Feb 25 2013

How to perform Pet CPR on your dog or cat

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If your pet appears to be in shock or unresponsive following an accident or other incident, you’ll want to follow the ABCs of Pet First Aid right away and have someone call your vet immediately. The ABCs include: 

Make sure your pet keeps breathing. Clear the mouth and throat of any obstructions such as vomit, saliva or foreign bodies (grass, sticks, toys or balls). CAUTION! Your pet may bite you in panic, so be very careful. 

If your pet doesn’t appear to be breathing, try gently pumping the chest with the palm of your hand while feeling just behind the elbow to detect a heartbeat or pulse. 

Cardiac (heart) function
If you don’t detect a heartbeat or pulse, or if it appears weak and slow, try the Pet CPR steps below:

1. Lay the pet on its right side if possible. 

2. Feel for a heartbeat or femoral pulse (inside the leg in the groin region). Pets DO NOT have a neck pulse that’s easy to find! 

3. Bend your pet’s left forearm and observe the location where the elbow touches the chest. This is close to the middle of the rib cage. 

4. In that spot, place one hand on each side of the chest and vigorously compress the chest 3-5 times followed by 2 rescue breaths. (Do 3 compressions every 2 seconds more or less). 

5. If the pet is under 20 pounds or 9 kg., use one hand to compress the chest from both sides by putting your fingers on one side and your thumb on the other side of the chest. 

6. Try to compress the chest wall at least 30%. This is ½-1″ (1-2 cm) in small dogs and most cats, and 1½-2″ (3-5 cm) in larger dogs. 

The American Red Cross offers additional pet safety tips and classes, plus printed materials on how to administer pet CPR and other emergency care.


Excerpted from an article written for LifeLearn/MyPetED.com by Ernest E. Ward, Jr., DVM. Caution: These news items, written by LifeLearn Inc., are licensed to this practice for the personal use of our clients. Any copying, printing or further distribution is prohibited without the express written permission of LifeLearn Inc. Please note that the news information presented here is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation and/or clinical examination of your pet by our clinic veterinarian.

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