How to Perform CPR on Your Dog

As a pet owner, knowing how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on your dog can be a crucial skill that can save their life during a medical emergency. Just like humans, dogs can experience cardiac arrest or respiratory distress, and immediate action is essential to maintain vital functions until veterinary help is available. In this guide, we will outline the steps to perform CPR on your dog, emphasizing the importance of preparation, recognition of emergency situations, and proper technique.

  1. Preparation and Safety:

Before attempting CPR on your dog, ensure your safety and the safety of your pet. Follow these initial steps:

- Move your dog to a safe and stable area where you can perform CPR comfortably.

- If possible, enlist the help of another person to assist you during the process.

- Stay calm and focused to provide the necessary care

  1. Assessing Responsiveness:

Determining your dog's responsiveness is the first step in assessing the need for CPR. Follow these steps:

- Check for signs of consciousness by calling your dog's name and gently tapping their body.

- Observe for any signs of movement or response.

- Look for signs of normal breathing, such as chest rise and fall.

  1. Checking Airway and Breathing:

If your dog is unresponsive and not breathing, it is crucial to clear the airway and check for signs of breathing. Follow these steps:

- Gently open your dog's mouth and check for any visible obstructions, foreign objects, or mucus.

- Extend your dog's head and neck to create a straight line from the snout to the spine.

- Close your dog's mouth and cover their snout with your mouth or use a snout-to-mouth barrier device designed for pets.

- Provide rescue breaths by blowing into your dog's nostrils, ensuring the chest rises with each breath.

  1. Performing Chest Compressions:

If your dog is unresponsive and not breathing, chest compressions are necessary to restore circulation. Follow these steps:

- Place your dog on a firm surface, preferably on their right side.

- Locate the area for chest compressions, which is just behind the elbow.

- Interlock your hands, placing one hand on top of the other, and position them over the compression area.

- Apply firm, downward pressure using your body weight, compressing the chest approximately one-third to one-half the depth of the chest.

- Perform compressions at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute, allowing for complete recoil of the chest between compressions.

  1. Combining Rescue Breaths and Compressions:

Effective CPR involves a combination of rescue breaths and chest compressions. Follow these steps to alternate between the two:

- Administer two rescue breaths after every 30 compressions.

- Continue the cycle of 30 compressions and two rescue breaths until your dog shows signs of recovery or professional veterinary assistance is available.

- Regularly assess your dog's responsiveness and breathing status during the process.

  1. Seeking Veterinary Assistance:

While CPR can provide temporary support, it is vital to seek immediate veterinary assistance for proper evaluation and treatment. Contact your veterinarian or emergency animal clinic and inform them about the situation and your actions.

  1. CPR Certification for Pet Owners:

Consider obtaining CPR certification specifically designed for pets. These courses provide hands-on training, practical demonstrations, and valuable knowledge to effectively handle emergency situations with your dog.


Knowing how to perform CPR on your dog can be a lifesaving skill that every pet owner should possess. By being prepared, recognizing emergency situations, and following proper CPR techniques, you can provide immediate care to your dog during a medical crisis. Remember, CPR is not a substitute for professional veterinary care, so seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible. By being proactive and confident in your abilities, you can potentially save your dog's life and provide them with the best chance of recovery. 

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