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Emergency CPR Instructions – How to Save the Lives of Cats or Dogs!

If you notice breathing problems, changes in the blinking routine, choking or unconsciousness with your dogs or cats then it is time for you to perform CPR. This is the main procedure you apply when your pet has a serious lack of oxygen. It is useful to know how to do this in an emergency situation when you do not have time to call the vet.

The procedure is more or less the same both for dogs and for pets, but due to their different size the positions are slightly different.

The general points when performing CPR are as follows:

  • According to the most recent recommendations the ventilation ratio is 30 compressions then 2 breaths
  • Massage the thoracic area, i.e. the chest, particularly the cardiac area so you encourage better blood an oxygen flow
  • Never forget the three most important steps: airway, breathing and cardiac compression.
  • These recommendations apply both for big and small dogs and for cats.

CPR for dogs

We provide you short description of how you perform the three steps mentioned above.

Step 1

Put the dog on a firm surface, his/her chest facing upwards so that you can provide free airway. Lateral position is also acceptable.

Step 2

Check if there is a foreign body stuck in the mouth of the dog. If there is you, try to carefully remove it, so that the object is not swallowed or breathed in.

Step 3

Gently close the muzzle of the dog and leave the nostrils open. Take five or six breaths and blow them in the nostrils. The breaths depend on how big the dog is. For small dogs, there should be shallow and short breaths, for bigger dogs there should be deeper and longer breaths. The breath ratio should be one breath every 20 seconds, i.e. about 20 breaths in one minute.

Emergency CPR Instructions Short Guides Save Lives Cats Dogs 1

Step 4

See if there is a pulse. You check the pulse either on the inside part of the thigh, above the knee, or on the thorax with your elbow touching the middle of the chest. If there is no pulse continue to perform the mouth-to-snout resuscitation, but also begin massaging the cardiac area.

Step 5

Start applying compressions, usually on the widest part of the thorax. Depending on the form of the chests the application of the cardiac massage is as follows:

  • Chest in a form of a keel – compressions applied directly on the location of the heart
  • Chest in a form of a barrel – compressions applied like with people, directly over the heart
  • Small dogs – one hand around the breastbone or the arms around the ribs
  • Big dogs – over the heart with two hands one over the other
  • Puppies – compressions performed with the thumb or with just one hand

Emergency CPR Instructions Short Guides Save Lives Cats Dogs 2 Emergency CPR Instructions Short Guides Save Lives Cats Dogs 3 Emergency CPR Instructions Short Guides Save Lives Cats Dogs 4

Step 6

When performing the compressions make sure you use the heel of the hand and that your elbows are straight. The initial rhythm should be 30 compressions with 2 breaths and if the dog is not breathing then you switch 100 to 120 compressions in a minute.

Step 7

CPR is performed in 2 cycles and regular checks are being made whether the dog has started breathing.

CPR for Cats

Step 1

Bear in mind that all the above stated steps referring to CPR on dogs, also apply to cats.

Step 2

The main difference being that CPR on cats is usually performed by having one hand around the breastbone or the arms around the ribs

Emergency CPR Instructions Short Guides Save Lives Cats Dogs 5

Step 3

Two-handed compression may also be applied to cats, while the thumb compression is recommended for little kittens.

Emergency CPR Instructions Short Guides Save Lives Cats Dogs 6

In the meantime try to call or rush to the vet.

Credits: Dog Heirs

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