WDMD is not a licensed veterinarian. This is not meant as a substitute for veterinary care. Always seek help from your vet after an emergency.
How to perform dog (and cat) CPR:
To give chest compressions to your dog for CPR, you first want to make sure you are both positioned correctly. Your pet should be on his side, either side is fine. You should be positioned above him so you can lock your elbows.
For big dogs (25 pounds and up):
You want to put your hands over the widest part of the chest. So back from the elbows closer to the spine and in the middle of the chest. Put one hand on top of the other and lock your elbows.
For Smaller Dogs and Cats:
You want to put your hands on the heart. To find where the heart would be, bend the top front paw until you find the point of the elbow. Where that point meets the chest is about where the heart is going to be and that’s where you want to position your hands.
Each compression should be even and should compress the chest by about half or a third of the width of the chest. Make sure to release completely in between the compressions. Give about 100-120 compression per minute. Since this is a lot of compressions, give it to the beat of these songs Staying Alive by the Bee Gees or Another One Bites the Dust by Queen.
After 30 compressions, you will need to give a rescue breath. If you have two people, one person keeps doing compressions without stopping and the second person gives a breath every 6-8 seconds. Switch roles about every two minutes. Make the switch smoothly to minimize interactions to chest compressions.
Check for the pulse and if has come back, transport the pet to the vet immediately.
Be prepared to handle any emergency by becoming certified in Pet First Aid and CPR. This course is self paced, online, simple and can potentially save a dog’s life. This is an affiliate link, to learn about our disclaimers, please visit here.
Bonnie Conner DVM, a Clinical Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine & Critical Care at University of Florida, specializes in small animal emergency and clinical care.