Dog CPR 101: How to Give Your Dog CPR

photoLast year around this time, a dog nearly drowned at the seaside in Cromer, Norfolk. The poor pooch was saved by a group of off-duty lifeboat men who performed CPR on the beach. A month later after this incident, Laurie Kay, a pet massage therapist never thought she’d have to use her emergency medical technician training when an 8-year old boxer stopped breathing in a pet grooming facility in Chicago. “Usually they bring me in when a dog is shaking and nervous. But he was down. He flat lined,” Kay says. “Even though I’ve been trained in CPR for people and for dogs, I never thought I’d have to use it.”

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is a procedure for people in cardiac or respiratory arrest. It is done to provide artificial respiration and blood circulation through compression on the chest and ventilation on the lungs. The goal is to make sure that oxygenated blood reaches the brain and the heart to keep vital life processes going while waiting for the patient to regain his heartbeat.

However, this isn’t the typical mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, so you need to know how to properly administer CPR to your dog when the need arises.

Read on and learn the step-by-step process:

The procedure is similar to the traditional mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for humans.  The main difference is your task is to provide breaths in its snout, not its mouth. We can more or less call this mouth-to-snout resuscitation.

  • ~The first thing you need to do is to tilt the dog’s head back to straighten the airway passage.
  • ~Then hold the dog’s mouth shut using one hand and place your mouth over the dog’s nose.
  • ~Blow air into the nose and see if the chest expands. If the dog’s chest does not expand, start over again by clearing the mouth. Now if the dog’s chest expands, release its mouth and let it exhale.
  • ~Then repeat the procedure every five seconds until the dog is breathing normally.

In cases where you are unable to detect a heartbeat, you might need to perform artificial respiration in addition to cardiac resuscitation.

To do this, you must put the dog on its right side.

  • ~Then put the heel of your right hand on the ribcage, just right behind the elbow.
  • ~Then, place your left hand over your right. Firmly press on the ribcage by three to four inches using both hands. Note that each compression should last no longer than half a second. For smaller dogs, use less force to avoid damaging the ribcage. You might need to repeat this process up to ten times.
  • ~If the dog is still not breathing, perform CPR. Alternate between ten chest compressions and one breath into the dog’s nose until the dog can breathe normally again.

Though the process sounds silly, you will find this technique helpful in cases of emergency – like when your pet accidentally chokes on food. Knowing how to perform this procedure can save a dog’s life. Like the case of Laurie Kay, you will never know when you will need to administer CPR.

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