Watching your dog lay down in a life-threatening situation is a frightening and stressful experience for anyone who loves animals. Therefore, acquainting yourself with sufficient knowledge on how you should recognize and take action on such an occasion is vital. At least what you learn and choose to do can guarantee your dog a chance of survival, and this is where CPR comes in play. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is a life-saving procedure done to help dogs that lose their breathing and heartbeat. When a dog stops breathing, oxygen levels in the body cells drop rapidly, and vital organs such as the kidneys, liver, and brain begin to fail. Severe brain damage can occur within a few minutes of respiratory failure, which means it's important to act fast!
Below is a comprehensive guide on how you should perform CPR on your dog:
Analyzing your dog
1. Contact your vet or any emergency animal hospital
This is the first step you should do when you find your dog lying unconscious. Because sometimes it may take a long time for a vet to arrive, get a friend or passer-by to initiate talks with the vet. This can enable you to administer first-aid beforehand if the dog isn't breathing while the vet is on his or her way.
2. Determine whether or not the dog is breathing
Before you commence with any dog CPR, first determine whether your dog is still breathing. CPR won't be necessary if your dog is breathing. To substantiate whether or not the dog is breathing, check for a subtle rise and drop of the chest. Dogs take between 20 to 30 breaths per minute, which means its chest should move every two to three seconds. If you fear its chest isn't moving, place your cheek near the dog's nose to check for air flow against the skin. If the chest doesn't seem to move and you can't feel any air movement, it means your dog isn't breathing.
3. Check for a heartbeat
To find the heart, place the dog on its side and bend its front elbow back towards the chest wall where the heart lies. Observe the chest wall around this area and look for signs of whether the dog's hairs are moving along with its heartbeat. If you can't see any movement, place your fingers on the chest wall and apply a little pressure. You should feel a pulse of a heartbeat striking against your fingertips. If you can't find a heartbeat, check for a pulse on the dog's wrist. Move your finger under and along the main stop pad behind the front foot and press gently to check for a pulse.
4. Confirm the dog's air passage is clear
Open the dog's mouth and examine the back of its throat for any blockages. Remove any material you find to unblock the dog's air supply before starting CPR because such materials can interfere with resuscitation.
Contact your vet or any
emergency animal hospital
Determine whether or
not the dog is breathing
Check for a heartbeat
Confirm the dog's air
passage is clear
Remove any material
blocking the dog's airway
Place the dog for
Performing dog CPR
5. Remove any material blocking the dog's airway
Before you start any CPR, remove any materials blocking the dog's mouth, including vomit, mucus, blood, and any foreign objects.
6. Place the dog for artificial respiration
Pull the dog's tongue forward. Place the head in line with the back, and slant it back a little to open the airway.
7. Place your mouth over the airway
For a small dog, put your mouth over the dog's mouth and nose. For a large dog, put your mouth over the dog's nostrils. Next, place one hand under the lower jaw to close it. And finally, put the thumb of the same hand on top the nose to keep the dog's mouth shut. Similarly, you can place both hands on the lips and mouth. It's crucial that you stop air from escaping via the mouth.
8. Begin artificial respiration
Blow steadily into the dog's snout to raise the dog's chest wall. If it rises, stop blowing if you find the dog's chest has gently lifted. Continued blowing can damage the dog's lungs, so withdraw your lips to relay air passage.
9. Start chest compressions
The heart's function is to pump oxygenated blood to the dog's body organs. If you're about to give artificial respiration but lack any heartbeat, this means the oxygen can reach where it's needed. You'll need to render both artificial respiration and chest compressions at the same time. The goal here is to provide artificial respiration and chest compressions in a pattern series of one artificial breath for 10 to 12 chest compressions.
10. Find the dog's heart
Trace the heart by placing the dog on its side and swinging its front elbow towards the chest wall.
11. Initiate chest compressions
Place your palm over the dog's heart and press down slowly but firmly. Apply sufficient force to compress the chest about one-half or one-third of its depth. The compression should be followed with a series of quick, rapid movement between 10 to 12 times around every five seconds. Provide another artificial respiration breath and repeat the cycle.
12. Stop occasionally to evaluate the situation
Stop every two minutes and check whether the dog has started breathing on its own. If not, ensure artificial respiration until help comes.
13. Finally, begin stomach compressions if it's a large dog
A large breed may benefit from stomach compressions, which can allow blood to return to the heart. Gently squash the front part of the belly. To further maximize recirculation of blood to the heart, squeeze the abdomen more by sliding your left hand under the dog's stomach. Use your right hand to "squeeze" the dog's belly between your hands. Do this movement again at least once every two minutes until the dog's blood starts flowing to the heart normally.
Knowing how to provide basic CPR on your dog is among the most vital skills you can learn. Of course, no one expects their dog to be in need of immediate medical care, but sometimes the unthinkable can happen. And knowing some little CPR dogs tricks, like the one shared on this guide, can save your dog's life.
Place your mouth
over the airway
Start chest compressions
Find the dog's
Stop occasionally to
evaluate the situation
it's a large dog