How to Administer CPR to Your Dog

If your dog is not breathing or doesn’t have a pulse, you can administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in an effort to save your canine companion’s life.

1

Position the dog on her side.

Make sure she's out of traffic and further danger.

2

Clear the dog’s mouth of any foreign matter.

3

Hold the muzzle closed with your hands and give mouth-to-nose respiration at a rate of 12 to 15 breaths per minute.

Watch for the chest to rise to be sure the air is getting into the lungs. If the chest doesn’t rise, check again for anything that may be obstructing airflow.

4

Begin chest compressions.

With a large dog, kneel at the dog’s back. Push the dog’s uppermost front leg forward out of the way. Lay one hand over the other and compress the chest wall over the heart (right about where the dog’s elbow would be with the leg at rest) with the heel of your hand.

Push gently, and then let go immediately. For a very small dog (one weighing less than 30 pounds), lay the dog on her right side, place your thumb and fingers on either side of the chest and compress from both sides.

Regardless of the size of the dog, do 60 to 80 compressions per minute (approximately one compression a second), and don’t compress the chest for more than a split second or the heart won’t have room to beat.

If you’re alone, give one breath and then five chest compressions. If you have help, one person can perform mouth-to-nose respiration while the other compresses the heart. In that case, give one breath for every 3 to 4 chest compressions.

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