HEIMLICH MANEUVER FOR DOGS AND CATS
The well known Heimlich Maneuver or 'Hug of Life' for removing obstructions in human throats works for dogs and cats too.
The objective is to compress the lower chest forcibly to raise air pressure inside the chest to blow the foreign material out of the throat or the larynx.
Here's what you need to do:
• Place the pet on its side on a hard surface.
• Place both hands behind the last rib and press down quickly and firmly - release immediately and repeat rapidly several times.
• Try to direct the force of your hands slightly forward - this will make your efforts more effective.
• Have someone carefully open the dog's or cat's mouth wide and attempt to retrieve the material from the throat as you compress the chest.
Once the airway is cleared, if the dog or cat isn't breathing, obviously artificial respiration is necessary.
Now, the important thing here to remember is - even though you've been able to release what the dog or cat is choking on, you still want to get them to a veterinarian to make sure no damage is done.
Now let me give you my version of the Hemlich Maneuver that I have used many many times on medium to larger dogs.
If you have a medium to large dog what you need to do is:
• Straddle your dog from behind.
• You put your fist just behind the last rib in the center - lifting up and forward - several quick motions.
• If there is a second person and they can open the dog's mouth - it works better.
And in many cases what is stuck in your pet's throat will come out.
Remember, then get your dog or cat straight to the veterinarian.
- Warren Eckstein
Giving Your Dog the Heimlich Maneuver
If a dog starts choking or appears to have difficulty breathing, it may have an obstruction in its throat. Employ the following maneuver to repair the problem.
Open the dog’s mouth and look at the back of its throat (Fig. A). If you can see the object causing the choking, remove it (Fig. B). If the dog is unconscious, pulling its tongue forward will give a better view and perhaps dislodge the object.
CAUTION: Even an unconscious dog may bite on instinct. Be careful.
If the dog is small enough, pick it up and hold it by the hips with its head hanging down (Fig. C). For larger dogs, hold the hind legs in the air so its head hangs down. These techniques may cause the object to simply drop out. If not, you must perform the Heimlich maneuver.
With the dog either standing or lying down, place your arms around its waist with hands clasped around its stomach. Close your hands into one fist and place it just behind the last rib.
Compress the stomach by pushing up five times rapidly (Fig. D).
Sweep your finger through the dog’s mouth to see if the object has dislodged (Fig. E).
If it hasn’t, strike the dog sharply between the shoulder blades with the flat side of one hand (Fig. F), then repeat abdominal compressions. Alternate these procedures until the object is dislodged.
If the object is dislodged but the dog no longer appears to be breathing, continue to the next section on artificial respiration and CPR.
Intro: Artificial Respiration and CPR for Dogs
As with humans, dogs whose respiration and/or heart has stopped can be assisted with artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). However, these are last-ditch procedures that should only be attempted if you are absolutely sure the dog has stopped breathing. Place your hand on the left side of the chest to feel for a heartbeat (if you find one, the dog is still breathing). Alternatively, hold a mirror in front of the dog’s nose and watch for condensation (if you see it, the dog is still breathing). Still another method is to place a cotton ball before the dog’s nose and watch for even the slightest movement in the filaments.
Artifical Respiration for Dogs
Inspect the airway for obstructions. Lay the dog on its side, tilt its head slightly back, pull the tongue out of the way, and use your fingers to feel for and remove obstructions. Perform the Heimlich maneuver if necessary. (See The Heimlich Maneuver.) If clearing the obstruction does not reinstate normal respiration, proceed to the next step.
Be sure the dog’s neck is straight. For medium to large dogs, place your hand around the muzzle, hold it closed, and place your mouth around its nose. For smaller dogs (under 30 pounds), your mouth should cover the dog’s nose and lips (Fig. A).
Give four or five quick, forceful breaths.
Check for response. If normal breathing resumes, stop. If not, or if breathing is shallow, resume CPR.
Give 20 breaths per minute for small dogs, or 20 to 30 breaths per minute for medium and large dogs.
Check for heartbeat by placing your hand on the left side of the dog’s chest. If none is detected, begin compressions along with rescue breathing.
For most dogs, compressions can be performed while the animal lies on its side (Fig. B). The back is better for barrel-chested canines such as bulldogs. Whatever the approach, be sure the dog is on firm ground. Compressions will not be effective on a soft surface.
For small dogs, place your palm and fingertips over the ribs at the point where the elbow meets the chest. Kneel down next to the dog, then compress the chest approximately 1 inch, twice per second. Alternate every five compressions with one breath. After 1 minute, check for heartbeat. If none is found, continue.
For medium to large dogs, kneel down next to the canine, extend your elbows, and cup your hands on top of each other. Place hands over the ribs at the point where the dog’s elbows meet the chest, then compress it 2 to 3 inches, one-and-a-half to two times per second. Alternate every five compressions with one breath. After 1 minute, check for heartbeat. If you find none, continue.
For very large dogs (over 100 pounds or 45 kg), compress the chest 2 to 3 inches once per second, alternating every 10 compressions with breath. After 1 minute, check for heartbeat. If you find none, continue.
CAUTION: The chances of reviving a canine with CPR are minimal. After 20 minutes of CPR, it is unlikely that the animal will be revived, even with professional intervention.
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