I was looking at my little dog Myrka earlier, and I was thinking that she was getting old. She’ll turn 12 at the end of March. I can’t believe it, 12 years have passed since we brought home this tiny ball of fur. She was so small; she looked like a little hamster.
And she is such a good dog, very smart and quick. In fact, sometimes my husband and I think that she understands everything we say. She is extremely affectionate and loves to cuddle on the couch with me.
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. My point is that when you have a dog in your family, you get very attached to him, and you want him to live for a long, long time. That’s why if something would happen and your dog would stop breathing, you should know what to do.
Learn how to recognize your dog’s condition
Seeing your dog in a life-threatening situation can be a very traumatic and stressful experience, especially if you’re alone with him. That’s why it’s important to have the knowledge to recognize your dog’s condition and take the necessary actions. Knowing what to do can save your furry friend’s life.
In respiratory distress, your dog may show some telling behaviors. Here are the signs that your dog may be choking:
- Gagging or drooling profusely
- Standing in the “air hunger position” (Having his head and neck held low and in a straight line)
- Coughing forcefully and continuously
- Gasping for air and wheezing
- Gums or lips turning gray or blue
- Acting unusually agitated or frantic
- Pawing at his mouth and whimpering
- Excessive chest movements
- Loss of consciousness
What you should do before performing CPR
The first thing to do if you see your dog exhibiting some of those signs above is to try to calm him down because the more he panics, the more it will demand more oxygen. It will only make the situation worse. Secondly, you have to encourage your dog to swallow. If he can’t, it can be because of a physical blockage.
Thirdly, you can check inside your dog’s throat to see if an object is obstructing his airway. Click here to learn how to dislodge the object safely, for you and the dog.
Finally, you have to see if your furbaby is breathing. To do so, you can put your hand up to the nose and feel for air and also watch the rise and fall of the chest. Furthermore, you have to check for a pulse. The best place to check for it is on the inner thigh.
How to check for a pulse on your dog
On the inner thigh is located the femoral artery. This is where you are most likely to find your dog’s pulse. By running your hand along the hind leg’s interior until you’re almost to the point where the leg meets the body.
You should feel a small dip; this is where the femoral artery is the closest to the skin. Use your fingers only, not your thumb, to press down softly and feel for a pulse. If you can’t feel anything, you can also try just above the metacarpal pad, which is the large center pad, of your dog’s front paw.
The last place that you can try is directly on top of the heart. It is located on the left side of the chest, just like us, humans. To find it, lay your dog on his right side and bend the left front leg, so the elbow touches the chest. The point on the chest where the elbow touches is the position of his heart.
How to perform CPR and AR on your dog
AR (artificial respiration) is when you breathe into the nostrils and is a part of CPR. It is done by holding the nose shut and administer one breath every two to three seconds at a steady pace of 20 to 30 breaths per minute. You can perform AR alone when your pup has a pulse but doesn’t breath by himself.
If the heart isn’t beating, CPR must begin immediately. CPR is the acronym for Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. CPR isn’t only for humans, but can be done on animals also.
Created by the team at TruDog, this infographic below is the perfect guide so you can learn how to perform CPR on your dog. This procedure can potentially save your best friend’s life!
Click on infographic to enlarge
CPR is a pretty intense physical procedure and can cause additional injuries to your pup. This could include broken ribs; a collapsed lung (also called pneumothorax) and general stress on his body. However, these injuries can be treated later on and shouldn’t stop you from performing CPR.
Do NOT practice CPR on a healthy dog. It can cause extremely serious harm.
Remember that any first aid should be followed by veterinary care. You should call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Always have your veterinarian office phone number handy in case of an emergency.
Over to you
Did you know that CPR existed for dogs too? And did you know how to perform it? Personally, I’m really glad I found this. Please, share your thoughts with us in the comment box below!