If you’re like most pet owners, you shudder to think about a life-threatening pet emergency. However, the odds of a happy ending are greatly increased when you have the right knowledge and resources to help your pet.

Knowing how to perform pet CPR is an incredible asset to any responsible owner, and The Pet Experts are here to help you get started!

It Can Happen Anywhere

Pet emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime. The most important thing to remember is that your pet needs help immediately. Whether this means bringing them in to our hospital or performing pet CPR yourself, acting quickly and calmly makes a big difference.

Pet CPR 101

Pet CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is pretty much the same regardless of the animal, but certain biological differences will determine the specifics. Basically, the goal is to manually circulate oxygenated blood from the heart to the brain and back again.

To facilitate pet CPR, we recommend adhering to the following protocol:

  1. Secure the area; make sure there are no other threats to your pet’s safety or to your own.
  2. Place your pet on their right side, preferably on a blanket on a flat surface.
  3. Assess whether your pet is breathing (look-listen-feel).
  4. Check for any obstruction in the mouth or throat. The Heimlich Maneuver may be necessary.
  5. Gently pull out the tongue a little bit.
  6. Carefully pull up on the neck to straighten the throat, then tilt the head to one side.
  7. Check for a pulse on either the inside rear leg or the outside left leg.
  8. Check the color of their gums. If they’re blue, your pet needs CPR.

Two people are more effective than one when it comes to administering pet CPR (one can take over if the other gets tired).

You must firmly, yet gently, wrap one hand around the animal’s muzzle to keep the mouth closed. Cover their snout with your mouth, and blow into the nostrils. Check to see if the chest rises with air and exits before repeating. Aim for 1 rescue breath every 2-3 seconds until your pet is able to breath on their own.

No Pulse

If your pet does not have a pulse, you must begin chest compressions. For larger pets, place a flattened palm on the rib cage by the heart, and cover it with your other palm. For smaller animals, only use a thumb or two fingers. Commence steady compressions by locking your elbows and pressing in about ¼ of the width of the chest.

  • Aim for 30 compressions and 2 rescue breaths.
  • Check for a pulse every 2 minutes.
  • Continue pet CPR until you feel a steady heartbeat and the animal is breathing independently.
  • Stop after 20 minutes.

Seek Help

Not every pet emergency ends with heroic, life-saving measures, but having a basic understanding of pet CPR definitely improves the chances of rescue and recovery.

As always, please contact us with any questions or concerns. Naperville Animal Hospital is always here for you!