I read somewhere (I think it was Bill Bryson's book on the origins of the English language) that of all animals, we are the only ones that can choke on food (having something to do with how our larynx is positioned). I'm unable to find reference to this fact online however, and am curious if this is just my having misunderstood something (or Bill having led me astray!).
The veterinarian in our group offers this: For humans, who choke much more frequently than other mammals, it is likely to be a cognitive problem. We talk and eat at the same time and so give ample opportunity to allow food passed the epiglottis and choking. Animals do choke - dogs can, cats can. Not all animals can vomit and this is particularly a problem for horses, whose stomachs will rupture instead of releasing contents through the mouth.