Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for Dogs

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It’s no secret that dog owners want the best for their dogs. They work hard to make sure that they can provide their dog’s needs, and they do their best to take some time off their busy schedules so they can take their dogs for a short walk around the neighborhood or play catch. These days dogs, like other pets, are considered as family members that’s why it’s difficult to see them in pain or suffering from a medical emergency. These life and death situations are difficult to handle, but knowing how to deal with these emergency situations just might save the lives of our furry friends.

Serious medical conditions such as canine cancer usually come with a long list of things to do to help you prepare and assist your pet with the medication and therapy. Pet emergencies, on the other hand, can lead to the death of your pet if you don’t know how to perform artificial respirations, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for dogs, or the Heimlich maneuver. Basic knowledge of these things, plus having the emergency numbers of your veterinarian within reach, will help save your pet during life-threatening situations. Take note that you must also inform your veterinarian about your dog’s medical issues so he or she knows how to help you during emergency situations.

Here are some of the things that you must do during pet emergency situations:

 Seek Emergency Assistance

In preparation for possible emergency situations. make sure that you write down the emergency numbers of your veterinarian and the nearest animal hospital on a piece of paper and stick it near the phone so you have easy access during a pet emergency. It’s important that you call the emergency numbers once you notice that there’s something wrong with your dog because it takes some time for them to respond. It’s better if you can ask someone else to call for emergency assistance so you can focus on helping your dog. If there’s no one with you however, call the emergency numbers as quickly as possible and then start the CPR immediately.

Check if Your Dog is Still Breathing

Check if your dog’s chest is still rising and falling, and place the palm of your hand near your dog’s nose to feel if air is still flowing. If your dog still has a pulse or is still breathing, you do not need to perform CPR. If it’s positive that your dog is still breathing but you can see that he or she is in distress, seek medical attention and perform CPR only if necessary. If it’s negative that your dog is breathing, then you need to perform CPR.

 Make sure that the Air Passage is Clear

If your dog is not breathing, inspect the air passage to see if it’s clear. If your dog is having problem while breathing, or if you see that there’s something that’s blocking the air passage, you must remove it immediately. Use your fingers or a set of small tongs to get rid of the blockage. You are not allowed to do CPR if your dog’s air passage is blocked. If you can’t remove the blockage, you will need to perform the Heimlich. If the air passage is clear, however, you may proceed to checking your pet’s pulse in preparation for the CPR.

How to Perform the Heimlich:

  • Stand or sit behind your dog.
  • Place your fist below or behind the last rib of your dog. Place your other hand on top of your fist.
  • Quickly pull in and upwards. Do this five times.

After performing the Heimlich, check if your dog’s passage is clear. If it’s still blocked, repeat the Heimlich. If the blockage is already loose but your dog is still unable to breathe, check his or her pulse.

 Check your Dog’s Pulse

It’s important that you check your dog’s pulse before you perform the CPR. According to an article published in Canine Journal, you can easily find your dog’s pulse in the inner thigh, where the femoral artery is located.  Gently run your palm along the inner part of the hind leg until you reach the part that connects the leg to your dog’s body, or until you feel the slight dip because this is where the femoral artery is nearest to your dog’s skin. Use your thumb and your forefinger to gently press down and check your dog’s pulse.

You can also check your dog’s pulse by placing your hand on the chest area where the heart is located or by gently pressing on the main pad of the front paw. If you can feel the pulse but your dog still isn’t breathing, you must not perform CPR. However, as an alternative, you must perform artificial respirations.

If your pet has no pulse, you may proceed with the CPR.

How to Do Compressions on your Dog

  • Let your dog lie down on his or her side. Sit near your dog’s back.
  • Cup both hands and place them on top of each other. Position your hands on top of the wide part of your dog’s ribs. If you have dog that weighs under thirty pounds, you may squeeze the chest using your thumb and fingers.
  • Straighten your elbows and start performing compressions on your dog. Try to perform one hundred compressions in one minute.
  • If you’re performing CPR, you should do five compressions before  stopping to  make it easy for air to pass, says PetMD.

 Perform Artificial Respiration

If no one else is around during the pet emergency, perform five compressions before and after your breathe into your dog’s nose. If you have someone who can assist you, the two of you may perform artificial respiration once every three compressions.

How to perform artificial respiration:

  • Hold the jaw of your dog and make sure it’s shut to so air won’t be able to escape.
  • If you have a large dog, position your mouth near the nose. If the dog is small, position your mouth near your dog’s mouth and nose.
  • Blow air and make sure it enters the nostrils. Observe the chest, see if it rises with every breath.
  • Give some space after every breath by removing your mouth from your dog’s nose to make room for air.

If you’re trying to perform a CPR, do compressions after you breathe into your dog’s nose or mouth. If it appears that your dog’s pulse is still active but he or she is not breathing, you must breathe into your dog’s nose once every two to three seconds with a pace of twenty or thirty breaths for every sixty seconds, says Canine Journal.

Check your dog’s pulse again

Pause after two minutes to check your dog’s pulse. Observe your dog’s chest to see if it’s back to rising and falling to confirm breathing. If your observation shows that the pulse and the breathing is back, stop the CPR. However, if your dog is still not breathing, continue doing the CPR.

 If your dog starts breathing normally again after performing the CPR, call the veterinarian to give him or her an update. However, if it’s been almost half an hour and your dog still has no pulse or is still not breathing, you have to take your dog to the nearest animal hospital and ask for emergency medical assistance immediately.

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