Learn how to do CPR on a dog before you really need it

I have recently been taking doggy first aid lessons after hearing several tragic and heartbreaking stories. I realising that I don't know what to do if my dog was severely injured or fighting for his life.

how to do CPR on a dog

Having this important knowledge can save your dog's life in that tragic event. So I felt it important to share as much as I can to help others.

What I did learn is that lifesaving techniques, in particular, CPR and resuscitation have changed dramatically. I also found that that dogs traditionally have a much lower chance of survival than human patients.

New research for CPR

The Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care recently published findings on research that was conducted on CPR techniques.  

They found that there was no standard technique for CPR for dogs and developed a guide to the best techniques to increase your dog's chance of survival.

Another surprise to me was that the old method of ABC (Airway, Breathing, Circulation) has changed. We now follow the CAB (Circulation, Airway, Breathing) method.

When your dog goes into shock, blood flow is directed away from outer areas to more critical organs like the heart and brain.  CAB ensures that blood flow is restored to your dog's body. After blood flow is circulating, then breathing can provide important oxygen. 

The correct CPR Technique

The journal recommends:

  1. Perform chest compressions at about 100-120 compressions per minute. Compress one-third to one-half of the chest width, with the animal lying on its side​
  2. Ventilate dogs at a rate of 10 breaths per minute or 30 compressions to 2 mouth to nose breaths.
  3. Perform CPR in 2-minute cycles before checking for vital signs 

When doing chest compression, as with humans, it is best to make the compressions directly over your dog's heart. I learnt a really interesting method of finding the location of your dogs heart. 

  1. Have you dog lying on his side.
  2. Take their front leg and bend it back at the elbow.
  3. Where the ​elbow comes into contact with your dog's chest, this is the location of your dog's heart.

​Pretty nifty little trick isn't it!

The image below shows several chest compression techniques depending on your dog's chest size and shape: 

how to do CPR on a dog

Image courtesy of the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care

This image shows the correct mouth to nose resuscitation technique: 

how to do CPR on a dog

Image courtesy of the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care

If like me,  you fear being totally helpless while your dog is struggling for life, learn these simple techniques to help bring your dog back to life.

Learn more about saving your dogs life 

how to do CPR on a dog

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