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Jefferson Emergency Outer Loop Giving a Pet CPR

How To Administer CPR To A Dog or Cat

Home • Emergencies • How to Administer CPR To A Pet

If your pet stops breathing, it may be necessary for you to administer life-saving CPR. If you are uncomfortable with administering CPR yourself, get the help of someone nearby who can perform the technique.

Check the Pet’s Airway

1.  Lay the pet on its side
2.  Extend the head and neck by pulling the chin back, straightening the neck.
3.  Open the pet’s mouth, grasp the tongue and pull it straight out.
4.  Reach your hand into the pet’s mouth carefully, and clear any debris (If a large amount of fluid is present, use cotton balls or cloth to clear the airway.

Check for Breath

1.  Once the airway has been cleared, place both hands around the pet’s muzzle and hold its mouth closed.
2.  Take a hard, deep breath and place your mouth over the pet’s nose.
3.  Exhale the full breath into the pet’s nostrils while watching for the chest to rise.
4.  Repeat this breathing every five (5) seconds, stopping after every few breaths to see if the pet has begun to breathe on its own.
5.  If the pet is not breathing at this point, or if it is breathing very shallow breaths, continue with the assisted breathing.

Begin Chest Compressions

The position and force of chest compressions is dependent upon the weight and size of the animal:

Cats and small dogs

  • Place the pet on its right side with the chest facing you
  • Put your left hand under the chest, with your palm behind the elbow. Place your right hand to the opposite of your left
  • Compress the chest approximately one inch with the base of your palms. Use your fingers to keep the pet from sliding back

Medium dogs

  • Kneel on the floor and place the pet on its right side with its back facing you, touching your knees
  • Place your left arm under the pet’s body and rest your elbow next to the abdomen; your palm should be at the spot behind the pet’s elbow
  • Lean over the dog, and place your right palm on the top side of the chest just opposite your left
  • Begin compressing the chest approximately one inch with the base of both palms
  • Use your fingers to keep the pet from sliding

Large dogs

  • Kneel on the floor and place the pet on its right side with its back facing you, touching your knees
  • Straighten your elbows and cup your hands together, interlocking your fingers
  • Place your palms at the spot behind the elbow (on the side of the chest facing up)
  • Begin stiff arm compressions, and compress approximately 1 ½ to 3 inches in.  Do not bend your arms

Rate of Breaths to Compressions

If you are administering CPR alone:

  • Cats, small dogs and medium dogs should have five (5) compressions to every one (1) breath
  • Large dogs and giant breed dogs should have five (5) to six (6) compressions to every one (1) breath

If you are assisting another person with CPR:

  • Cats, small dogs and medium dogs should have three (3) compressions to every one(1) breath
  • Large dogs and giant breed dogs should have ten (10) to twelve (12) compressions to every one (1) breath
  • Alternate breaths and compressions. Check for a pulse and for breath after each set of compressions.

CPR should be performed only when medically necessary. Although this information is general in nature, it is your responsibility to assess your pet’s condition and determine if you should administer CPR. While it is a life-saving technique, please be aware that CPR can result in minor injury to the pet, and you assume all risk associated with its administration.