May 18 2009

A Cool Head: The Difference Between Life & Death

 

Do you know what to do if your dog stops breathing? Experts say that knowing basic canine CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can save your dog’s life. Elaine Acker of Pet America has posted a video  demonstration of pet CPR that every pet owner should watch. Here are the basic steps:

 1. Clear the Airway.

Don’t perform CPR if the dog’s airway is blocked. Try 2 rescue breaths and see if the dog’s lungs expand. If not, you’ll need to perform a Heimlich maneuver, described here.

 2. Give Breaths.

Lay the dog on its right side. Check for a pulse at the paw (“wrist”) or femoral artery (underside of the knee area). Tilt the head forward so the airway is clear; close the jaws and cover the nose with your mouth. Give 4 quick breaths, looking for the dog’s chest to expand. If this doesn’t happen, the airway is blocked. Return to Step 2.

 3. Give Compressions.

After 4 breaths, give 15 compressions. Locate the dog’s heart by bringing the left foreleg towards the chest; the heart is located where the elbow touches the chest. Lace your hands together, one on top of the other, and with your elbows straight, pump your hands straight down in quick compressions (15 compressions in 10 seconds). Give another breath.

 4. Abdominal Squeeze.

You’ll help circulate the blood back to the heart by doing an abdominal squeeze. Place one hand below the dog’s ribcage on the underside, and the other hand on top. Squeeze gently.

 5. Repeat the Sequence.

Go through steps 2-4 as often as necessary: 4 breaths, 15 compressions, another breath, and the abdominal squeeze.

Watch Elaine Acker’s brief video to fully understand the directions above. While these techniques are lifesavers, perform them with caution and only in a critical situation. And always take your dog to a vet as soon as possible after an emergency to make sure everything’s okay. For more info on emergency pet care, visit the ASPCA’s emergency care info page.

Posted by Claire M. Caterer


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