Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR, is a combination of chest compression and artificial respiration. It is normally used when you cannot feel or hear the dog’s heart beat. Once the dog stops breathing the heart will go into cardiac arrest and cease beating. Before performing this procedure please keep in mind that Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is hazardous and can cause physical complications or fatal damage if performed on a healthy dog. It should only be performed when necessary.
Check your dog’s vital signs. Talk to and rub your dog to see if he/she responds. If he/she offers no response, CPR will be helpful where:
Your dog has fallen unconscious and has stopped breathing; and/or Has no heartbeat (see how to locate the pulse point below).
Contact emergency help immediately. Call your own vet, or an emergency vet or animal hospital and let them know you’re coming. Get someone else to drive while you perform the following procedures.
Lay the dog on the right side and check the pulse point. Laying your dog on his/her right means that his/her heart is facing up.
Bring the left leg elbow back to the chest – the point where the elbow meets the chest will be the third to fifth chest space, where the heart is located. This is a pulse point but if your dog is large or obese, it might not be the most ideal pulse point. If you cannot find the heart pulse point, look for the pulse point on the wrist. Run your finger along the dewclaw pad (front or back foot) and you should feel a pulse.
Clear the airway. Remove any vomit, blood, mucus, foreign material from your dog’s mouth. Pull the dog’s tongue forward. Align the head with the back and tilt it back a little; this will help to open the airway. Hold one hand under the lower jaw to close it. Place the thumb of the same hand on top of the nose the hold the mouth shut. Alternately you can cup both your hands around the mouth (and lips for a large dog). The important thing is that you don’t want the air to escape through the mouth. Small dog, place your mouth over the dog’s nose and mouth and blow 4-5 quick breaths.
Large dog, place your mouth over the dog’s nostrils and blow 4-5 quick breaths. Watch for the gentle rise of the chest.
Wait 2-3 seconds. This allows the air to exhale. Continue breathing in and pausing until normal breathing returns. Be aware that this can take as long as an hour. Continue until the vet is able to insert an oxygen tube into the dog’s airway to provide mechanical ventilation.
If your dog’s heartbeat has stopped, perform cardiac massage in alternation with with the artificial respiration.
Place your hand on his/her chest behind her front leg “elbow”
Lock your fingers together and lock your elbows.
Press down gently but firmly. Press 15 times in 10 seconds
Return to artificial respiration. However, if you need to perform cardiac massage as well as artificial respiration, it should be 15 compressions to one breath.
Add an abdominal squeeze. Slip your left hand under the abdomen and use your right hand to “squeeze”. The purpose of this movement is to assist recirculation of blood to the heart.
Continue alternating. Perform 15 compressions, one breath, and a squeeze. If two rescuers are available, alternate the compression and the squeeze, one person taking compression and the other the squeeze.