Canine blockage symptoms

Updated November 21, 2016

Different types of blockages can occur in dogs, including gastrointestinal, urinary and throat or windpipe. Some require immediate treatment. Being aware of the possible symptoms can help you get the care you need for your dog quickly.


Blockages can occur for many reasons. Many times, they result from ingesting a non-food item, such as clothing, pieces of a shoe or even part of a dog toy. String, bones and plastic bottles can cause blockages, but so can intestinal parasites.


Vomiting is a common symptom in dogs that suffer from gastrointestinal blockage. While a single episode of vomiting is not a concern in most cases, excessive or recurring vomiting, or vomit that contains blood, can be serious. In these cases, bring your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Loss of Appetite

Refusal to eat, loss of appetite or total lack of appetite are indications of blockage.

Bowel Movements

Intestinal blockage can lead to a change in bowel movements. The faeces might take on a gel-like texture, or it might change colour--perhaps an indication of intestinal bleeding. Some dogs may be constipated and not pass any faeces for one or more days.

Foreign Objects

Some foreign objects, such as string, may appear in the anus. However, the owner should never pull out the object because that could cause serious internal injury. Seek veterinary care immediately.

Abdominal Pain

In many cases, pain accompanies intestinal blockage. The dog might whimper, groan or whine.


Some dogs may bleed from the rectum, which can indicate constipation. But that also can be a symptom of gastrointestinal blockage.


Canines that have an obstructed bowel can suffer swelling, but this does not occur in all dogs.

Urinary Blockage

Urinary blockage can have a variety of symptoms. They include lack of urination, blood in the urine, frequent urination with small quantities of urine passed each time, straining during urination and unusual or excessive licking of the genitals.

Windpipe or Throat Blockage

If a dog is choking, you need to take immediate action. Symptoms of windpipe or throat blockage include coughing, distress, vomiting, swelling of the throat, drooling, gagging, pawing at the face, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing and anxiety.

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