How to Perform Dog CPR - CPR for Dogs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Saving Your Dog's Life
"Of course you don't ever plan on a situation in which Gonzo would need emergency CPR performed, but being prepared for even the worst situations is the best way to prevent tragedy from happening. Many people learn how to perform CPR on other humans in the course of their life, but it's much more rare for someone to learn how to do the same procedure on their canine companion-or in fact for them even to know it's possible! Well it is indeed possible, and it's something you should learn how to do just in case the unlikely situation should ever arise that Gonzo might need your help to start breathing again.
In any emergency situation, the best idea is to get Gonzo to the veterinarian or animal hospital as quickly as possible. But if you've determined that he's not breathing, performing CPR early enough may save his life before you get to the vet and it's too late.
One of the best ways to remember what to do during CPR is to remember the ""ABCs of CPR."" ABC stands for Airway, Breathing, and Compressions.
The first thing you should do when Gonzo isn't breathing is to check his airway. This means that you need to look into his mouth and see if something is stuck in his throat, preventing him from breathing. The beset way to do this is to lay him on his right side, open his mouth, pull out his tongue a bit and see if you can spot an obstruction. If something is there, you can try several techniques to get it out. You can try pushing up on the object from outside his neck, seeing if you can pop it out. If Gonzo is a small dog, you can lay him on his back and try to shake or push the obstruction out. Or you can reach in with your hand or some kind of tool to try to pull the object out.
Once you've got the object out, or if there wasn't anything in there to begin with, you can start on the B of the CPR ABCs. Usually for humans, you close the nasal passageways and try to pass breath through the person's mouth. For Gonzo, it's the opposite. Make sure his mouth is shut and then cover his whole nose with your mouth in order to pass breaths effectively. While breathing in, see if his chest expands with the air. If not, then there is probably something still blocking his throat. CPR won't work if there is something blocking the airway, so it must be cleared first. Repeat Step 1 until you are confident that nothing is obstructing Gonzo's airway.
If you can't detect a heartbeat, you'll also need to perform the C of the ABCs. Gonzo will need your help starting his heartbeat again in conjunction with the ""mouth-to-snout"" breaths. You'll need to put your hand on his ribcage while he's laying on his right side, just below his front elbow. This is where his heart is. Press down for 10 compressions steadily, and then return to give 3 or 4 breaths through his nose. Keep repeating this process until he starts breathing again or until you get to the vet for further assistance. If you're not alone, it may be helpful to have one person doing compressions and the other doing breaths.
If you're reading this article for preventative information, go ahead and try to locate Gonzo's heart now, so if the unlikely event does occur, you'll already know exactly where to start your compressions. Having to give Gonzo CPR is a scary situation and it's likely you'll be panicked and afraid. Just try to remember to stay calm and do your best. Remember that Gonzo senses and reacts to your emotions. If you are calm, he will also be calm. Being calm allows you to think straight and save Gonzo's life until you can get Gonzo to a vet."
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