Canine CPR

Any dog lover will agree that being prepared to save your pet’s life is important. Knowing how to administer CPR to your canine can help save their life in the instance of any trauma. If your dog is unconscious or unresponsive due to instances such as drowning, electric shock, or chocking. In these cases CPR is important to know and the Heimlich maneuver can be equally important in a case of chocking.

The first thing you need to know about canine CPR is that like any case of human CPR you will have to remember to use the ABCs of CPR. The ABC’s of canine CPR are airway, breathing, and circulation. These steps must be followed in that exact order.

The A for airway involves making sure that the airway passage, the throat, is cleared. Be sure that there is nothing in the throat that could obstruct breathing. If you can see something try grab it if it is close enough to reach with your hand. If it is lodged too far then the size of dog becomes a factor. If it is a small dog you can usually just hold it upside down to help loosen the object. For larger dogs you may have to use long tong-like pliers to remove it. If you are still unable to get out the obstruction then you should consider doing the Heimlich maneuver on the dog.

The Heimlich maneuver is very necessary in chocking incidents and can be the difference between life and death. The first thing that will matter in this procedure is once again, the size of the dog. Smaller dogs will be easy because you can easily lift them upside down with one person, bigger dogs may need two people. After getting the dog in an upside down position with its back against your chest, you will need to wrap one arm around with your hand making a fist. The other arm needs to come around the other side and place your hand over your fist. Once you have a firm grip, do five quick heaving motions, this will feel like five quick, tight hugs. Once the five thrusts are done you will need to check the throat for the object, if it is visible you should be able to remove it by hand. If you do not locate the object you may need to repeat the five thrusts. Be sure to give the dog two quick rescue breaths, with your hand over the mouth and your mouth over their nostrils.

Once you have cleared the airway you will need to move onto the breathing step. Breathing involves ensuring that the dog is breathing properly. If the breathing is consistent and not labored then you can move onto CPR. If the breathing is not effective you will have to administer more breathing techniques. Be sure that you make sure the tongue is not rolled up in the throat. Position the neck so that it is straight with the head; be sure not to over extend the neck. Give the dog twelve breaths per minute. You only want to make the chest rise a small amount, be sure not to overinflate the lungs. If need be, you may have to continue administering little breaths into the dog.

When the dog has a clear airway and is breathing properly then it is time to move on to C for circulation. This stage involves being sure that the dog is not bleeding heavily anywhere, if the dog is bleeding you will need to apply pressure to the wound before you do CPR. Do not ever give a dog that has a heartbeat CPR, because you may cause more health issues than you fix.

To begin CPR, make sure that the dog is laying on its right side; this will ensure that the animal’s heart is facing up. Make sure the dog’s back is facing towards your knees. You can check for the heartbeat either in the groin area, inside of the back leg where it connects to the abdomen. You can also find the pulse by pulling the front left leg back until the elbow touches the chest. Place both hands palms down between the third and the sixth rib on the chest cavity. For large dogs you will need to place both hands on the chest cavity and for small dogs or pups you will need to place one hand or a thumb on the chest cavity. Use the heel of your hands to push down ten quick compressions. For small dogs only compress down about a half inch, for medium dogs about one inch, and for large dogs about an inch and a half. Continue in cycles of about ten every six seconds for ten cycles. After each cycle give two rescue breaths into the nostrils, be sure that you have the mouth closed with one hand.