The Basics Of Pet CPR

11 May 2018
 Categories: , Blog


If your pet ever passes out and either isn't breathing or doesn't have a heartbeat, or both, you can assist your pet by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly known as CPR. You can take a pet first aid class in your local community or online to learn pet CPR and first aid.

Check for Breathing and a Heartbeat

The first thing you need to do is figure out if your pet is breathing. Look at their chest and see if it is moving up and down to determine if your pet is breathing. You can also get close to their mouth to see if they are pulling in air.

After that, check and see if your pet has a heartbeat. Your pet's heart is located on their left side, behind their front leg.

Provide Chest Compressions

If you can't find a heartbeat or hear your pet breathing, you are going to want to start by giving chest compression. Chest compression is the most important thing you can give. How you place your hand and provide chest compressions depends on the size of your pet.

For very small dogs and cats, you are going to want to put the heel or base of your hand over their heart, located behind their front leg on the left side. Then, wrap your other hand on top of your first hand.

For dogs with deep chests, you are going to want to put your hand over the biggest part of their chest instead of directly on top of their heart. For large dogs with barrel chests, you are going to want to put your dog on their back and put your hands over their sternum, then use the weight of your body to give chest compressions.

Once you start compressions, you want to compress your pet's chest about halfway down, and you want the chest to come up before you compress again. Chest compressions are the most important thing you can offer.  

Give Rescue Breaths

In order to give rescue breaths, you are going to want to actually close your pet's mouth. Make sure your pet's neck is extended and that their airway is open.

You are going to actually breathe into your pet's nose, not their mouth. Put your mouth around your pet's nose and blow in air until your pet's chest rises. It is advisable to give two rescue breaths at a time to your pet.

Check Vitals Again

Ideally, you should keep up CPR on your pet until they either start breathing or have a detectable heartbeat again. Or you should continue CPR until you can get your pet to a local veterinary hospital. You may want to enlist someone to assist you with CPR, as it can be a tiring process.

To fully learn how to perform pet CPR, you should take an in-person or online certification class. You want to make sure that you fully understand how to correctly give and perform CPR on your pet. Contact an animal hospital such as 1st Pet Veterinary Centers for more information.