Dog Sore Throat Symptoms & Treatment (10 Signs it’s Sore)

dog sore throat symptoms

Has your dog been barking so much and for so long recently? Is your dog sounding unusually hoarse when he barks at the moment? If yes to both of those questions, then it could be that your dog has a sore throat.

Just like humans, it is possible for our four-legged friends to have sore throats, and even get a bout of canine tonsillitis, although this condition is rare.

If you suspect that something’s not quite right with your dog’s vocal cords (or should we call them barking cords?) then here are some signs your pup might have sore throat. That’s followed by some suggested treatments and remedies.

Dog sore throat symptoms

A sore throat could result from a range of different problems. It could be something stuck in your dog’s throat, a cut, canine tonsillitis, strep throat, parvo, distemper, herpes virus or laryngitis.

They all tend to have similar symptoms, so your dog could exhibit all, or a combination of the following signs of a sore throat.

1. Swallowing motions

Often the first sign that your dog has a sore throat will be him doing what appears to be trying to swallow something that isn’t there.

To your dog, the sore throat might feel like there’s something stuck there which they need to get rid of; and repeating swallowing is how they try to do that.

2. Coughing

Similar to the swallowing motion, another dog sore throat symptom will be coughing; because they think there’s something in their throat.

In fact, there could well be something in your dog’s throat making it sore such as a loose hair creating irritation, or a foreign object they’ve swallowed.

Handy Hint: Did you know that dogs can sometimes pass foreign objects in 24 hours. But, if your dog has a sore throat, there might be something still stuck.

Alternatively, the reason they cough is because there’s a scratch or cut in their throat which will make it sore.

3. Gagging

Just like coughing, gagging is another possible symptom of a dog with a sore throat, typically due to foreign objects or irritations.

4. Fever

A throat infection can also cause fever like symptoms including shivering.

how to tell your dog has a sore throat
Does your dog also seem like he has a fever with the sore throat symptoms too?

5. Licking of lips

Dogs will often lick their lips due to oral discomfort or internal pain, such as a sore throat. Lip licking has also been said to be provide a calming effect to dogs; they do it when they are anxious.

It could be that the pain of the sore throat is making your dog uncomfortable and nervous, leading to the licking motion.

The symptoms of lip licking will also go hand in hand with the next point, drooling.

6. Excessive drooling

When dogs develop throat and sinus infections, they tend to drool a lot more than usual.

Lots of dribble can also indicate a problem with your dog’s saliva glands. They can become blocked and infected.

7. Swollen and red tonsils

Dogs can get tonsillitis, and whilst it’s quite rare, when it does happen your dog will have a really sore throat.

Symptoms of tonsillitis in dogs will include red and swollen tonsils, which you should see at the back of the throat.

8. Crying when they yawn or open their mouth

Another sore throat symptom can be where you dog is in pain when he opens his mouth. The stretching of the muscles can also make a sore throat twinge with more pain.

dog sore throat symptoms
Dogs will often cry out in pain when they yawn if they have sore throat symptoms.

9. Not eating and/or not drinking

If your dog is really suffering, he will find it hard to swallow due to the pain. That means he will be reluctant to eat and drink, as it’s going to really hurt.

It might seem like a loss of appetite, but the reality is he just would rather go hungry than have pain from drinking and eating.

10. Lethargic

If your dog has an infection that’s causing the sore throat, his body will use up valuable energy to fight it off… and this can make your dog appear very lethargic.

He might not want to sleep more, not be as playful, won’t react to usual stimuli, and even look like he has dull eyes whilst he recovers from the sore throat.

Dog sore throat treatments and remedies

It goes without saying, but if you see any of these dog sore throat symptoms in your own pet, please seek professional guidance from a vet. They will be able to ascertain the cause of the sore throat and offer the correct treatment or remedy.

The possible sore throat treatments could include:

  • Antibiotics to treat a throat infection.
  • Vaccinations if the sore throat is related to certain illnesses like kennel cough.
  • Investigate for any irritations or cuts in the throat.

Some pet owners will treat a hoarse sore throat in a dog with natural remedies. These can include sore throat remedies like:

  • Half a teaspoon of honey.
  • Coconut oil.
  • Herbal remedies.

Do not feed anything to your dog without first getting the go-ahead from a vet.


Dogs get sore throats just like us, but the thing is; they don’t know how to tell us. It’s up to us to look for the signs and symptoms, just like you would with a child.

You might also like…

I love trying to figure out how dog’s minds work, and often document what I’ve learned, including:

Image in header via

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

Recent Posts