January 22, 2010 by Kelley  
Filed under Dog Health

If your dog was to stop breathing or have a heart attack would you know what to do?  The Red Cross has started to teach people how to do CPR and basic first aid on their dogs. Depending on where you live they may use a stuffed dog to demonstrate on. Some Red Cross chapters do not have a Resuci Rover, as official training dummies are called.
If you have ever taken a human CPR you’ll find dog CPR is very similar. Your dog’s heart is on its left side, just like humans. When performing CPR on your dog compressions should be quick, two or three every second, and should compress the dog’s rib cage 1 to 3 inches. On small dogs, it’s best to put one hand under the dog’s rib cage and use both hands to compress the chest cavity so as not to risk breaking any ribs.

If your dog is unconscious and possibly not breathing you want the neck and head tilted back as straight as possible. Open the mouth and check to see if there is something in the airway. Pull the tongue forward to open the airway.  Then check to see if the dog is breathing. Look, listen and feel like you do with a human.

At that point, you cup the dog’s nose and mouth in your hands and breathe into the dog’s nose. The technique is referred to as “rescue breathing” and should be used every three to five seconds while checking to see if the dog is breathing. If the dog is not breathing and has no pulse, you begin CPR. The best place to check the pulse is an artery on the inside of the left leg.

You don’t want to give compressions if there is a pulse, the dog might just have a blocked airway, and you need to get the airway opened.

A dog’s heart is located just behind the bend of its left elbow and that’s where compressions should be performed. Just like in humans, place one hand over the other and lock elbows to give compressions.
If there are two people, you’re going to have one person doing breaths while the other person is doing compressions.

For most dogs, the rule of thumb is one breath then five compressions if there is one rescuer, if you have two people use one breath then three compressions. For dogs weighing more than 90 pounds, the rule is one breath then 10 compressions for one person or one breath then six compressions for two people.

The course covers CPR, treating wounds, fractures, choking, hypothermia, heat stroke and poisoning.

I am definitely going to check and see if my local Red Cross is offering this class, if so I’m signing up.

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