Knowing how to perform artificial resuscitation and CPR could save your dog’s life.Breathing easy
If your dog has stopped breathing, artificial respiration can maintain the essential supply of oxygen to the blood. Learning the procedure could save your dog's life. If you've ever learnt how to perform the technique on humans, you'll find there isn't a great deal of difference for your dog.
In most cases, artificial respiration and CPR will serve only as a means of keeping a dog alive until a medical professional can treat him. So if your dog seems to be having heart or breathing difficulties, contact a vet immediately.How to perform artificial resuscitation on a dog
How to perform CPR on your dog
- Identify the problem by following the simple ABC rule - A is checking the airway, B is for breathing and C is for circulation. If the dog is not visibly breathing, place your ear on his chest and listen for a heartbeat or take his pulse. Click here to find out how.
- Open your dog's mouth, grasp the tongue and pull it as far forward as possible, clearing it from the back of its throat.
- Wipe away any mucus or blood. Remove any obstruction. Watch your fingers as you could easily get bitten.
- Remove the collar and any other restricting item.
- If your dog has fluid in its throat or is a victim of drowning, hold him upside down by his rear legs for 15 to 30 seconds - but check the dog for other injuries such as broken legs beforehand. If you suspect there may be a fracture, hold the dog up by the waist instead. You may need to ask for help if you have a large dog.
- Pull your dog's front legs forward so they aren't resting on the chest, which can make it difficult for him to breathe.
- If the dog does not resume breathing once the airway has been cleared, begin artificial respiration.
- Close the dog's mouth and keep one hand under the jaw for support.
- Place your mouth over the nose and exhale, forcing air through the nose to the lungs.
- Be very careful not to blow too forcefully - human lungs are bigger, so you can run the risk of over-inflating your dog's.
- Watch the dog's chest to see if the lungs inflate. Remove your mouth, repeating the cycle about six times a minute and being very careful not to inhale saliva or air from the animal.
- You may need to carry on for 30 to 60 minutes, until your dog is breathing by himself. To check the heartbeat, move your hand to the lower part of the dog's stomach and back to around the third or fourth rib.
If you cannot detect a heartbeat, you may need to perform emergency CPR in combination with artificial resuscitation. A dog that is not breathing may still have a pulse, but if the heart has stopped, there won't be any breathing.
- Lay your dog on his right side on a firm surface.
- For smaller breeds, place your fingertips on either side of the thorax (the third to the sixth ribs down) and apply gentle, firm compressions at one-second intervals.
- For larger breeds, use your palm rather than fingertips.
- Artificial respiration should be maintained at the same time, so after every fifth compression, inflate the chest with air and repeat the cycle. This ensures that oxygen will be present in the lungs as soon as circulation restarts.
- If the heart doesn't start beating again after three minutes, sadly there will be nothing further you can do.