A Practical Guide to CPR for Different Breeds of Dogs


Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique that can be performed on dogs experiencing cardiac arrest or respiratory distress. While the basic principles of CPR are similar for all dog breeds, there are some important considerations and techniques that vary based on a dog's size and breed. In this guide presented by MyCPR NOW, we will explore a practical approach to performing CPR on different breeds of dogs to increase the chances of successful resuscitation.

1. Assessing the Situation:

Before starting CPR, assess the dog's condition and the presence of a pulse or breathing:

- For larger breeds: Place your hand on the dog's chest to feel for a heartbeat or breathing.
- For smaller breeds: Place your fingers on the side of the dog's chest to detect a pulse.

2. Establishing Airway and Breathing:

- For larger breeds: Gently tilt the dog's head back to open the airway and check for any obstructions in the mouth or throat.
- For smaller breeds: Be cautious when tilting the head, as their delicate necks are more vulnerable to injury.

3. Performing Chest Compressions:

- For larger breeds: Place both hands over the dog's ribcage and compress the chest firmly.
- For smaller breeds: Use your thumb and fingers to compress the chest gently. Avoid excessive force to prevent injury.

4. Rescue Breaths:

- For larger breeds: Cover the dog's entire nose with your mouth and give rescue breaths.
- For smaller breeds: Use your mouth to cover the dog's nose and mouth partially for rescue breaths.

5. Ratios for Compressions and Breaths:

- For larger breeds: Perform compressions at a rate of 100-120 per minute and give rescue breaths every 6-8 compressions.
- For smaller breeds: Perform compressions at a rate of 100-120 per minute and give rescue breaths every 3-5 compressions.

6. Considerations for Brachycephalic Breeds:

- Brachycephalic breeds (e.g., Bulldogs, Pugs) have shortened airways, making them more prone to respiratory distress and choking.
- Be cautious when opening their airways to avoid worsening any existing respiratory issues.

7. Tailoring CPR for Toy Breeds:

- Toy breeds (e.g., Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers) have delicate bodies and require gentle handling during CPR.
- Adjust the pressure applied during chest compressions to avoid causing internal injuries.

8. Monitoring Vital Signs:

- Continue CPR until the dog's heartbeat and breathing resume, or until professional veterinary help is available.
- Check for signs of circulation, such as a pulse or chest movement, to assess the effectiveness of your efforts.


Performing CPR on dogs can be a challenging yet life-saving endeavor. Remember that successful CPR depends on early recognition of the problem, prompt initiation of the technique, and proper adaptation to the dog's size and breed. While it is essential to learn the basics of CPR, seeking professional veterinary help should always be a priority to ensure the best possible outcome for your beloved pet. By being prepared and knowledgeable, you can be a vital link in the chain of survival for dogs experiencing cardiac or respiratory emergencies.

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