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Date Posted:02/12/2009 2:12 AMCopy HTML

How to Give Canine CPR

By Lori S. Mohr (as referenced by First Aid For Dogs by Tim Hawcroft)

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is the process of breathing life back into an unconscious human. A similar technique can also work effectively on dogs.

The signs that indicate the need for CPR include unconsciousness, lack of arousal, lack of physical movement, or eye blinking. These symptoms can occur from drowning, choking, electrical shock, or a number of other situations.

The key to canine CPR is remembering the ABCs:

   Breathing, and
   Cardiac compression.

To perform the three techniques, follow these steps.

   Lay the dog on a flat surface on its right side and extend the head back to create an airway.

   Open the jaws to check for obstructions, and if any exist and are not easily removed, do one of two things, depending on the size of the dog.
   For small dogs, hold them upside down by their back end and shake vigorously to try removing the obstruction.
   For large dogs, lay them on their side and, if necessary, use long-nosed pliers to remove the obstruction.

   Cup your hands around the muzzle of the dog's mouth so that only the nostrils are clear. Blow air into the nostrils with five or six quick breaths, again, depending on the size of the dog.
   Small dogs and puppies and require short and shallow breaths.
   Larger dogs need longer and deeper breaths.
   Continue the quick breaths at a rate of one breath every three seconds or 20 breaths per minute.

   Check for a heartbeat by using your finger on the inside of the thigh, just above the knee. If you don't feel a pulse, put your hand over the dog's chest cavity where the elbow touches the middle of the chest.If you still don't find a pulse, have one person continue breathing into the nostrils (mouth to snout), while another gives cardiac massage.

   Give the dog a cardiac massage by placing both hands palms down between the third and sixth rib on the chest cavity.
   For large dogs, place your hands on top of each other.
   For small dogs or puppies, place one hand or thumb on the chest.

   Use the heel of your hand(s) to push down for 10 quick compressions and then check to see if consciousness has been restored. If consciousness has not been restored, continue the compressions in cycles of about 10 every six seconds for 10 cycles a minute.

   After each cycle of compression, the other person should give the dog two breaths of air in the nostrils. If only one person is present, this procedure can still be done successfully.

Once the dog has started breathing, contact a veterinarian immediately.

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Date Posted:02/12/2009 2:13 AMCopy HTML

Here are CPR instructions, as supplied by Dr. Wendy Wallace.

CPR - Caridopulmonary resuscitaion - is an attempt to supply blood flow and oxygen to the tissues of the body when normal respiration and/or heart function have failed. Time is critical as irreversible tissue damage occurs within 2-4 minutes of respiratory or circulatory arrest. Signs of cardiac arrest include unconsciousness, cesssation of breathing, pale to grey-white gums, dilated pupils.

  1. Check for heart activity
    • listen to the chest
    • feel for pulses - femoral artery

  2. Call for help if available!

  3. Airway
    • open mouth, pull out tongue, look and feel for obstructions
    • Clear mucus. Careful - DO NOT GET BITTEN!
    • extend head and neck.

  4. Breathing
    • with head and neck extended, hold dog's nose with his mouth closed.
    • inhale, place your mouth over dog's nose and mouth and exhale, watching for chest expansion as you blow.
    • remove your mouth to allow lungs to deflate.
    • rate is 12 - 20 breaths per minute.

  5. Circulation - CPR
    • for deep-chested dogs, place dog right side down with his spine against your body.
    • position your hands one on top of the other with fingers entwined and the heel of the palm at approximately the level of the 4th - 6th rib, 1/3 of the way up the chest from the sternum.
    • apply compression in a firm, steady downward motion, release.
    • rate: approx 100 - 120 cimpressions/minute
    • single resuscitator: 2 breaths / 15 compressions
    • double resuscitators: 1 breath / 3-5 compressions
    • check efficiency by feeling for pulses
    • prognosis is poor if fixed and dilated pupils do not constrict down after initiation of CPR.

Check the books on canine health care listed in the Dogpatch bookstore for more info and diagrams on how to correctly do CPR. More First Aid information can be found at GRCCNY. You can also get a printable CPR brochure.
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