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If your dog has a medical emergency and stops breathing, don’t count on being able to make it to the vet’s office in time. Knowing how to perform CPR on a dog can mean the difference between life and death for your beloved pooch, so keep this info graphic in a handy place where you can see it easily in the event of an emergency.
How To Perform CPR On A Dog- Get Ready
CPR is not the answer to every life-threatening situation. Before you start, check the following:
- Is your dog breathing? Place your hand or cheek next to the dog’s nose or see if its chest is rising or falling. A breathing does not need CPR.
- Is there a blockage? Check the mouth or throat for items the dog may have choked on and remove these.
- Is your dog’s heart pumping? Check by listening to the dog’s chest or placing your fingertips on its femoral artery. This artery if found where the thigh joins to the body. You can also feel a pulse (if there is one) just about the large pad under a dog’s front paw.
How To Perform CPR On A Dog- Get Set
While it is best to avoid moving a seriously injured dog, you may need to do so in order to perform CPR. The dog must be on a flat surface that can steadily hold the dog’s weight in order to have any chance of being successful. Additionally, a dog that has been electrocuted will need to be moved to a safe spot before being examined.
Call for help if there is anyone in earshot who can hear you. Another person may be able to help you examine the dog, move the dog or call a vet for assistance and/or counsel.
How To Perform CPR On A Dog- Get Started
- Make sure the dog is lying on its right side
- Straighten the head and neck so that air can flow freely into its lungs
- Pull the tongue forward and close the mouth
- Kneel behind the dog’s back
CPR for Large Dogs
Any dog that weighs more than 30 pounds is a large dog. To perform CPR on a dog of this size, put one hand over the other and place both hands near (but not right on top of) the dog’s heart. Compressions should reach about 1 1/2 inches in depth and you should give at least 80 compressions a minute.
CPR for Small Dogs and Puppies
For small dogs, follow the steps outlined above but place your hands directly over the dog’s heart. Press down about an inch before letting up. For puppies, use a thumb and two fingers instead of both hands.
Assisted Breathing and Abdominal Squeezes
A dog that has no heartbeat will likely need assisted breathing in addition to CPR. This breathing should be given after every three to five compressions.
To provide assisted breathing, hold the dog’s mouth shut and breathe forcefully into the dog’s nose. Do this four to five times and then check to see if the dog is breathing on its own. If not, continue compressions with assisted breathing.
Abdominal squeezes help blood circulate to the dog’s heart. To perform squeezes, place the left hand on the dog’s abdomen, place your right hand on top of your left hand and give a short, strong squeeze. Do this after every fifteen compressions.
How To Perform CPR On A Dog- Final Thoughts
Preparation can be the difference between saving your dog’s life and running out of time. Save this guide and share with other dog owners to ensure that every dog has the chance to enjoy another day. CPR is a physically intense procedure that when performed can cause additional injury to your dog. These injuries can include broken ribs, pneumothorax (also known as a collapsed lung), and overall stress to your dog’s body. However, these injuries are treatable by a veterinarian, so it is not necessary to stop CPR for fear of harming your pet further. If you suspect that you may have broken a rib or otherwise injured your dog, simply continue with softer compressions. Preparation can be the difference between saving your dog’s life and running out of time.