Why Is My Dog Swallowing Repeatedly

Why Is My Dog Swallowing Repeatedly: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Have you noticed your dog swallowing repeatedly, as if trying to clear something from their throat? This behavior can be concerning for pet owners, as it may indicate an underlying health problem. In this article, we will explore the possible reasons why dogs swallow repeatedly, how to diagnose the cause, and what treatments are available.

Causes of Repeated Swallowing in Dogs

There are several potential causes of repeated swallowing in dogs, some more serious than others. Here are some of the most common explanations for this behavior:

1. Foreign object or irritant: Dogs may swallow repeatedly if they have something stuck in their throat or mouth, such as a bone fragment, a piece of toy, or a plant material. They may also swallow to clear an irritant, such as dust or hairballs.

2. Gastrointestinal issues: Dogs with digestive problems, such as acid reflux, gastritis, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), may swallow frequently due to discomfort or nausea.

3. Upper respiratory infections: Dogs with respiratory infections, such as kennel cough or pneumonia, may swallow more often than usual due to excess mucus or coughing.

4. Dental diseases: Dogs with dental problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease, may swallow more frequently due to pain or inflammation in their mouth.

5. Anxiety or stress: Dogs that are anxious or stressed may swallow frequently as a calming signal or a self-soothing behavior.

Diagnosing the Cause of Repeated Swallowing in Dogs

To determine why your dog is swallowing repeatedly, you should consult your veterinarian and provide them with detailed information about your pet’s symptoms and medical history. Your vet may perform some diagnostic tests to rule out certain conditions and narrow down the possible causes of the behavior.

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Some tests that your vet may recommend include:

1. Physical exam: Your vet will examine your dog’s mouth, throat, and abdomen for any signs of foreign objects, dental disease, or gastrointestinal issues.

2. X-rays or ultrasound: These imaging tests can help visualize the inside of your dog’s body and detect any abnormalities, such as blockages or tumors.

3. Blood work: This can reveal any underlying health problems that may affect your dog’s digestion or immune system.

4. Allergy testing: If your vet suspects that your dog may be allergic to certain foods or environmental triggers, they may recommend allergy testing to identify the allergens and suggest a treatment plan.

Treating Repeated Swallowing in Dogs

The treatment for repeated swallowing in dogs depends on the underlying cause of the behavior. Here are some possible interventions that your vet may recommend:

1. Removing foreign objects: If your dog has something stuck in their throat or mouth, your vet may need to remove it with forceps or surgery.

2. Medications: Depending on the diagnosis, your vet may prescribe medications to treat infections, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, or manage anxiety.

3. Dietary changes: If your dog has food allergies or intolerances, your vet may recommend a special diet or supplements to address their nutritional needs.

4. Dental care: If your dog has dental problems, your vet may recommend a professional cleaning, extractions, or other procedures to improve their oral health.

5. Behavioral therapy: If your dog’s swallowing is related to anxiety or stress, your vet may recommend techniques such as desensitization training, counter-conditioning, or anti-anxiety medication.

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Preventing Repeated Swallowing in Dogs

To prevent repeated swallowing in dogs, you should take some measures to ensure their safety and well-being:

1. Supervise their playtime and avoid giving them small toys or bones that can break into pieces.

2. Keep their environment clean and free from dust, mold, or other irritants.

3. Feed them a balanced and nutritious diet that meets their specific needs.

4. Take them for regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

5. Provide them with plenty of physical exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization to reduce their stress levels.


If your dog is swallowing repeatedly, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible to determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment. With proper care and attention, most dogs can recover from this behavior and enjoy a healthy life. Remember to be patient, compassionate, and proactive in addressing your dog’s needs. After all, they are not just pets but our loyal companions who deserve the best possible care.