be on him in a second to pry it out. It's happened so many times, with you in a panic, he's developed this dangerous behavior.

Perhaps some training on bringing and giving up things would help? Find a special, special treat--the best of the best. Drop a chip (or other non-allowed, swollowable item, though I'd start with something safe) on the floor, and immediately offer the highly-valued reward in exchange for the no-no item. Do this repeatedly moving from non-food items to food items, until Kos goes to you whenever he picks up something. He brings the item to you in exchange for the treat rather than skipping off and swallowing as fast as he can.

It's worth a shot.

I think Karlin's suggest about talking to the vet is a good idea, too, just to make sure his pipes are working properly. :)

6th September 2006, 12:14 AM
those are some good suggestions. training him to get your ok before he eats something is worth a try. Two other dogs i had before would respond to "Put that down!" said in a forceful tone. but i had to use intimidation and a forceful tone, it wasn't like using reward. In those days, it wasn't the kind of thing i would've thought of using reward to achieve, except after the fact. But it sure was handy to have control over that particular behavior. I need for Zack to learn this too.

It definitely is something you can accomplish with obedience training, and you might want to consult with your trainer about it to get ideas. Many dogs have been trained to respond to being asked to put down something they want to eat at the sound of a voice command.

It might be just a freak accident kind of thing, he was running, the chip is light and easy to inhale. Unfortunately it's not uncommon for dogs to choke on rawhides and certain forms of treats. so it may not be that there's anything about Kosmo that caused this to happen, but just a coincidence.

Whatever it was, it sounded terrifying to read about, and you deserve a pat on the back for getting control of the situation and staying focused, despite such a scary scene. And you deserve a big hug for having such a hard day. :hug: I'm glad Kosmo is OK

6th September 2006, 12:54 AM
So you guys think that if I put stones in his bowl he wont eat them too? I know that sounds like a stupid question but he's alawys picking them up while we're on a walk?

Also I don't know how effective this would be but what do you guys think of putting things on a fork to feed him?! Like lets say, a piece of chicken breast. if it's put on a fork then he has no choice but to eat it slowly, right?

The chicken thing that he choked on was not when he was running away from me, I gave it to him and he was chewing on it as a treat. I think he just accidently bit off a piece that was too big. .. ..

Maybe I will get him checked out by the vet to make sure that he doesn't have any tracheal problems or anything like that but he is usually O.K to eat his regular kibble, I am just a little over protective now. It doesn't hurt to do a double check though.

That being said he does know drop it and leave it. He's manipulated me so that while we're out on walks if I say drop it and he doesn't do it and if I try to pry it out he will swallow it while I am bending down but if I say "Drop it for cookie!" He spits it out immediately!! :roll: :roll: He does have me wrapped around the end of his little finger, but I break them off into such small pieces that I would rather offer a treat than risk him eating something that's going to make him sick.

About the Dorito; nobody ever said Cavaliers were stupid!! Kosmo had apparently thought when he picked it up and ran that I hadn't seen him!! I didn't even notice that I dropped it until I heard little paws scurrying across the floor (dead giveaway!) and put two and two together. As long as he can run out of my field of vision before I see him then he's in the clearing, right? I tell you he's so smart sometimes it just blows my mind!!


Oh my goodness Cedar choked on a rawhide?! They are so slimy and stringy, how on earth did you manage to pull it out ? I give them to Kosmo but as soon as they get soft I take it away and rotate it with another one. I've never had a problem with them so far *Knock on wood!*


If I had offered him a cookie I am sure he would have dropped it as he does this without failure, but as long as he could get away from me without me noticing then he could sneak something!! I'm telling you this one is smart as a whip!! Thanks for the hugs you gave me, I needed them. I try to be the best I can but sometimes things just happen.

Thanks for your reccomendations on putting stuff into a kong. Maybe I will try it with just dry kibble. I tried putting carrots and peanut butter in it for a few days but it ended up sitting there and then I had to go and play fetch and contend with fruit flies. :roll: Dry kibble should be fine though so I will try that!! :)

Also the water is a better idea. I might just have to watch him eat and say SLOWLY every few seconds. He listens to that sometimes so maybe I'll try to reinforce it a bit more.

Thank you guys for all of your concerns and comments. I have never been so scared before in my life. The first time scared me but this time he was stiff like a board and his jaw was actually like locked shut!! I was able to open it but only when I tried with all of my strength! He is strong, too!!

Cathy T
6th September 2006, 04:52 AM
Sara - you poor thing. Not only did this happen once...but again so soon after your first care. I have nothing to offer other than my empathy. I too would have been scared to death. Shelby is an inhaler..but thankfully (knock on wood) has never choked.

7th September 2006, 05:24 AM
I have seen a bowl in one of the pet supply websites that is especially made to help dogs slow down while eating. It has three plastic pieces rising up from the center of the bowl, to make the dog eat around them, thus slowing them down.

Check here (or do a google search for "dog bowl slow down eating"



Good luck!

Cathy T
7th September 2006, 03:40 PM
Thanks for posting that. That's interesting.

7th September 2006, 05:08 PM
just a question on this subject -

I think the bowl is a great idea but I've also heard that eating out of plastic can cause health problems later on down the line?

7th September 2006, 06:34 PM
just a question on this subject -

I think the bowl is a great idea but I've also heard that eating out of plastic can cause health problems later on down the line?

i've heard that too. I read it in an ebook called Longer Life for the Dog You Love by Michele Welton.

19th September 2006, 12:34 AM

I just joined this site and saw your post about Kosmo choking. I don't have any good ideas for slowing hhis eating, but I can tell you that a modified Heimlich manuever will work for dogs. If you suspect choking stand above your dog, put your hands around him at the stomach and squeeze quickly and sharply right beneath his rib cage. The offending obstruction should pop out. Be careful not to sqeeze too hard because you do not want to damage organs. I did do this once when my Murphy was choking and it worked. Good luck!

19th September 2006, 10:31 AM
I have had this with biscuits, rawhide, etc. with Woody.... it is really scarey - I tried to do a few biscuits at a time, etc. he has got better. How about a large water bowl so he has to chase his food around the bowl.