American Red Cross chapters offer certification in pet first-aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Canine CPR should be done only on animals that are not breathing and have no pulse or heartbeat; it should never be attempted on conscious dogs. To begin CPR, lay the dog on its right side.
The same principles of human CPR--airway, breathing and circulation--apply in canine CPR. The dog's head is tilted back, the airway is opened, and the tongue is pulled forward to check for debris.
The dog's mouth and lips are held closed while the resuscitator gives it four to five breaths through its nose. For dogs under 30 pounds, the animal's mouth and nose are fully covered before giving a breath. Compressions are given where the left front leg's elbow touches the chest when bent.
The Red Cross recommends that dogs 90 pounds and less get one breath for every five compressions; dogs more than 90 pounds receive one breath for every 10 compressions. Compression depth is half an inch to an inch for dogs less than 30 pounds, and from one to three inches on larger animals.
Check for a pulse or breath sounds every two or three minutes. Canine CPR should be performed until a veterinarian can step in, or for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, it is unlikely the dog will survive.
An October 2009 Associated Press-Petside.com poll found that 63 percent of dog owners would be somewhat likely to put mouth to snout in a medical emergency. Women were more likely to perform CPR than men.
- "Pet First Aid: Safety Series, Vol. 2;" American Red Cross; 2008
- Poll: How Safe Are America's Pets
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