Performing the Heimlich Maneuver and CPR on Pets

Dog and Cat1

Being prepared for a veterinary emergency is more than having a pet first aid kit in the house. Few pet owners know what to do if their dog or cat begins choking on food or falls unconscious. Did you know that you can perform the Heimlich maneuver and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on your pet? You should always seek out your veterinarian for help, but there are a few simple tips to know for a sudden life-threatening veterinary emergency.

Heimlich Maneuver

If your dog or cat begins choking on food, carefully feel around the mouth for the obstruction. If you can’t pull it out, you can try the Heimlich maneuver. For large dogs, stand behind them and wrap your arms around their belly and push upwards. If they are unconscious, you can do this with them lying down. For small dogs and cats, you can pick them up and perform the maneuver in a couple of different positions, as demonstrated in the video below.

Heimlich maneuver for small dogs and cats:

Heimlich maneuver for large dogs:

CPR for Pets

Lay your pet on his side and check for breathing and a pulse. If your pet is not breathing: for small dogs and cats you can put your mouth over the pet’s nose and mouth, and for medium to large dogs blow into the nose. If air is not going in, try the Heimlich maneuver. If you can’t detect a pulse, perform chest compressions as demonstrated in this video:

It is critical to get your pet to the vet as soon as possible if there is no breathing or pulse.  For more information, click HERE.