The Do's and Don'ts of Performing CPR on Pets

Just like humans, our beloved pets can experience medical emergencies that may require immediate attention, including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). As responsible pet owners and caregivers, knowing the proper techniques for performing CPR on pets can make a crucial difference in saving their lives. In this blog post, we will explore the do's and don'ts of performing CPR on pets, empowering you to respond effectively during emergencies and provide your furry companions with the best chance of survival.

The Do's of Performing CPR on Pets:

1. Assess the Situation: Before attempting CPR, ensure that the environment is safe for you and the pet. Remove any potential hazards and assess the pet's responsiveness.

2. Check for Breathing: Determine if the pet is breathing. Look for chest movements, listen for breath sounds, and feel for airflow near the nostrils or mouth.

3. Perform Chest Compressions: If the pet is not breathing, perform chest compressions. Place the pet on a firm surface, lay them on their right side, and position your hands over the widest part of their chest. For large dogs, use both hands; for small pets, use one hand. Compress the chest about 1/3 to 1/2 of its width, allowing it to fully recoil after each compression.

4. Administer Rescue Breaths: After 30 chest compressions, give rescue breaths. For dogs, close the mouth and extend the neck, then blow air gently into the nostrils until you see the chest rise. For cats and smaller pets, cover the nose and mouth with your mouth and deliver gentle breaths.

5. Alternate Compressions and Breaths: Continue to alternate between 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths until the pet resumes breathing, shows signs of recovery, or until professional veterinary help is available.

6. Time is of the Essence: Perform CPR as quickly as possible, but also call for emergency veterinary assistance or ask someone else to do so while you administer CPR.

The Don'ts of Performing CPR on Pets:

1. Don't Perform CPR on a Breathing Pet: If the pet is breathing and shows signs of consciousness, CPR is unnecessary and may cause harm.

2. Avoid Forceful Compressions: Be gentle when performing chest compressions to avoid causing injury to the pet's ribs or internal organs.

3. Don't Perform CPR on Injured Pets with No Heartbeat: If the pet suffered severe trauma or obvious fatal injuries, CPR may not be effective, and you should focus on seeking immediate veterinary care.

4. Avoid Human CPR Techniques: Human CPR and pet CPR have differences, including the location for chest compressions and the method for rescue breaths. Use proper pet CPR techniques to ensure effectiveness.

5. Don't Hesitate to Seek Professional Help: While pet CPR can be life-saving, it is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always seek immediate veterinary attention for your pet after performing CPR.

6. Avoid Delaying CPR: Act promptly when you suspect your pet requires CPR. The sooner CPR is initiated, the higher the chances of a positive outcome.


Knowing the do's and don'ts of performing CPR on pets can be a life-saving skill for pet owners and caregivers. Being prepared to respond effectively during a medical emergency can make all the difference in saving a beloved pet's life. Remember to assess the situation, check for breathing, and perform proper chest compressions and rescue breaths. However, always prioritize safety, seek professional veterinary help, and remember that pet CPR is not a substitute for immediate medical attention. By understanding the essential guidelines for pet CPR, you can provide your furry companions with the best chance of survival during critical situations.

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