Choking treatment for dogs

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3 min 11 sec
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Choking is a serious concern when it happens. It is actually quite rare in dogs for them to choke, and they will often clear an obstruction by themselves. But if you believe your dog is truly choking on something, the first thing to do is look in their mouth and see what it is. Be careful, your dog is going to be quite distressed and they may try and bite you if they are unhappy or painful with what you are doing, so do be careful. But this is the best chance you have got at number one, looking at what they might be choking on if you are not already sure what it is. And also, potentially removing it for them. So open their mouths and have a look, and if there is something that you can get hold of, then take it and put it out of their mouth.

But you have to be careful so that you don't end up putting pressure on it and pushing it further into their mouth. If you are unable to get the obstruction out by doing that, then you're going to look at doing a dog abdominal thrust manoeuvre to try and help remove the obstruction by putting pressure on the diaphragm, to put pressure on the chest to expel air to try and get rid of that obstruction. Depending on the size of the dog, you are going to hold them or put your fingers or your fists in a different place. With small dogs, it's better to try and pick the dog up and hold it to you to do this abdominal thrust. And what you are aiming to do is to put pressure on their abdomen just behind where the rib cage ends. You should be able to feel this point here, and you are going to put both hands to try and push up as hard as you can to apply pressure onto the chest. So the direction of the pressure should be towards the head. With a small dog, I would pick them up, hold them to me, and with both hands push into yourself to try and remove the obstruction. You can do this three, four, five times. And after you've done that, you should go back and look in their mouth and see if you've managed to move anything and take it out.

You don't have a lot of time to do this. And if you are unable to clear that obstruction after the abdominal thrust, you need to try and get them to your vets as soon as you can. By all means, if you have somebody in the car that can continue to do this on the way to the vets, it's absolutely fine to do so. But do not spend too long doing this, because it could be at the cost of your animal.

If you have a very large dog, you will have to get down to them because you will not be able to hold them to yourself. So you either get them standing slightly in a downward position to try and help with the gravity, and do exactly the same thing with your fist underneath the rib cage, and apply the pressure, pressing against yourself to try and expel that air. If you have an unconscious animal, you may want to try again to remove the obstruction if they have gone from being conscious to unconscious. Or maybe that they are on their side and you need to properly get underneath them to do that abdominal thrust. As I say, the most important thing is, do not to spend too much time doing this. Every minute counts for the choking episode, and it's really important you get them to the vets as soon as you possibly can.