Thursday, March 31, 2011

Knowing Basic CPR Can Save Your Dog's Life

If you ever find yourself in a situation where your dog stops breathing, as in the case of the video below, the dog Sugar featured in this video suffered a seizure which resulted in him not breathing on his own.  It is important to know the basics of how to resuscitate your dog should you ever encounter a situation similar to this one.

Watch as the dog trainer steps in and saves Sugar's life. 
**Warning - this video was difficult for me to watch until I saw that Sugar got up and was ok.

Basic CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is the treatment necessary to save a dog's life in the event that it stops breathing.

Step 1:  Make sure the dog is unconscious 
Only perform CPR on a dog if you are certain that he is unconscious.  You could risk serious injury if you began CPR and he woke up disoriented.  Talk to the dog softly, rubbing and shaking him gently to check that he is unconscious.

Step 2:  Clear his airway

Extend his head and neck, trying to keep them aligned.  Open his mouth and pull his tongue forward.  Use your finger to clear the mouth of any saliva or vomit.  Do not begin CPR until you are sure the airway is clear; otherwise you run the risk of pushing foreign matter down his windpipe.

Step 3:  Check for effective breathing

Sometimes, merely getting the dog's head and neck in proper alignment will help him begin breathing spontaneously. Watch for his chest to rise and fall and listen for sounds of breathing. If you can't see clear evidence of breathing within 10 seconds, begin CPR.

Step 4:  Begin CPR
Pull the tongue forward and hold the mouth and lips shut using both of your hands cupped around his muzzle. Seal your mouth over his muzzle and blow air through his nostrils until his chest expands.  Exhale four or five rapid breaths and see if he begins breathing on his own. If he does not begin to breath, or if his breathing is irregular or shallow, continue with the CPR until you reach the veterinarian's office.

Every few seconds, depress the stomach area to expel any air that may have gone into there. The pressure from a distended stomach renders the CPR less effective.

Even if you are successful with your resuscitation, take your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up to ensure that his body has returned to normal with no lasting damage.