CPR in Dogs
Someday may mean the difference of life and death in your best friend

CPR in dogs may be needed as emergencies can happen at any time in dogs, and being prepared or at least understanding some of the basic techniques could save your dog’s life.

In many cases, the initial treatment that you can perform before you can get your dog professional care may make the difference between life and death.


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, can be performed in dogs and it is really quite simple.

It may also be the most important thing you could ever learn in saving your dog’s life.

It is quite similar to the same process in people, as it is an emergency measure to take when your dog’s heart or breathing has suddenly stopped or they are in great distress.

One of the most important things to understand with CRP in dogs is that it will not restart their heart.

However, the purpose is to keep them alive until it begins to beat on its own or until medical assistance is delivered.

It will not always be successful but it will at least give your dog a chance at surviving.


There are three basic functions of CPR; the airways, the breathing, and the circulation.

If your dog is suddenly in complete distress, do not panic; that is the worst thing you could do.

Stay calm and take immediate notice of your dog’s posture.

Also, look for the presence of blood or any type of vomit as well as checking the breathing pattern and any type of sound that they may be making.

Also, quickly survey the area for any possible toxins or poisons or any other type of material that may have caused the sudden difficulty in breathing.

However, before you apply CPR in dogs, check their pulse and make sure they are indeed not breathing.

If they do have a pulse and you can sense breathing, do not give CPR as it can be dangerous if they are breathing normally.

If they do not have a pulse or are having difficulty in breathing, immediately check both their throat and mouth for any foreign object that may be stuck.

However, if they do have something stuck, be very careful and hold the mouth, as even dogs that are not alert may still bite from instinct.

With these types of emergencies, lay your dog on their side, and then gently tilt their head back just a few degrees but be careful you do not over extend the neck.

Next, pull their tongue out of their mouth, and carefully sweep with your fingers for anything that may be blocking the airway.

Fainting in dogsA full understanding of CPR in dogs may save them one day

There could be an object or vomit that is causing the obstruction. You cannot do this to a human, but you can safely do it to your dog.

Next check their breathing, and if they are breathing at all, get them to a position that is more comfortable for them to breath.

If not, than very gently straighten the neck and start the CPR in your dog.

If you have a medium to large dog, you will perform a mouth to nose breathing.

Gently close your dog’s mouth and lips by holding both the lips and the nozzle closed. Than place your mouth over your dog’s nose and breathe into them.

If you have a dog that is smaller, cover both their lips and mouth with your mouth as this will form a seal.

When you breathe, exhale as powerfully as you possibly can after at least five quick breaths into your dog.

Larger dogs will require at least twenty breaths each minute, while smaller dogs will require twenty to thirty breaths. After you have done this a couple of times, check their breathing again.

If it has not started or is very shallow, repeat the process.

If your pet is still not breathing, you will than need to perform the next step in CPR in dogs; cardiac compression.


In trying to stimulate your pets circulation with CPR in dogs, chest compressions will be the most effective.

Lay your dog on their side on as hard as surface as you can find.

If they are on a soft surface like grass, try to place something hard underneath them; the harder the surface the more successful this technique will be.

If your dog is a very large with a barrel chest, you should lay them on their back.

The size of your dog will dictate the next steps.

If your dog is a smaller dog less than thirty pounds, place your tips of your fingers directly over their ribs where their elbow meets their chest area.

Than kneel, and with the chest area as close as you can get it, start this phase of CPR in dogs.

You will need to pressure or press their chest at least one inch in depth at a very rapid rate; at least twice per second.

You will need to do at least five pressure techniques for every breath you are giving your dog.

It is helpful to understand that smaller dogs have a higher heart rate than a larger dog and they will need quicker pressure applied.

After at least sixty seconds, stop and check for a heartbeat; if there is none, repeat the process several times as needed.

If the dog is a larger dog, you will need to knell next to your dog with their back near you, and extend your hands into a cup shape over each other.

Than place your cupped hands as close as you can to the point where their raised elbow meets their chest and compress at least two to three inches at about twice per second, as a larger dog’s heart rate is slower.

You will need at least five compression's for each breath you are giving your dog.


CPR in dogs is not very useful if you do not understand how to check for a pulse in your dog.

Since this is the first thing you will need to do, most owners should practice it several times when dog is perfectly healthy to get a real handle on it in case you have to do it in an emergency.

In checking for a pulse in any dog, regardless of their size, the best place to check it is in their major artery in the groin area.

Place your fingers around the front of the hind leg and then move them up to the crease that is between their thigh and abdomen.

Than move your fingertips back and forth slightly on the inside of their thigh until you can feel their pulse.

When you first discover where it is at, it may be slightly alarming as it can be either very strong or very slight, depending on your dog.

When you are doing this, it is helpful to close your eyes and tune every other sound out while you are listening to the life beat of your dog.

Once you find it and can fell it, time it for fifteen seconds. Than take the count and multiply it by four to reach a duration of sixty seconds.

Normal pulse rates in dogs are 70 to 120 beats per minute, but smaller dogs can be slightly higher.


CPR in dogs will not be successful in all dogs; in fact the success rate is not that good.

But there is always the chance that it may be something very simple and this may be the only thing that will save your dog’s life.

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