Pet First Aid and CPR: Essential Training for Animal Lovers

You may have heard that dogs and cats are man's best friend, but did you know they're also our first responders? That's right! Animals can save your life when it matters most. They can alert you to dangerous situations with their keen senses, and they may even be able to spot signs of illness before we do ourselves. And guess what else? Animals can perform CPR on us if need be: In fact, some dogs actually worry about their owners when they're gone for extended periods of time. So if you want to become an animal lover who's prepared for anything—even the worst-case scenario—you should learn how to perform CPR on your pet from a professional trainer like me!

What You'll Learn

You'll learn how to perform CPR, stop choking, treat burns and cuts, and other first-aid procedures. We'll also cover some less serious but still important things like allergies and vomiting.

  • How much medicine should you give? For example: if your pet has had surgery or is taking medication for an illness, there are certain rules of thumb that will help you determine how much of the drug (or food) they should have each day.

You might not think about these things until something happens, so it's good to know what's best for your four-legged friend!

Why is CPR for animals important?

  • Animals can't speak, so they cannot tell you if they are in pain.
  • Animals can't tell you if they are choking on something.
  • Animals can't tell you if they are having a heart attack or stroke (yes, it does happen).
  • What happens when an animal is choking? It depends on what the object is:
  • If it's food, try to get the animal to cough up whatever was stuck in its throat by gently rubbing its back and giving him/her some time to relax; don't try to pull anything out yourself! You could make things worse by doing so!
  • If it's fabric or other material like rope or string from toys/chew toys then make sure there aren't any sharp edges somewhere that might cut through skin tissue as well since these can also cause severe damage if left untreated quickly enough which could lead up into needing surgery later down future years after all this happened due simply because no one knew how serious these injuries were back then when first occurred (and still do today).

When to start CPR on an animal

If an animal has stopped breathing or is not breathing, you should start CPR.

You should also perform chest compressions if the animal is unconscious and has no pulse.

If your pet is having trouble breathing or gasping for air, it may be a sign that they are experiencing cardiac arrest (heart attack). If this happens:

  • Call your veterinarian immediately! You need to get professional help right away!
  • Begin chest compressions on the side closest to your body as described above until emergency responders arrive (about 60 seconds).

How to perform CPR on an animal

If you're not sure how to perform CPR on your pet, the technique is the same as it is for humans. First, check that there's no pulse by feeling the animal's neck. If you don't feel a pulse, call your veterinarian immediately and begin chest compressions (about 1/3 of all pets who receive CPR survive). You should also check for breathing by looking at their mouth and nose--if they're not breathing normally or if there is foam coming out of their nose or mouth, get help right away!

If you do have a pulse but your animal isn't breathing well enough on its own yet after several rounds of chest compressions (about 100 per minute), try giving them breaths through pursed lips.

Is it okay to give an animal mouth-to-mouth?

When it comes to performing CPR on animals, there are some key differences. Unlike humans, many animals can breathe through their nose instead of their mouth. That means you don't have to worry about giving them mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if they're unconscious; instead, just make sure that their airway is clear and keep breathing into their nostrils until they start breathing again on their own (or until help arrives). If the animal is conscious but not breathing normally--for example because it has been hit by a car--then give them artificial respiration using chest compressions similar to those used in human first aid: place one hand on top of the other over the middle of its chest and push down hard enough so that you feel resistance against your hands when they meet at full depth; repeat this process 15 times per minute until help arrives or until normal breathing resumes.

If an animal appears unresponsive after being hit by a car or suffering from other injuries, check for signs of life immediately by placing two fingers at each side of its neck near where its collarbones meet under its jawline; gently tilt back its head slightly so that you can feel for pulsing blood vessels underneath the skin there (these will be easiest felt if you use both hands). If no pulse is detected within 10 seconds after checking this way without success--and especially if there's any doubt about whether or not airways are clear--try performing rescue breaths by covering both nostrils with one hand while blowing firmly into the mouth using short puffs followed immediately by gentle pressure against chest wall below ribs while listening carefully for sounds indicative of successful resuscitation efforts (such as coughing).

How to stop a choking animal from breathing or swallowing food

The Heimlich maneuver is a life-saving technique that can be used to dislodge food or other objects from an animal's throat. If your pet is choking, first try to remove the object by hand. If you're unable to do so and they are still conscious, follow these steps:

  • Place one hand over their chest and use your other hand in a fist shape to apply pressure on their abdomen just behind the ribcage (the area where you would normally check for a heartbeat).
  • Squeeze until you feel resistance; then release, remove your hands from under their belly, and place them back over their chest again before repeating this process two more times if it doesn't work within 30 seconds of doing so initially.
  • If this does not work after three attempts, proceed with CPR by finding where the heart is located (it will feel like soft tissue) on either side of the spine; then administer rescue breaths by blowing air into its nose/mouth until it starts breathing regularly again (this may take several minutes).


  • If you're concerned about your pet, take them to the vet immediately.
  • Don't try to perform CPR on an animal that is not breathing or has no pulse.
  • Use the same technique as for humans: chest compressions, followed by mouth-to-snout resuscitation (if necessary).
  • Do not attempt mouth-to-mouth unless instructed by a doctor or veterinarian; this may cause harm if done incorrectly and it's never advised for conscious animals anyway! Instead, use an animal-specific epi pen if available; otherwise administer oxygen via nasal cannula at low flow rates until help arrives or the animal starts breathing again on its own (usually within minutes).


The most important thing to remember is that you should never hesitate when it comes to helping an animal in distress. If something seems wrong or out of the ordinary, don't hesitate to call for help and get medical attention immediately. The more prepared you are, the better off both you and your pet will be!


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