Pet CPR

Knowing pet CPR can be extremely valuable when an emergency situation arises. Below are instructions on how to perform CPR on a pet. Certainly, hands on pet CPR experience is the most valuable, so we encourage all pet owners to attend a pet CPR demonstration or instructional class.

No Heartbeat

Before starting chest compressions, be certain that there is no heartbeat. Performing chest compressions while the heart is still beating can cause extreme harm to your pet.

Signs:

  • Unconscious
  • Not breathing
  • No heartbeat

Step 1: Confirm No Heartbeat

  1. Open your pet’s airway by gently extending his neck and clearing any obstructions.
  2. Check for a heartbeat by placing your hands on both sides of your pet’s chest, right behind the elbow/armpit area. Feel for a beat for 10 seconds.
  3. If there is no heartbeat, begin chest compressions and mouth-to-muzzle breathing.

Step 2: Begin Chest Compressions

  1. Carefully lay your pet on his right side on a hard surface such as an ironing board, which can also be used as a stretcher.
  2. Interlock your fingers with both palms facing down to administer compressions. Give approximately one compression per second (60-100 beats per minute) for 30 seconds, be careful not to crack the ribs. Compress the chest by about 1/3 of its normal diameter.
    1. If your pet weighs fewer than 30 lbs, administer compressions directly over their heart.
    2. If your pet weighs more than 30 lbs, administer compressions on the widest part of their chest.
  3. Wrap both hands tightly around your pet’s muzzle so no air can escape. Give five breaths of 2-3 seconds each by blowing directly and steadily into his nostrils.
  4. Continue chest compressions and mouth-to-muzzle breathing until your pet’s heart starts beating on its own. Have someone drive you to a veterinarian while you perform CPR.
  5. Go immediately to a veterinary hospital, calling ahead so that they’re prepared for your arrival.

 

Not Breathing

If your pet is not breathing, it’s important to act quickly- lack of oxygen can cause brain damage after only a few minutes.

Step 1: Check for Signs of Breathing

Check for breathing in one of three ways:

  1. Place your ear next to your pet’s nose and mouth and listen for breathing.
  2. Place your hand on the side of your pet’s chest to see if it rises with a breath.
  3. Feel for air movement out of your pet’s nostrils.

Step 2: Clear the Airway

  1. Gently extend your pet’s neck.
  2. Grab his tongue and pull it clear of his mouth.
  3. Check for visible obstructions (such as a toy or ball) and remove with your finger.

Step 3: Mouth-to-Muzzle Breathing

If your pet isn’t breathing, start performing CPR.

  1. Lay your pet on his side.
  2. Wrap both hands tightly around your pet’s muzzle so no air can escape.
  3. Place your mouth over your pet’s nostrils only. Blow into their nostrils for 2-3 seconds.
  4. Remove your mouth for three seconds and check for breathing. Give 20 breaths per minute.
  5. Repeat until your pet is breathing on his own.
  6. Go immediately to a veterinary hospital, calling ahead so that they’re prepared for your arrival.