Providing CPR to a pet is very much like giving CPR to a human. The same steps are followed:
Is there an open airway from the mouth to the lungs? Can you feel any breath passing in/out of the nose or mouth? Check the mouth by opening the jaw and pulling the tongue forward and look for any blockages or foreign objects. Remove any foreign objects and check again for breath. If the airway is still blocked and the pet’s mucous membranes (gums) are blue, you may need to perform a Heimlich-like action to loosen any object that may be farther back in the throat.
B. Is the Animal Breathing on Its Own?
If no objects, food or mucus are obstructing the airway, you may begin artificial respiration. Lay the animal on its side and gently tilt the head back. Pull the tongue forward. Close your hands around the muzzle to form as airtight a seal as possible and place your mouth over the nostrils of the pet’s nose. Blow four–five breaths rapidly, then check to see if the pet begins to breathe on its own. Smaller pets will need more breaths per minute (20–30) than a large dog that requires only 15–20 breaths per minute.
Can you feel a heartbeat or pulse? An animal that is alert and responsive, even if it can’t get up, will not require compressions. If there is no heartbeat, then you may begin chest compressions. Lay the pet on its right side, find the point of the pet’s elbow and place it against the ribs. This is where your hands need to go. Compress the chest one half to one inch (slightly more for a giant breed or really large dog), and provide a breath every five–six compressions (have a second person do the breathing, if available). Check for a pulse. Repeat the process if no pulse or heartbeat is detected. Transport the pet to a veterinary hospital as soon as possible; if after 20 minutes your efforts are not producing results, then you have done your best under difficult circumstances.
This article is provided as a general overview of the topic. Always consult your veterinarian for specific information related to diseases or medical care for pets.
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