OC Safety strives to provide the best in CPR training for those located in or around Orange County, CA. While it goes without saying how important of a role CPR plays in our lives and the lives of our loved ones, what usually goes unsaid is that some of our loved ones are actually our furry little friends. Whether your animal of choice is a dog or a cat, we usually take their companionship and cuddliness for granted, but what happens when our poor furbabies find themselves struggling for air?
Pets dedicate their lives toward loving and helping us humans in any way they can. They express their love and share their cuteness with us through the endless amount of cuddling after we’ve had a hard day, listening to all our troubles, keeping us company while we’re lonely, or even posing for instagram-worthy photo and video.
As their best friend, the least we can do is learn pet CPR and be prepared in case of emergency. While we don’t offer pet CPR training, we’re more than happy to give you the basics in case the unthinkable happens to our fluffy friend!
How to Perform CPR on Your Pet
If your pet becomes unconscious, first and foremost – don’t panic! As traumatic and terrifying as this may be, you will need to stay calm during this process. Just like if a human would fall unconscious, you’re going to have to immediately perform CPR on the little guy. The procedure of performing CPR on your pet (let’s say dog) is as follows:
- First, you need to lay your dog on his or her side on a flat surface.
- Check to see if your dog is still breathing. You can do this by watching the movement of your dog’s chest or feeling for it with your hand. You can also check by placing your hand in front of your dog’s nose to feel for breath. A clear sign that your dog isn’t getting enough oxygen is if the gums are blue or gray.
- If your dog isn’t breathing, you’ll first want to make sure that the airway is clear. Extend the head and neck, open your dog’s mouth, and look to see if there are any foreign objects inside. If there’s an object blocking the airway, grab the tongue and pull it outward. If this isn’t enough to get the object out, use your fingers or a tool such as pliers to grab it and pull it out. Please be careful not to push the object in farther.
- If the object cannot be pulled out, you’ll have to try the Heimlich maneuver. To perform the Heimlich maneuver, you’ll put one hand on your dog’s back and the other on the belly, below the ribs. With your hand on the dog’s belly, give several sharp pushes inward and upward. Check for foreign objects in the dog’s mouth and remove them. After that, close the mouth and give a few small breaths through your dog’s nose. Repeat this process until you’re sure that the airway is cleared.
- When the airway is cleared, lift your dog’s chin to make sure his or her neck and throat is as straight as possible.
- Hold your dog’s mouth shut and gently breathe into the nose. By doing this, the chest should slightly expand.
- Wait until the air has left your dog’s lungs before you breathe in again. You should take one breath about every four seconds. Continue this until your dog starts breathing on his or her own or the heartbeat stops. Keep monitoring your dog’s heartbeat during this process.
- If your dog’s heart has stopped beating, you’ll want to start giving chest compressions. The size of the dog will determine the way you perform the compressions. For puppies, you should probably only use your thumb. For bigger dogs, you’ll use either use all your fingers or your palm. You should squeeze the chest to approximately half of its normal thickness or about one inch inward.
- Compress the chest at a rate of about 80 to 100 times per minute. Make sure to alternate one breath for every five compressions.
It’s important to note that a dog’s heart will keep beating for several minutes after he or she stops breathing. If your dog’s heart stops beating at any point, you’ll need to immediately begin chest compressions in order to keep the blood pumping.
Similarities and Differences of Human and Pet CPR
Performing CPR on humans is very similar to performing it on pets because the concept is the same. You’re performing CPR in order to circulate blood and also breathing to attempt to oxygenate the system. However, there are still a couple of key differences. Some of these differences include:
- With humans, you start with chest compressions right away before moving on to the airway and performing rescue breathing. With pets, you start by checking the airway.
- There’s also a difference between the breathing rate. While you’ll be giving two rescue breaths after every 30 chest compressions on a human, you should give about one breath after every five compressions on a dog.
- Obviously, dogs are small, soft, and innocent animals – they can’t take quite the punishment that a human can. Therefore, when performing chest compressions, you’re going to be more forceful when it’s a human rather than a little furbaby.
Having said that, CPR is mostly the same between humans and pets. Just remember this – with humans, you’ll want to follow the C-A-B method (compressions, airway, breathing). Pets follow the A-B-C method (airway, breathing, compressions).
Contact OC Safety Today!
If you would like to learn more about CPR, feel free to contact us with any of your questions or concerns. If you’re interested in registering for our classes, you can do so online or by giving us a call at (714) 960-1911. We look forward to seeing you and we sincerely hope you put this knowledge to good use; your dog will thank you for it! Woof!