Saving Man’s Best Friend With Dog CPR

ProTrainings Saving Man’s Best Friend With Dog CPR

Table of Contents 

  1. Identifying the Need for Dog CPR
    1. What to Do If Your Dog Is Choking
  2. Preparing Your Animal for Dog CPR
  3. How to Perform Dog CPR
    1. Special Considerations for Providing Dog CPR 
  4. Going Above & Beyond 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 

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 is required as if it were any other family member. 

If you’re more of a visual learner, we’ve got you covered. Check our infographic on how to spot signs your dog needs CPR. 

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 an exhale. Clearing the airway is an essential step as well. If your dog is choking, you can perform the Heimlich maneuver to clear the airway.  

When your pet needs CPR and the Heimlich maneuver, the Heimlich maneuver must come first.

An obstructed throat would prevent your pawed pal from getting the air supply you plan to provide during CPR, so it’s important to clear any potential blockages.

What to Do If Your Dog Is Choking

Before we dive deeper into CPR, here are the basics on clearing the airway of a choking dog. If your dog is large or mid-sized, you have two options:

  • Stand them up on their hind legs and put their back against your chest. Place both hands, with fingers interlaced, at the base of your dog’s abdomen. Provide five quick thrusts in an upward motion, with moderate force.
  • If your dog is lying on the ground, place a firm hand behind their back. Using your other hand, squeeze or push your dog’s abdomen, with moderate force, upward and quickly five times.

If your dog is small, place them across your lap. The dog should be lying face up on their back. Place one firm hand on their back to help them hold that placement. After placing your other hand on their abdomen, quickly press your hand into their abdomen five times with moderate force.

After you’ve completed five upward thrusts, check your dog’s mouth for the obstruction and remove it. This is important because, if you’ve dislodged the blockage from their throat, you can be certain they won’t choke on it again. 

Preparing Your Dog for CPR

Once you’ve identified that your pet is not breathing and you’ve double-checked that their airway is clear, you will need to quickly position them for dog CPR. As with humans, 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 English 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. To learn how to position any dog for proper CPR, check out our How to Perform CPR on a Dog of Any Size PDF. 

Small dogs and cats can be laid on their side with their head extended straight. 

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. Make sure your elbows are locked for each compression and provide approximately 100-120 compressions every minute.

To help keep the 100-120 compression-per-minute rhythm, try “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

It can be difficult to understand positioning from written directions. To amend this, we’ve   put together an easy-to-follow video on how to provide CPR and rescue breaths for small and large dogs. You can watch it here: 

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, gently 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. It may take up to twenty minutes to revive their pulse, so be patient and remain calm. Once you’ve revived your pet’s pulse, immediately transport your pet to a veterinary facility.

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. 

Aim to switch roles every two minutes or so between the person giving rescue breaths and the person providing chest compressions. The purpose of this is to ensure that neither person gets tired and starts to compromise their form or the quality of breaths. 

Also, if you’re performing CPR on a larger dog, you may need to close the side of their nostrils with your hand before blowing down the nose from the front.

Most importantly, know that the emergency isn’t over once CPR is administered. 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. 

Going Above & Beyond With Dog CPR

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. But not every pet owner knows how to properly perform dog CPR. 

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 toward 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!