• Linda Healy

Heimlich Maneuver for a dog

If a dog starts choking or appears to have difficulty breathing, it may have an obstruction in its throat. Employ the following maneuver to repair the problem.


1) Open up the dogs mouth and look at the back of its throat. If you can see the object causing the choking, remove it. If the dog is unconscious, pulling its tongue forward will give a better view and perhaps dislodge the object.


2) If the dog is small enough, pick it up and hold it by the hips in the air with his head down. For larger dogs, hold the hind legs in the air so its head hangs down. These techniques may cause the object to simply drop out. If not, you must preform the Heimlich Maneuver.


3) With the dog either standing or lying down, place your arms around its waist with hands clasped around its stomach. Close your hands into one fist and place it just behind the last rib.


4) Compress the stomach by pushing up five times rapidly.


5) Sweep your finger through the dog's mouth to see if the object has dislodged.


6) If it hasn't strike the dog sharply between the shoulder blades with the flat side of one hand, then repeat abdominal compressions. Alternate these procedures until the object is dislodged.


7) If the object is dislodged but the dog no longer appears to be breathing, continue to the next section on artificial respiration and CPR


Artificial Respiration and CPR


As with humans, dogs whose respiration and/or heart has stopped can be assisted with artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), However, these are last ditch procedures that should only be attempted if you are absolutely sure the dog has stopped breathing. Place your hand on the left side of the chest to feel for a heartbeat (if you find one, the dog is still breathing). Alternatively, hold a mirror in front of the dog's nose and watch for condensation (if you see it, the dog is still breathing).

1) Inspect the airway for obstructions. Lay the dog on its side. tilt its head slightly back, pull the tongue out of the way, and use your fingers to feel for and remove obstructions. Perform the Heimlich Maneuver if necessary. If clearing the obstruction does not reinstate normal respiration, proceed to the next step.


2) Be sure the dogs neck is straight. For medium to large dogs, place your hand around the muzzle, hold it closed, and place your mouth around its nose. For smaller dogs under 30 pounds your mouth should cover the dogs nose and lips.


3) Give 4 or 5 quick breaths.


4) Check for a response. If normal breathing resumes, stop. If not, or if breathing is shallow, resume CPR. Give 20 breaths per minute


5) Check for a heartbeat by placing your hand on the left side of the dog's chest. If none is detected, begin compressions along with rescue breathing.


6) For small dogs, place your palm and fingertips over the ribs at the point where the elbow meets the chest. Kneel down next to the dog, then compress the chest approximately 1 inch, twice per second. Alternate every five compressions with one breath. After 1 minute, check for heartbeat. If none is found, continue.


7) For medium to large dogs, kneel down next to the canine, extend your elbows, and cup your hands on top of each other. Place hands over the ribs at the point where the dog's elbows meet the chest, then compress it 2 to 3 inches one and a half to two times per second. Alternate every five compressions with one breath. After 1 minute, check for heartbeat. If you find none continue.

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