Dog CPR

Video 16 of 54
5 min 56 sec
English
English
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With the dog that isn't breathing, it may be that they are just not breathing, but their heart is still going. Or it may be that their heart has stopped as well, so there's a difference in what you would theoretically do. And if you can still feel a pulse, we have discussed earlier having to find a pulse, then if you find a pulse and you are happy that the heart is still going, you can just be rescue breaths. And this might happen in something like a drowning incident where you poured your dog out of the water and they've inhaled that much water and they have stopped breathing, but actually their heart is still going. If you are going to do that and you are just going to be giving breaths, you are looking at giving five rescue breaths at a time, and then stepping back and seeing if your animal is breathing by itself. In all situations, you would give them at least 10 seconds to watch and listen and feel to see if there are any breaths. Because the normal breathing rate does vary from dog to dog, but they should have at least one breath within a 10-second period.

If you are sure that there were no breaths, you can start doing the rescue breaths. And in dogs, we do mouth-to-snout breaths. So you would hold the dog's mouth closed and pull the tongue to the side of their mouth so that this cannot roll back and it cannot be chewed on. You are then looking at aiming your mouth towards the nose to do these rescue breaths. In a very small dog or a small cat, or any cat, for example, you will end up putting your mouth over the nose and the mouth together, because the nose itself will be too small for you to get your mouth to stay for that. But in this situation, you would close the mouth and just aim, do your breath into the nose.

When you are doing the breath, you want to make sure you are coming all the way back and not leaving your mouth on the nose, because you want that breath to come back out once you have given it. You can watch your dog's chest as you are giving the breath, and you may see it rise. In very deep barrel-chested dogs, you may not see too much. So don't panic if you are not seeing the chest rise. You would just go down to the nose and do the five breaths, spacing them up to three seconds in between.

After your five breaths, you stop and monitor again and see if there is any sign of breathing. Also, at this point, want to check for a pulse. And if you can feel one, by all means, carry on with the rescue breaths. If you are in a situation where your dog isn't breathing and you forget to check for those pulses, you are fine to carry on and go for the full CPR process. If you do remember to check for a pulse and you cannot feel that pulse, you are going to go for full CPR anyway. In reality, you will probably be panicking and won't remember all of this information. It's the best thing to do is to do something rather than nothing and give your dog a chance of survival. With CPR, you would do your five rescue breaths and then go to a cycle of two breaths and 30 compressions in the chest. When you are looking at doing the compressions, you want the dog to be on their side, ideally the right-hand side. And in a dog this kind of size, you would look at doing your compressions with them laid on the ground or on a table wherever they are, and putting pressure over where the heart would be. A rough idea of where to find the heart would be if you bent the leg back where the elbow met the side of the chest here. With the compressions, you ideally want to compress the chest to about 50% of the chest depth.

Thirty compressions are going to be hard work, and so if you have two people, you would ideally have somebody doing the breaths and somebody else doing the compressions and keep swapping every couple of minutes to give yourself a little bit of a break. In a smaller animal where you can actually fit your hands around the whole of the chest, you are going to do what's called circumferential compression. And this is where you are using your hand to press against as if you think you are pumping the heart or pumping anything there. With these little animals, sometimes the pressure from the floor or the ground that they are on is not enough to properly compress the heart, and you are better to do the compression with your hand underneath. With very large round-chested animals, we are actually over their chest, they are actually quite far away from the heart, they are better to be on their backs. And you can do a sternal compression, and this is where you go more around where the armpit is to do your compressions. And you will have better access to the heart in those cases.

So you want to be doing two breaths, pull the tongue out to the side of the mouth, close the mouth, mouth over the nostrils, potentially over the mouth and nostrils in the smaller animals, two breaths, and over to your compressions. With the compressions, you always want to make sure you allow recoil, full recoil of the body between each compression. Because if you keep your hands and pressure on the chest, you are not actually allowing full pumping of the heart, so you need to press up. 30 compressions and the rate with which we do them is 100 to 120 compressions per minute, which will be the average for most dogs. 30 compressions, two breaths, Keep doing this for as long as you want to do it. But in most cases, if there is no sign of life after 10 minutes, there is unlikely to be a good resolution. With CPR, there is still a very low chance of your dog surviving. But you are better to try something. You cannot do any harm at this point, your dog is already not breathing and potentially their heart has already stopped. You cannot make the situation worse, so it's worth giving this a go and giving it your all-knowing that, unfortunately, it may not make any difference, but it's the best chance that your dog has.