Saving Man’s Best Friend With Dog CPR

ProTrainings Saving Man’s Best Friend With Dog CPR

For many people, the thought of watching a loved one suddenly collapse is a stomach-dropping, heart-wrenching thought. In an emergency, being prepared to step in and provide necessary first aid in a moment of need is essential. But how do we prepare to do the same for our pets? Can a person even do dog CPR?

Luckily for our four-legged friends, the answer is yes! You can do CPR on pets, including both dogs and cats. While this life-saving technique looks a little different when compared to human CPR, it is no less valuable when a life is in danger.

Read on to learn when to do dog CPR on your pet, how to position the animal, and the steps needed to effectively perform CPR. 

Identifying the Need for Dog CPR 

Please note that while this article will focus on performing dog CPR, the same information applies to other four-legged pets, such as cats, as their overall body structures are very similar.

Deciding when it is appropriate to perform dog CPR can be tricky, as pets cannot always directly tell us when they feel unwell. However, if your animal collapses suddenly and is not breathing, the same urgency for immediate first aid intervention is required as if it were any other family member.

To identify if your pet is breathing, first check if their chest is rising and falling by placing them on their side and using your hand to check for even subtle chest movement through their fur. You can also place your hand near their nose to feel for their exhale.

Preparing Your Animal for Dog CPR

Once you’ve identified that your pet is not breathing, you will need to position them for dog CPR quickly. As with humans, you will lay the animal on firm ground. Depending on the breed of dog and their build, you can position them in various ways.

ProTrainings Saving Man’s Best Friend With Dog CPR

If the dog has a squishy face — for example, an American Bulldog — these breeds generally have a flatter back and chest, so you can position them on their backs. This allows for their windpipe to be open and their heart to be easily accessible for compressions.

If your dog or cat does not have a flat back or stomach, then laying them on their side with their head extended straight is the preferred position.

How to Perform Dog CPR

Once your pet is in the proper position, it is time to begin dog CPR. You will first need to provide thirty chest compressions by interlacing your fingers with your hands flat across the widest part of the animal’s chest. The Baker Institute for Animal Health has published a fantastic graphic that can help identify the proper area for compressions. 

When performing chest compressions, you will want to compress the animal’s chest about one-third to one-half of the width of their chest to ensure adequate pressure to help pump blood. After 30 compressions, you will need to take the dog’s face, hold their mouth shut, and extend their head straight to open the windpipe to prepare them for rescue breaths. 

To ensure a good seal, wrap your mouth over their nostrils and provide two full breaths, allowing time for the animal to exhale. After the breaths have been given, return to providing chest compressions quickly. The goal is to provide approximately 100-120 compressions every minute.

Special Considerations for Providing Dog CPR

Performing CPR on your pet can become tiring very quickly, so if you have another bystander available, take turns with compressions to ensure you do not wear out. Remember, the goal of dog CPR is to extend the animal’s life in order to get them to a veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

If you asked a group of pet owners the lengths to which they would go to save their pet, many would share that they would do anything for their furry friend in need. Being aware of how to perform dog CPR through proper positioning can be an easy piece of information to miss — and it’s one that can make all the difference.

Having this newfound knowledge is a great step towards being prepared to take care of your pet in any situation. If you want to make sure that you’re ready to save a pet’s life, or if you’re looking to polish up your resume for a career in veterinary medicine, ProTrainings can help! 

ProTrainings’ Pet First Aid course not only teaches you how to effectively do dog CPR, but also covers other important first aid techniques that can help allow your pet to reach the closest veterinary clinic to receive more intensive care.

Reach out to our staff today to see how easy learning Pet First Aid can be!