Pet CPR: A Step-by-Step Guide

I've always known that CPR can save human lives, but I didn't realize until recently that it could also save the lives of our beloved pets. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique that can help a dog who has stopped breathing or whose heart has stopped beating. This guide will walk you through the steps of administering CPR to your pet in an emergency situation so that you're prepared if something like this ever happens to your pooch!

First, check for a pulse.

To check for a pulse, place your fingers on the inside of your dog's elbow and feel for a heartbeat. If you can't find one, proceed with CPR.

If there is no breathing or pulse after 10 minutes of trying to revive your pet with mouth-to-snout resuscitation, call 911 or take him/her to an emergency veterinary clinic immediately!

If you are alone and cannot perform CPR, call 911 immediately. If there is no breathing or pulse after 10 minutes of trying to revive your pet with mouth-to-snout resuscitation, call 911 or take him/her to an emergency veterinary clinic immediately!

Next, check for breathing.

Look for the chest to rise and fall as air moves in and out of the lungs. The dog's nose may flare when it breathes in and flatten as it exhales. You can also feel breath on your cheek--if you feel warm, moist air blowing against your face, this is good news!

If you don't see any signs of breathing at all (i.e., no movement of the chest), try giving two quick puffs of breath into its nose before starting compressions again (if there is no improvement after 30 seconds). If these efforts fail to revive the animal within one minute's time frame or if you see no improvement after three minutes of total CPR time spent attempting resuscitation attempts with chest compressions only (without artificial respiration), then stop trying--it's time to move onto other things like getting help from a veterinarian or vet tech ASAP while keeping an eye on your pet so they don't suffer further injuries during transport home without proper care first being given here at home first!

If there are no signs of breathing or a heartbeat, begin chest compressions.

  • Use two fingers on the chest to push down in a straight line.
  • Push hard enough to compress the chest 2-4 cm (about 1 inch).
  • Push fast enough to compress the chest at a rate of 100 per minute (a little less than twice as fast as you would normally count).

To check for breathing, lean down toward your dog's nose and look, listen, and feel for three seconds; if you see no rise and fall of the chest area between breaths then get ready to open their mouth and look inside for obstructions like grass or sticks that may be blocking their airway

After 30 compressions, provide two breaths into his nose.

  • To do this, tilt your dog's head back, open the mouth, and breathe into it slowly but deeply. You should see his chest rise as you do this. If you don't see any movement in his chest or he doesn't start breathing again within 10 seconds of giving him the breath, immediately start doing CPR again for 1 minute before giving another breath or three minutes if there's blood in his nose (see below).
  • After each breath is given, count to 15 seconds before starting another cycle of 30 compressions followed by two breaths into your pet's nose for a total of four cycles--that means two sets of 30 compressions followed by two sets of 15 seconds rest between each set at which point you'll give another set of compressions/breaths until they're stable enough to be transported safely back home (or wherever else they need medical attention).

Continue CPR until help arrives or the dog begins to breathe again on his own.

If the dog is still not breathing, continue chest compressions. If the dog has a heartbeat and is still not breathing on his own after 20 minutes of CPR, seek medical attention immediately.

If your dog has no pulse and isn't breathing, start mouth-to-nose resuscitation using barrier protection such as gauze or tissues to avoid germs while you work. (Don't forget to check for other signs of life.) Locate your pet's heartbeat by placing two fingers just behind its elbow joint; if you don't know where this is, ask someone who does or consult an online guide like [this one].

If you know what to do in an emergency, you can save your dog's life.

CPR can save your dog's life.

CPR is a skill that can be learned in an hour or less by anyone who wants to learn it. It doesn't require any special tools or equipment--just a little bit of motivation and determination!


In the event of an emergency, it's important to know what to do. Knowing how to perform CPR on your dog can save his life. It's a good idea to practice with him so that you're prepared in case something goes wrong, but don't be afraid if it turns out that he has already learned this skill himself!


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