How to Save Your Dog from Choking: Mastering the Heimlich Maneuver

Video how to do a heimlich on a dog

If you’re a dog owner, you know that accidents can happen, even to our beloved furry friends. One such emergency event is choking. Whether it’s a small object or a piece of food lodged in their throat, it’s crucial to know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver to save your dog’s life. In this article, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of executing this life-saving technique.

Is My Dog Choking?

Recognizing the signs of choking in dogs is essential for prompt action. Look out for signs such as gasping for air, struggling to breathe, making loud breathing sounds, pawing at their face, or appearing frantic and panicked.

What To Do If Your Dog Is Choking

If you suspect your dog is choking, approach them carefully, as they might be anxious and behave abnormally. Check if the object can be manually removed by restraining your dog, opening their mouth, and pulling the tongue forward. Use your fingers to gently sweep the object out of the throat, being careful not to push it further into the airway.

If the object is just out of reach, you can use the flat side of a spoon to push it closer to your dog’s grasp. However, exercise caution while performing this technique, especially if your dog is conscious, as they may bite involuntarily. For cases of complete airway obstruction caused by a smooth object, such as a ball, pet parents can perform an extraction technique on their unconscious dog. Remember, contacting an emergency veterinarian immediately is crucial to determine the next steps.

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Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs

If you’re unable to physically remove the object with your fingers, it’s time to execute the Heimlich maneuver. Here’s how:

  1. Stand behind your dog or lift them so that their spine rests against your chest.
  2. Wrap your arms around their body, just under the ribcage.
  3. Make a fist with one hand and cup your other hand around it.
  4. Perform five rapid thrusts into the belly, just under the ribs, by pushing your fist into the belly and upward toward the ribs.
  5. If the object remains lodged, give five sharp blows to your dog’s back between the shoulder blades.
  6. Repeat this process until the object is dislodged. Periodically check if the object has moved enough to be removed with your fingers.

Heimlich Maneuver for Large Dogs

For larger dogs that are standing, follow the Heimlich maneuver as described above. Additionally, lifting their hind legs in the air, resembling a wheelbarrow, may encourage the object to slide forward.

If your large dog is lying down or cannot be lifted against your chest, place one hand on their back while using the other hand to squeeze the abdomen in an upward motion. Check their mouth to see if the object is dislodged enough to be removed manually.

Heimlich Maneuver for Small Dogs

For smaller dogs, along with the Heimlich maneuver steps mentioned earlier, you can suspend your dog by their hips or thighs and carefully swing them from side to side. Checking their mouth periodically is vital to see if the object is dislodged enough for manual removal.

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What To Do After You’ve Stopped Your Dog from Choking

Once you successfully remove the object, assess your dog’s breathing. If they are not breathing, provide a few breaths, just like you would during CPR on a person. If there is still no response, begin CPR immediately.

If your dog is breathing, it’s crucial to follow up with your veterinarian for further examination. Even if the choking episode seems resolved, it’s essential to ensure that no injury has occurred in the throat, which could lead to severe consequences. X-rays may be necessary to check for fluid accumulation in the lungs or foreign objects in the abdomen.

How to Prevent Future Choking in Dogs

While accidents may be unavoidable, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of choking incidents in dogs:

  • Pay attention to the size of your dog’s kibble, as some dry foods designed for larger dogs may be too big for smaller breeds.
  • Keep baby or child toys out of reach of your pets, especially when they are unattended.
  • Choose dog toys that are appropriate for your dog’s size, sturdy, and don’t easily break into small pieces.
  • Be cautious with rawhide treats, as they can become a choking hazard once they’ve been chewed down to a smaller size. Remove them when they become too small. Never give edible chew treats without supervision.

By being mindful of what your dog eats and the types of treats they have, you can reduce the chances of choking incidents. However, accidents can still happen, so acquiring the skills to perform the Heimlich maneuver is essential. It can be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.

Remember, for all your pet’s health concerns and emergencies, consult your trusted veterinarian. And if you want to learn more about Katten TrimSalon and their services, visit Katten TrimSalon.