How to Give the Heimlich Maneuver to Dogs

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If you've ever had a pet emergency, you know that time is of the essence the same as with a human. If your dog chokes, you should be aware of this life saving technique. The Heimlich Maneuver for dogs is fairly easy to apply as long as you remember the key steps.

Verify that your dog is truly choking, and not having breathing difficulties. A choking dog will have bulging eyes, paw at their face and try to cough.

Grasp your dog's lower jaw with one hand and its upper jaw with the other, leaving your forefinger free to reach the obstruction. Open your dog's mouth and try to see the object and pull it out with your finger. Remember that dogs have small bones in their throats; don't try to grab something that you can't see.

Lie your dog on its side with the hindquarters higher than his head. A blanket or rolled up towel can be placed under her rear to lower the head if you can't lie it on a slanted surface.

Grasp your hands under the lowest ribs and press in three to five times in a thrusting motion. Be careful of the ribcage; you need to be below the ribs to expel any air that's in his lungs.

Contact your veterinarian once the crisis is over, in case your dog has suffered internal injuries that are not immediately obvious.

Tips & Warnings

  • A small dog can be held upside down to perform the Heimlich Maneuver.
  • A large dog can be held from the rear to perform the procedure from behind while standing.
  • Your dog may snap at you once she's out of distress, so be wary of the mouth once the crisis is over.

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