Learning Pet CPR Could Save a Life
Generally speaking, the more we know, the better off we are. Of course, being informed certainly makes Trivial Pursuit more fun, but knowing what to do in a crisis situation is priceless. In the case of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), it’s critical to not only know how to perform this procedure, but when it’s necessary, as well.
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to learn pet CPR, you’ve come to the right place!
Similar (But Different!)
Performing pet CPR is remarkably similar to human CPR. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a combination of chest compressions and artificial respiration, also known as rescue breathing. If a pet loses consciousness, they may stop breathing and suffer cardiac arrest. Rescue breathing and chest compressions can help keep the blood pumping if the heart stops.
Envision the Crisis
Not every pet owner can harness an inner calm during a pet emergency, but if you mentally prepare for this type of crisis, your efforts will be more effective.
It’s important to remember that performing pet CPR on a healthy animal can be extremely dangerous and should only be employed when absolutely necessary.
Learning Pet CPR
If your pet stops breathing for any reason, initiate pet CPR. First, lay your pet on their right side on a flat surface. Then perform the following steps:
- Confirm that their chest isn’t rising.
- Check for a pulse below the animal’s wrist, inner thigh, ankle, or where the left elbow touches the chest. Do not proceed if there is a pulse.
- Check their gums. If blue or grey, they need oxygen.
- Pupils will be dilated.
- Extend their neck and head and tilt backwards to see if there’s an obstruction in their airway. Foreign objects lodged in the throat can be removed with fingers, tongs, or pliers. The Heimlich maneuver may be necessary.
- Start CPR with chest compressions.
- Place the heel of one hand directly over your pet’s heart and put your other hand on top. Barrel-chested dogs should be on their back, with compressions on the sternum.
- Press about ⅓ to ½ the width of their chest at a rate of 100-200 compressions per minute.
- After 30 compressions, lift the chin and straighten the throat. One hand should get a hold of the muzzle to keep the jaws closed.
- Commence rescue breathing by covering the nose with your mouth and blowing gently.
- Notice the chest expanding.
- Wait for the chest to go down before blowing more air into the nose.
- The pattern is 30 compressions, 2 rescue breaths.
- Every 2 minutes, check for a pulse and breathing.
- Continue pet CPR until your pet breathes independently and has a steady heartbeat again.
If possible, alternate with another person, as pet CPR can become quite tiring after a while. If your efforts haven’t proven effective in 20 minutes, it’s recommended to stop providing CPR.
Save a Life
We hope that your pet (or one you know) never needs resuscitation. However, knowing how to perform this technique can save a life. Even if you’re able to get a heartbeat going, it’s important to have your pet examined and tested after the incident.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about your pet’s health and safety. Our veterinarians and staff members are here to help!
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Schertz Animal Hospital
Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!