How To Perform CPR On Your Pet

CPR in Pets

This is Dr. B from Pet Health and Lifetime Care Center on Desert Inn and today we will be discussing CPR in pets.

Giving your pet CPR is a situation that you never want to face but you should be prepared for in the case of an emergency.  CPR for pets follows the same ABC Guidelines as does CPR for humans.   A stands for Airway, B Stands for Breathing, and C stands for Circulation.

If your pet collapses, the first thing to look for is an airway obstruction.   Open your pet’s mouth and visually inspect it for any signs of a foreign object or obstruction.  Be careful placing your finger inside your pet’s mouth because of the possibility of getting bit – even if your pet is unconscious.

The next step is to determine if your pet is breathing.   This can be done by watching your pet’s chest to see if it moves up and down or by placing your hand on your pet’s chest in order to feel for movement.   If your pet is breathing – you need to get your pet to the nearest veterinarian as soon as possible.

If your pet is not breathing you need to give your pet breathes.In pets we use a mouth to nose technique in order to give breathes.  For large dogs the mouth will be closed tightly in order to make a seal and then breathes will be delivered into the nose.   For small dogs and cats your mouth can cover the entire nose and mouth.

Give 2 large breathes at a time.   If you are doing it correctly – you should see your pet’s chest rise after each breathe.

The next step is to see if your pet has a pulse.   The first technique to do this is by placing your hand directly over your pet’s heart and feeling for a heartbeat.   In order to find the location of your pet’s heart – place them on their right side and bring their elbow directly back.  When the leg is pulled back – the point of the elbow will be directly over the heart.

The second way to see if your pet has a heartbeat is to tryfeeling for a pulse.   The location to find a pulse for a dog or cat is on the inside of the hind leg where the femoral artery is located.

Try for 5-10 seconds to see if your pet has a heartbeat.  If you can’t get one and your pet is still not breathing – don’t waste time and go ahead and start CPR.

The location to perform chest compressions depends on the size of your pet.   For large dogs that are over 50 pounds – you will perform compressions over the widest part of the chest.   For medium dogs between 10 and 50 pounds – the chest compressions will be directly over the heart.

For small dogs and cats that are less than 10 pounds – the location is directly over the heart using either the two-handed or one-handed technique.

The rate of compressions will also be determined by the size of your pet.  Large dogs over 50 pounds should be given 60 compressions per minute.  Medium dogs that are between 10 and 50 pounds should be given 80-100 compressions per minute.  Finally, small dogs and cats that are less than 10 pounds should be given 120 compressions per minute.

Chest compressions should be a full 1/3 to ½ of the width of the chest.

Chest compressions cannot be delivered simultaneously with breathing because the air will be diverted into the gastrointestinal tract.   You will want to alternate between chest compressions and breathing in the following fashion.

30 compressions and then 2 quick breathes . 30 compressions and then 2 quick breaths – continuing this pattern until a change in your pet’s status is noted

Finally, don’t forget to call for help.   If you are in a public area- have someone dial the number of a veterinarian or a neighbor may be able to help drive you to the nearest veterinary clinic.

If you have any questions about pet CPR or would like to schedule a lifetime care exam for your pet – please give us a call at 702-910-4500.

You can also text us by using as a mobile contact number.

We have both referral and new patient lifetime care rewards and second opinions are always free.