How To Perform CPR On Your Dog

In life it's best to be prepared for any situation, especially when it comes to your dog. Your dog could suddenly go into cardiac arrest, or suffer a seizure and stop breathing. If you cannot get to a vet, you have a 20-minute window to resuscitate. 70% of Americans may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency
because they either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has significantly lapsed. Having some basic training in CPR could start the process of helping your dog before you get to the vet.

What is CPR and the Signs A Dog Needs It?

CPR is a technique used on someone whose breathing or heartbeat has stopped. It helps to keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs. Knowing your pet's normal heart rate, breathing rate, temperature, and gum color, along with being cognizant of your pet's normal attitude...can help owners recognize a problem much sooner. Other signs indicating CPR is needed include your dog not breathing, blinking, pupils dilated and non responsive to light, or is unconsciousness. Gums and lips will appear gray colored. These signs can be a result of the dog choking, cardiac arrest, electric shock, drowning, or many other traumatic situations.

Performing CPR on Your Dog

Before you start it's best to remain calm and remember 'ABC'. ABC is similar to humans: check the Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. You want to make sure they actually need CPR because if they have a pulse you could hurt them. Remove any immediate dangers to you or the dog before beginning. Have someone get on the phone with an emergency veterinarian right away.  
  1. Find a sturdy flat spot and lay your dog on his RIGHT side
  2. Take the palms of your hands and place them on  your dog's rib cage over his heart
    • With smaller dogs and puppies you can use the one-handed technique. Wrap your hand around the sternum directly over the heart and squeeze
    • For dogs with barrel-chests, like English Bulldogs, you may perform CPR with the dog on its back
  3. Push down on his chest so that you are compressing it about 1/4th to 1/3rd of the way. You should do this at a speed of about 80-100 compression's per minute (See chart below for specific details)
  4. After every 5-10 compression's, hold his mouth shut, make sure it is completely closed, and breath into his nose twice
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until your dog is responsive or until about 20 minutes has passed


Remember your "ABCs," don't perform CPR if your dog is still breathing, as it could harm them even more, call an emergency veterinarian right away. Sometimes performing CPR for a few minutes will give the dog time to recover just enough to start breathing on his own again. It is imperative you are performing CPR while attempting to get to a veterinarian as soon as possible. You will need to visit the veterinarian for an appointment following the given CPR to make sure there are no other problems. Elaine Acker, former CEO of Pets America, demonstrates a technique for performing CPR on pets. 
Article Sourced from PetMD and the American Red Cross. Check for hands on courses at your local Red Cross.



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