We love our pets like our family and would do anything for them. If the unimaginable happens, and you find your dog unconscious and in need of urgent medical care, one of the most important skills you can learn is CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Performing CPR on a dog is similar to a human. By following these steps you could save their life!
The very first thing to do is to check for breathing and a pulse. It is very dangerous to perform CPR on a dog who is breathing. To check for breathing, place your ear next to your dog’s nose or mouth and listen for breathing and feel for air movement. You can also put your hands on the sides of your pet’s chest to feel for movement. To check for a pulse, place your hands on both sides of your dog’s chest just behind his elbows or place two fingers on the inner thigh, where his leg and body meet. If you do not sense a pulse or breathing, begin CPR immediately.
Lay your dog on his right side. Open your dog’s airway by gently extending his neck and clearing any obstructions.
Next, interlock your fingers and place your hands over his ribs where his elbows touch his chest. Begin compressions. The depth and rate of chest compressions vary depending on the size of your dog. For small dogs, weighing under 30 lbs, you should compress the chest by ½ to 1 inch and at a rate of 5 compressions per breath of air. Do the compressions directly over his heart. For medium to large dogs weighing 30-90 lbs, you should compress the chest by 1-3 inches at a rate of 5 compressions per breath of air, on the widest part of the chest cavity. And for large dogs over 90 lbs, compress the chest by 1-3 inches at a rate of 10 compressions per breath of air, on the widest part of the chest cavity.
To give mouth to muzzle breaths, place both hands around his mouth to form a tight seal, and extend the neck so the tip of the nose is in a straight line with his spine. Place your mouth over the nose covering both nostrils. Give the number of breaths recommended and continue with the chest compressions, repeating until your dog begins to breathe on its own and has a pulse. It is suggested that you stop CPR after 20 minutes if there is no pulse and no breathing.
You should get to your veterinarian right away. If possible, get someone else to drive while still performing CPR, if needed. You can also call on route so they are prepared for your arrival. The main thing to remember is to remain calm.
Hopefully, by knowing how to perform CPR you can save your pet’s life. Being prepared is the first step. Check your local area for CPR classes where you can get hands-on practice with an animal mannequin; good places to look are your local Red Cross organization or contact Veterinary Sports Rehab & Integrative Wellness.