It is hard watching your dog struggle to throw up or retch with nothing coming out of the mouth. I mean, dogs could pull off anything fun, catch a ball or even jump ropes but dry heaving could have a hold on them sometimes. This condition could be dramatic and fun to learn about, let’s talk about its causes and available home remedies one could apply on a dry heaving dog.

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  1. What Is Dry Heaving in Dogs
  2. Why Is My Dog Dry Heaving
  3. Home Remedies for Dog Dry Heaving
  4. FAQs
  5. Conclusion

What Is Dry Heaving in Dogs

Dry heaving is just another word for retching or gagging, it’s simply a condition where a dog tries to vomit but nothing comes up. With all the reflex and urge to vomit, nothing seems to be coming out of the mouth.

You could hear the constant gagging and retching, one would think the dog is in pain and needs help. This condition could be very uncomfortable for your dog and should be taken seriously.

“Dry heaving in dogs could be life threatening and should be taken seriously”, - Dr. Hanie Elfenbein

Why Is My Dog Dry Heaving

Dry heaving could be caused by several factors which could range from mild to severe. Dry heaves could easily go on their own if the aetiology is temporary and removed. Let’s learn about the causes of dry heaving in dogs in a broader view.


Just like humans, dogs have the feeling to throw up sometimes when they perceive something they don’t like or eat something nauseating. Their stomach becomes upset and nausea sets in, thus dry heaving.

Kennel cough

Kennel cough commonly caused by a bacteria called Bordetella could lead to dry heaving in dogs because it predisposes to frost formation in the upper respiratory tract resulting in dry heaving which sounds like coughing.

Food/Drug Allergies

Through the action of reflex, your dog may feel the urge to throw up anytime it comes in contact with anything allergenic which could be in the form of some specific drug, scent or food.


Obstruction is one of the common causes of dry heaving in dogs. Some dogs have the habit of rushing their meal and end up getting food stuck in the trachea leading to dry heaving.

Hairballs or even a bone can get stuck in the throat, it is crucial to see a Veterinarian if you think your dog might have something stuck up there. With the Petcube Camera, you can keep a closer watch on your dog for hairballs, choking or dry heaving even when you are not close by.


When air gets trapped in the stomach, it presents as bloat which is accompanied by a feeling to throw up and get rid of the excess gas.

Respiratory/Cardiovascular Conditions

Heart and lung conditions such as bronchitis could be a contributing factor to dry heaving in dogs. When the lungs malfunction, it produces an excessive amount of frost which irritates the throat and causes dry heaving.


Tumor mass causes obstruction and irritation especially when located in the throat causing nausea or dry heaving.

Home Remedies for Dog Dry Heaving

There are some quick hacks you can apply at home to help your dog get rid of heaving easily:

  • Give plenty of water to help relieve any food remnant in the throat.
  • Add one teaspoon of either honey or coconut oil which serves as a laxative making vomiting easier.
  • If your dog rushes its food, use a slow feeder to reduce how fast your dog eats in order to prevent choking.
  • In order to prevent your dog from getting the Kennel cough, give the Bordetella vaccines.
  • Clean and trim the hairs around the nostrils, also check for signs of allergy like a swollen face.

I once helped a neighbor whose dog was dry heaving, with plenty of water, rest and a spoon of coconut oil, her dog was able to cough out food particles that got stuck in its throat and the dry heaving stopped.

These home remedies can only work for mild dry heaving. A more serious dry heaving would need the attention of a Veterinarian and to help you with that, we are offering you $3000 coverage in Emergency Vet fees and a 27% discount by subscribing using the exclusive link.


Why is my dog dry heaving?

Dry heaving in dogs could be caused by mild reasons like a hairball, an allergy or even an obstruction in the throat.

Why does my dog dry heave at night?

Being exposed to one of the aetiology of dry heaving at night such as allergenic scents sprayed to repel insects.

Why is my dog dry heaving but not throwing up?

Your dog could be dry heaving due to nauseating triggers such as obstruction or an allergy.

Why is my puppy dry heaving?

Amongst other reasons, rushing their food could get some stuck in the trachea or throat leading to dry heaving.


Dry heaving could be a mild temporary condition and could as well be life threatening if not examined properly. If you think your dog is having difficulty overcoming dry heaving, take it to a Veterinarian to examine for obstruction and rule out any form of infection.

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