If your small dog collapses and stops breathing, you have no time to lose. You can perform CPR on your pet, preferably while someone else transports you both to the emergency vet clinic.

Ask your vet to show you how to perform CPR on a small dog during your next vet visit, before you ever need to do it. If you haven't had any instruction and find yourself in a position where you need to perform pet CPR, here are the basic directions:

1. Put animal on his side, being careful not to overextend his neck.

2. Check for foreign objects in his throat, swiping with a hooked finger to remove anything blocking his airway.

3. Gently pull your pet's tongue forward so it's even with his teeth (to prevent the tongue from slipping back into his throat) and close the dog's mouth.

4. Exhale gently into the dog's nostrils, hard enough that you can see his chest expanding.

Doing so makes his chest inflate.

5. Take your mouth off the dog and let him exhale naturally.

6. Repeat, giving one breath about every two seconds, checking for breathing after every four to five breaths.

If your dog starts breathing, stop breathing for him.

If your dog's heart isn't beating (you can't hear a heartbeat when you put your ear to his chest), begin chest compressions as follows:

1. Place the dog on a firm flat surface on his right side.

2. Cup your hands and put them on both sides of the rib cage at the level of the dog's elbows (above the heart.)

If the dog is a puppy or a very small dog (less than ten pounds), use your thumbs instead of your hands).

3. Squeeze on both sides of the chest and then release.

A squeeze and release should take about one second.

If your pet isn't breathing and doesn't have a heartbeat, you can do artificial breathing and chest compressions at the same time. Give one breath for every three to five chest squeezes.

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