My French Bulldog Keeps Gagging – What To Do!

My French Bulldog Keeps Gagging - What To Do! 1

The main culprit of gagging is inflammation of the larynx, Kennel cough, or something stuck in their throat. Find out how to distinguish gagging from many other symptoms and why your Frenchie gags. And how you can deal with the situation when it occurs.

My French Bulldog Keeps Gagging: You were going about your own business when your French Bulldog unexpectedly began gagging. You could be freaking out since you’re worried that they cannot breathe or are trying to vomit, even something more serious.

Why does my French bulldog keep gagging?

Your French Bulldog gagging typically occurs in combination with a cough. If your Frenchie is gagging, they will open their mouth wide and produce a kind of retching noise.

When your French Bulldog vomits many times in a row, it can also start gagging. This is because there is no food remaining in their stomach to remove. Unlike vomiting, nothing comes out of your Frenchies’ mouths.

It’s not the only cause; nevertheless, gagging in Frenchies is most likely the following:

Inflammation of the larynxKennel cough
Foreign ObjectsGastric torsion
Motion sickness

Should I Be Concerned About Gagging?

Like yourself, your Frenchie may swallow wrong and then have coughing and gagging fit, so it’s not a huge issue.

If your French Bulldog is lively, responsive, behaving normally, eating or drinking. It seems happy; you should watch the issue for 48 hours.

If your Frenchie’s gagging continues longer than this, it could be something more serious than a mild swallowing reflex.

If there are other symptoms, like your French Bulldog looking nervous or anxious, having some difficulty breathing, having increased sound while breathing, or is not behaving well in any way. Then see your Vet as soon as possible.

What Can A Veterinarian Do About Your Dog Gagging?

Your veterinarian will do a lot based on the nature of what is happening to your Frenchie. Full physical testing will be required in all situations.

Often, the veterinarian will be able to make an early diagnosis based on these tests alone. In some instances, several diagnostic checks might be needed.

The most common initial checks involve blood testing explicitly searching for signs of infection and radiographs of the throat and lungs.

In general, if your veterinarian is worried about whether laryngeal paralysis is a likelihood or if your Frenchie may have swallowed a foreign object, which is now lodged in the throat. Then sedation could also be needed for a full larynx test.

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What Are Some Common Causes Of Dogs Gagging?

Inflammation of the larynx

Caused by either a bacterial or viral infection, laryngitis may be a symptom of some other underlying problem. It may be associated with disorders such as tracheobronchitis, rabies, cardiovascular disease, injury, or internal tissue problems like larynx paralysis. 

Most of these causes of laryngitis can be managed, and medical care must be sought promptly for any problems for your Frenchie if their breathing is labored.

Symptoms of Laryngitis in Your Frenchie

Laryngitis is typically caused by a bacterial or viral infection but may be caused by another underlying problem.

Gagging or retchingDry, short cough 
Swelled larynxVocal changes
Bad breathDifficult and noisy breathing
Increased heart rateSuffocation
Slowed respirationBluish gums
why is my french bulldog throwing up white foam

Diagnosing laryngitis

Laryngitis is typically very easy to diagnose in Frenchies. If you believe your French Bulldog is struggling with laryngitis, we suggest you see a veterinarian to be on the safe side.

Your veterinarian will inspect your Frenchie’s larynx using a  small mirror and will then be able to inform you if your concern is warranted.

Treatment of laryngitis

The first step your Vet will conduct in the care of laryngitis is to stabilize your Frenchie. This can be achieved by eliminating any airway blocking, reducing inflammation, and delivering oxygen into the body.

Oxygen therapy, intubation, and respiratory support could often include sedation. If an obstacle occurs in the larynx, a tracheostomy tube can be inserted into a hole in the throat to allow your Frenchie to breathe until the issue is resolved.

The underlying reason, as well as associated factors, needs to be treated. Treatment options can include reducing inflammation by using corticosteroids, often alongside non-steroidal inflammation drugs and systemic antibiotics.

Diuretic medications may be prescribed to clear fluids from the larynx and lungs. Cough steroid medication and bronchodilators may help with inflammation.

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Kennel cough in bulldogs

Another explanation of why your Frenchie could be gagging is tracheobronchitis. You might have heard of it by its common title ‘kennel cough.

That’s because its infectiousness contributes to its high incidence among dogs, particularly those sheltered in public kennels or shelters.

Kennel cough is transmitted by sneezing and coughing, and it can also be spread by fabrics or pet toys. With kennel cough, your Frenchie is more likely to develop several complications, such as white mucus with the cough.

At the end of your Frenchies cough, you will be able to detect the gagging that will enable you to differentiate it from other disorders it could be suffering.

Just like chronic bronchitis, it may lead to coughing fits that result in gagging. Fever, lack of appetite, and tiredness can occur in milder cases. Nose and eye mucus discharge, sneezing, breathing difficulty, and possibly pneumonia may occur in more serious cases.

Your Frenchie may retain their normal mood and appetite, not show any symptoms and display a cough with gagging. It still needs medical care, but prevention is better.

If your French Bulldog is in contact with several other dogs, such as a local park, or if they need to spend time in a vacation kennel. Then you must follow their vaccination schedule religiously.

Please read the following articles to learn more about Kennel Cough.

French Bulldog Kennel Cough- Find Out More!

Foreign Objects

Another main reason your French Bulldog might be gagging despite vomiting is the existence of a foreign object. These items can be stuck within the mouth, throat, or esophagus when ingested.

Such objects may be anything from bones, fragments, sticks, pins, plastic, toys, bits of cloth, or anything that can get past the top of their throats. (Very Frenchie thing)

When these items have sharp corners, they may exacerbate the issue by creating tears in their throat. If your Frenchie begins to exhibit hypersalivation (drooling), vomiting, fear, scratching its mouth across objects or with its paws, as well as gagging, then the presence of a foreign object is likely to be involved.

If the object is still within its mouth, it will likely be trapped at the back of the tongue. If that’s the case, it can be reasonably straightforward to remove.

It is much more difficult to extract items lodged in the throat. Their extraction may need to be performed by a veterinarian under anesthetic. If the item stays within the body for a long time, antibiotics will need to be used to prevent infection.

Items that go through the esophagus may be spotted by x-rays and need to be extracted by endoscopy or abdominal operation.

Stomach Dilation

This is the most dangerous cause of gagging for your French Bulldog due to the possibility of death. Rapid detection will save the life of your Frenchie. Dilation of the stomach comprises the following:

Gastric dilation: in this scenario, the stomach is swollen by gas and liquid collecting within it.
Gastric torsion: at this point, the protruding stomach changes direction in its longitudinal direction, preventing it from being drained. The stomach contents then ferment attributable to the stomach acid, which then grows distension.

Blood flow to the region is also compromised and can trigger necrosis of the stomach wall or even ulceration. If this occurs, your Frenchie will have blood poisoning and will probably die.

While this disorder may appear in any dog, bigger breeds are much more likely to develop it. Eating fast, consuming water too quickly, and physical activity pre or post-eating may be the underlying cause.

Symptoms Include

Abdominal Bloat

Your Frenchie is bound to be in discomfort if you touch their stomach and will sit in strange positions to try and relieve the pain. An x-ray will determine whether or not this is distension and whether torsion has happened. In the latter scenario, an operation will be needed.

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Motion sickness

Motion sickness is yet another explanation of why your French Bulldog can be gagging. It is a fairly common condition when we drive in a vehicle with your Frenchie. In addition to gagging, they can also experience the following:


If your Frenchie travels frequently and suffers from motion sickness, then you should contact your Vet to see if they can prescribe some medication to help. You can then give this medication to your French Bulldog before they get in the car so they can avoid motion sickness.

Motion sickness is more common in younger dogs and sometimes declines with maturity.

Marshall Newton

Marshall Newton stands as an authoritative figure in the world of dog care and training, enriched by over 40 years of hands-on experience. His lifelong journey with dogs has seen him own over 20 canines from a diverse range of breeds, making him a versatile expert in the field. Marshall's expertise doesn't stop at general dog care; he's also a specialist when it comes to French Bulldogs. As the founder of "Little French Dog," Marshall provides invaluable advice and resources for both new and seasoned Frenchie owners. Whether it's understanding breed-specific traits or discovering new care tips, Marshall is the go-to resource in the Frenchie community. Interested in learning more? Feel free to connect with Marshall on LinkedIn for a deeper dive into his professional background and a wealth of canine insights.

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