How To Perform CPR On A Dog

To begin with, you should avoid practicing CPR on a dog that is healthy. The techniques used for CPR can result in physical harm if conducted unnecessarily. When performing CPR on your dog and the animal shows resistance, they in most cases may not require CPR. Below are the steps to follow for CPR on a dog.

  • Position The Dog For CPR

Lay the animal on a flat and stable surface, with the right side of the dog facing down. Straighten out the neck and neck in order to create a passage to the dog’s airway. Now pull the dog’s tongue forward and make sure it rests on the back of the teeth and then close the mouth. Now take your position behind the back of the dog.

  • Finding The Heart And Preparing For Compressions

Place your palms over one another on the widest area of the dog’s rib cage, close to the area of the heart but avoid placing your hands directly over the heart. For the smaller breeds that weigh 30lbs or less, cup the palms around the rib cage, placing the fingers on 1 side of the dog’s chest and your thumbs around the other side.

  • Start The Compressions

Making sure that your elbows are straight, place pressure onto the rib-cage using quick and firm compressions. Make sure that your compressions are only a 1/3 to ¼ of the dog’s chest width. Repeat these compressions at quick rates of around 15 for each 10 seconds. For the smaller breeds use your fingers and thumb to squeeze the dog’s chest to around 1/3 to ¼ of the chest width. Repeat the compressions at a faster pace when compared to the larger dogs, aiming for around 17 compressions for each 10 seconds.

  • Start Artificial Respiration

When performing CPR on its own, give the dog Artificial Respiration after every set of compressions. To begin, seal the animal’s lips by placing one hand over the muzzle and make sure the mouth is closed. Now put your mouth over the nostrils and gently blow and watch for the dog’s chest to lift and then expand. When the chest is not rising, then blow a bit harder and make sure that the dog’s mouth is completely closed. For the smaller dogs you can use your mouth over the whole muzzle. Take your mouth off the muzzle or nose between breaths to allow for a way for the air to return. Use a single breath between the sets of compressions.

If you have another person with you, you can conduct the compressions and the other person can conduct Artificial Respiration after each 5 compressions. If you only use Artificial Respiration, use the same steps as mentioned above to seal the animal’s mouth and administer a single breath every 3 seconds.

  • Using The Abdominal Squeeze

Place the left hand underneath the abdomen of the dog and the right hand should be on top. Now push down which squeezes the abdomen. This technique assists in circulating the blood so that it reaches the heart. Use 1 abdominal squeeze once you have completed one set of compressions and 1 breath.

  • Repeat The Process

Continue with Artificial Respiration or CPR until such stage that the animal is able to breathe again and is maintaining a pulse that is steady. If after 20 minutes the animal is still not breathing it may be best to stop the treatment as it is highly unlikely that you will be successful after this period of time.

The Precautions

CPR is one of those physically intense treatments that when conducted is able to result in injuries to the animal. These injury types can include pneumothrax which is when a lung or the lungs collapse, broken ribs and overall stress to the body of the animal. However, these types of injuries can still be later treated by your veterinarian so avoid stopping CPR because you are concerned about harming your dog. If during your CPR you think or suspect that the rib cage is broken continue using softer compressions. It is also important that you know of emergency veterinarians in your area that are easy to access if such an event ever arises.

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