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Note: This blog is not meant to replace the training and advice of a medical professional. I hope you find these tips helpful, but to be most effectively prepared, please consider taking a pet first aid class in your area. Your vet may be able to refer you to an organization that offers classes in your area.
Every pet parent dreads the day their pet passes away. Sometimes we see it coming. Sometimes we don’t. Some medical or environmental conditions can cause your pet to stop breathing or his heart to stop beating. He may have swallowed something that’s stuck in his throat or suffered heat stroke. He may have an undiagnosed medical condition. Your pet may even experience a seizure that could cause sudden collapse. What will you do in this situation? Here are some tips to keep your best friend breathing and pumping blood until you reach veterinary help.
Note: These tips are applicable to both cats and dogs unless otherwise noted. For simplicity, I will use “dog” in the following.
If your dog has suddenly stopped breathing but his heart is still beating, begin artificial respiration immediately. You may recognize this as “mouth-to-mouth” in human terms. This is not the time to be prudent about germs or slobber; your dog needs help.
Only when the airway is clear should you begin rescue breathing. Your dog should still be on his side on a flat surface.
If your dog’s heart has stopped, there’s no time to lose. To keep his heart beating until he revives or help arrives, you must begin CPR immediately. But there are some small differences between CPR for large dogs and small dogs or cats.
Note: If possible, it’s best to have one person perform artificial respiration while another performs CPR.