In a poll conducted by AP last year, 58% of pet owners – 63% of dog owners and 53% of cat owners said they would perform CPR on their pet. Many of us probably have some basic first aid kits for ourselves and our pets but many of us may not know how to perform CPR on our furry friend.
It’s actually very similar to performing the technique on a person but the major difference is size. Performing CPR on a pet can be a bit riskier because a pet who is in panic mode may bite, thrash, and scratch. If your pet is able to breathe and move but is injured, then seek emergency care. However, if your pet is unconscious and there is no risk of being bitten, you can safely use CPR.
Here are the four basic steps:
1: Remove any obstruction. Open the mouth and make sure the airway is clear.
2: Extend the head and give several artificial respirations. For a large dog, close the jaw and breathe into the nose. The chest should rise. Give 2 breaths. For a smaller dog or cat, you can cover the nose and mouth with yours and give 2 breaths.
3: Next begin chest compressions. Large dogs you can position the dog on its back and compress just like you would on a person. On smaller dogs and cats you can turn the animal on its side and compress the side of the ribs. You can also try laying the animal on its back and compressing both sides of the ribs. Be careful to not push too hard.
The rate of compression varies with the animal. Larger dogs need 60 compressions a minute. Dogs under 50 lbs and cats need anywhere from 80 to 120 compressions a minute.
4: Alternate breaths with compressions.
Your local American Red Cross offers courses on CPR for people and pets. As much as we try to keep our pets safe and healthy, you never know what they may swallow or get into and it’s important to be prepared. You could save a life.