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The Importance of Pet CPR and How to Do Pet CPR

Posted on October 17th, 2012  By Thoughts Fur paws

By performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), you have the power to rescue your loving pet and the knowledge to restore their breathing and heartbeat.

Similar to the guidelines for CPR on humans, pet CPR uses steps to adapt the same principals to save pets in emergency situations. Your actions may be the only chance your pet has to survive an accident or injury.

The Importance of Performing Pet CPRDogs and cats can have accidents in the home, such as electrocution from chewing on wires or playing with electric outlets. Pets may block their airways from toys, foods, fur balls, and they may vomit and stomach contents lodge in the throat. If you find your pet unresponsive to your call, quickly look around the area and see if any possible hazards may be present. If someone is with you, direct them to call a veterinarian emergency service while you inspect your pet’s condition.

Establish the Responsiveness of Your Pet

If they don’t respond to your voice, gently shake your pet and see if they’re asleep. Puppies and kittens sleep very soundly and you may have to shake them before they awaken. If your pet doesn’t open their eyes or respond, quickly position your cat or dog onto a hard surface on their right side and kneel down near their head. Remove their collar or harness.

Perform the ABCs of CPR

A. Open the AirwayGently open your pet’s mouth and carefully pull the tongue outward. Straighten their head to open the airway. Sometimes an unconscious pet will begin to breathe if the tongue was blocking the airway. Inspect the throat for objects, fur balls, vomitus, toys or food. If you do see matter blocking the airway, carefully remove it without pushing it further down the throat. If the throat is clear, listen, look and feel for the movement of air.

B. Breath Oxygen with Mouth-to-Snout
If no breathing is present, gently but firmly close your pet’s mouth, cup your hand around the snout and give two normal breaths. If your pet is a cat or a small dog, provide gentle “puffs” of air. Watch for the chest to rise and fall with each breath and adjust your pet’s head if the air is not entering the lungs. Remember to be careful; a scared and confused dog may bite out of instinct.

C. Check for Circulation and Pulse
To take the pulse on your cat or dog, press a palm against the ribs on the left chest just behind the elbow. If you can’t feel the heartbeat, take a second and adjust the placement or pressure of your hand and palpate the heartbeat again. Cats have a normal pulse of 130-240 beats per minute and dogs have a broader range of 70-160 beats per minute. The larger dog will have a slower heart rate than a smaller breed. If no pulse is located, begin chest compressions.

Locate the Heart and Apply Compressions

On the left chest; locate the middle of the 4th and 6th ribs, or where the elbow touches the chest. For medium to large dogs, place one hand over the other and intertwine your fingers. Start compressing the dog’s chest at a depth of one to three inches for 30-40 times a minute and alternate with two breathes.For cats, puppies, or smaller dogs, use one hand to encircle the chest and produce a squeezing motion around the rib cage with one thumb over the heart. Compress the chest 40-50 times per minute followed by one to two breaths.

Continue CPR

Continue compressions and breaths until your pet resumes responsiveness or help arrives. If an emergency veterinary service is not available, continue CPR while your friend drives to your veterinarian and calls ahead of time to inform them of your arrival.

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