Is your pet dog dry heaving? Is it serious? In dogs, vomiting is something common and does not need to be fretted upon. If your dog ate too fast or ingested something it cannot digest, then it throws it out. But if your dog is dry heaving, then it can be the sign of an underlying issue. Occasional dry heaving is common and you need not worry about it. But if it is frequent, you should visit a veterinarian for a check-up.

The thing with vomiting is that the cause for it can be eliminated and known. Vomiting may not be too big issue to worry about. But with dry heaving, you cannot know the exact reason that is causing the spasms. The body cannot remove the substance that is inconvenient or there is another issue that is causing it. So, it requires immediate attention.

Dog dry heaving makes your pet extremely uncomfortable and is painful to watch for pet owners too. However, you need to find out about the causes, treatments, and prevention methods. If you can recognize what is the reason behind it, you can take precaution beforehand. We have all the prevention methods and home remedies for dog dry heaving listed for you.

What is Dog Dry Heaving?

Dry heaving means when your dog makes the motion of vomiting but nothing comes up. It is also known as retching. There is a whole body spasm during dry heaving starting right from the stomach to the throat and a groaning. Dry heaving is a little bit different from gagging and is not to be confused with.

Your dog may also show these symptoms along with dry heaving and they may indicate a serious issue with your pet. Symptoms like lethargy, fever, runny nose, restlessness, pale gums, swollen abdomen, sneezing, foam around mouth, etc may be a sign for you to take the heaving seriously and take your pet for a check up.

If you think there is a logical explanation for your dog dry heaving, then there is no need to worry too much. You can treat it at home and also prevent dry heaving from occurring frequently.

a dog retching

Causes For Dry Heaving

There can be many reasons that can cause dog dry heaving. In dry heaving, it is difficult to know the exact cause that is irritating the stomach and so makes it complicated to choose a remedy. These are a few causes that can help you identify the cause of dry heaving in your dog.

Heaving Due to Illness

If your pet has been in contact with other dogs or likes to go around sniffing, there are chances that they might have contracted a contagious disease. 

Most common diseases are Bordetella and Distemper. Distemper can be treated itself after a few days and is not too serious an illness. Bordetella can be a more serious illness but is not fatal. It can usually be cured over time too.

Parasitic Infections

Parasites are a nuisance and can be a big threat for your pet dogs. Small insects and parasites like fleas can cause some extreme discomfort and infections to your pet. 

The most common are roundworms that can be contracted by licking the soil. The roundworms make their way to the lungs and throat of the pup and this is what causes discomfort to your buddy. It needs medical attention and proper care so that it does not worsen.

dog dry heaving remedies

Foreign Objects in the Airways

Dogs love to chew on anything they get their paws on and this can cause bits and small pieces to get stuck in their throat if swallowed. Dry heaving might be because they try to remove these themselves.

These small particles cannot be removed so easily and irritate the dog. It also affects the eating and breathing and needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. This requires the doctor to put their hands and take the object out. It can be risky if you try to dislodge it yourself.

Blocked Airways

Your pet may have their airways blocked even because of non-foreign particles. That is they might possibly have a tumour that needs to be removed surgically.

It may not be a cancerous tumour, so there is no need to panic. But, it can be a critical issue and needs to be hospitalized. It may also be because of Tonsillitis or Pharyngitis that cause swelling of glands and make it difficult to eat or breathe.


The most serious cause of dry dog heaving is a condition called bloat or Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV). It takes a short time to affect the dogs and can be life-threatening. 

The stomach fills with air expands rapidly. Over time, the stomach twists and the blood supply is cut off. This condition can get pretty dangerous and needs immediate medical attention.

Methods To Prevent Dry Heaving

If your dog does not have frequent dry heaving, it is a good sign. The best option is to prevent them from occurring in the future too so that your dog stays healthy. Below are a few methods you can use to avoid dog dry heaving.

Slow Feeder

Dogs get too excited about meal times and tend to eat fast. A slow dog feeder is a dog bowl with deep pits and thick grooves that makes it difficult for the dogs to swallow too much of the food at a time. This will slow them down while eating, preventing a lot of trouble for you.

Slow feeders and other food dispensing toys for dogs will be worth investing you money on. These provide obstacles for your dog to work upon and take their time with the food. 

Limit Activities For Half Hour

After 30 minutes of taking their meals, dogs need to be kept calm and this is a difficult task. The food results in a sudden influx of energy and your dog tries to dispel it right away. 

For this, you might need to buy a crate or a dog gate so that they do not run around too much. As an alternative, you can change the behavior and calmly give the food half an hour to settle before going for a walk.

Set an Eating Schedule

Eating habits

Eating without a proper schedule can result in bloating for dogs. You can set a schedule for small portions of food at several intervals of time instead of feeding all at once.

You can break the diet and meal times as per the nutrients and calorie requirements for the day. This will avoid bloating and in turn weight gain too.

Dry Heaving Remedies to Try At Home

Dry heaving may require you to pay a visit to your vet for once. But if it is not too serious and not possible to go to the hospital, you can try these easy home remedies for dog dry heaving meanwhile.  


Fasting is one of the most efficient home remedies for dog dry heaving. Fasting at regular time periods will allow your dog to get rid of the food in the stomach that is irritating it. 

Fasting also gives some rest to the stomach since an upset stomach is the most common reason for dry heaving. Hence, any remedy that can treat an upset stomach can be used to treat dry heaving too.


Herbs can be effective dog dry heaving remedies too. However, if you are not familiar with natural remedies or holistic approaches, you can consult your vet before trying any means for your pet.

  • Ginger

Ginger is the most crucial ingredient in the kitchen and can be found everywhere around the world. Not only is it beneficial for humans but also for animals. 

It is known for treating morning sickness and can be used as the home remedies for dog dry heaving too for that matter. You can feed ginger roots to your pet by making tea by simply boiling the roots in water.

Two or three bowls of ginger tea will be enough for a day to treat the upset stomach. But remember not to offer hot tea to your pet. Always cool it down before serving otherwise it may worsen the condition.

Also Read: 13 Incredible Health Benefits Of Ginger

  • Basil

Basil is a common and non-toxic household spice. It is known for its healing effect and can fight against bacteria because it possesses a high amount of volatile oil.

Basil leaves can be mixed with moist dog food and the effect can be seen in no time. Along with basil, you can also add yogurt. This will work almost immediately and your dog will feel better soon after. This is one of the best natural remedies for dog dry heaving you can try at home. Basil leaves can also cure the oral cavity and GIT.

Basil leaves - dog dry heaving remedies
  • Calendula Flowers

The beautiful yellow calendula flowers can be grown easily. They have excellent antiseptic properties and prevent the growth of bacteria.

Usually, you can try offering the flowers along with dog food. The flowers can be used to soothe the stomach and prevent any type of fungi or bacteria from growing. Calendula flowers also possess anti-fungal properties and make perfect dog dry heaving remedies to use.

  • Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is a South European native plant related to daisy. Milk thistles can grow all around the world and make wonderful dog dry heaving remedies.

Milk thistles can help soothe the upset stomach and also aid in improving the liver functioning. It prevents the liver from damage and a lot of people use it to treat several GIT issues for dogs too. 

Milk Thistle
  • Rosemary

Rosemary is also another household spice that can be seen in most kitchens. With a powerful healing effect, rosemary is also used as a breath freshener.

Rosemary is an immunity booster and can treat bloating, upset stomach, diarrhea and constipation. Rosemary is easy to grow or can be found at stores. Both you and your pet can have it since it is non-toxic. It acts as a breath freshener for both humans and animals as well. Rosemary can be good natural remedies for dog dry heaving.

Also Read- Effectual Natural Remedies For Dog Allergies

Final Words

Dog dry heaving can be treated at home and prevented in the future. But, it is always the best option to consult a doctor if the condition does not get better within a day. There may be other causes and illnesses that require clinical treatments. 

Under urgent or unavoidable situations, you can treat your dog easily using these home remedies for dog dry heaving and make sure your pet feels comfortable within an expected duration of time.