Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs: Step-by-Step Guide

Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs

Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs: You can perform the Heimlich maneuver on your dog to help dislodge whatever is stuck in her throat. It’s actually pretty easy to do once you know the proper technique. In this article, I’ll walk you through step-by-step how to perform the Heimlich on your dog. Knowing this lifesaving technique could make all the difference next time your pup gets a bone or toy lodged in their throat. With just a few simple steps that I’ll demonstrate here, you’ll have the skills to potentially save your best friend’s life if they ever start choking. So let’s get started and I’ll teach you how to do the Heimlich on your dog!

Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs

When to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver on a Dog

If your dog is choking, the Heimlich maneuver can help clear their airway and save their life. You should perform the Heimlich if your dog is unable to breathe, cough, or make sounds, and their tongue or gums are turning blue. Time is critical, so act fast!

Complete Airway Obstruction

If your dog cannot breathe at all and is panicking, their airway is likely completely blocked. Immediately perform the Heimlich to dislodge the object. Stand behind your dog, place your fist over their ribcage just behind their front legs, and thrust upward and inward with quick bursts. Repeat until the object is cleared or your dog becomes unconscious, then begin CPR.

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Partial Airway Obstruction

If your dog can still breathe a little or cough weakly, their airway may only be partially blocked. In this case, first try to keep your dog calm. Attempt to open their mouth to see if you can remove the object with your fingers, being very careful not to push it further down their throat. If you cannot remove it, perform a modified Heimlich by giving 5 quick chest thrusts just behind the front legs. Reassess and repeat the process until emergency responders arrive.

The key is to act quickly but stay calm. By knowing the signs of choking and how to properly perform the Heimlich and CPR, you can save your dog’s life in an emergency situation. Don’t hesitate to call your vet or emergency services for guidance or if the object does not dislodge. Your dog’s safety should always come first.

How to Recognize the Signs of Choking in Dogs

Dogs can choke on foods, toys, sticks, and other foreign objects. It’s important to recognize the signs of choking in dogs right away so you can perform first aid. Some signs your dog may be choking include:

Excessive Drooling or Pawing at the Mouth

If your dog is drooling or pawing excessively at their mouth, they may have an object lodged in their throat. The drooling is their body’s attempt to dislodge the object, while the pawing is them trying to remove it themselves.

Difficulty Breathing

If your dog is choking, they will have difficulty breathing. Their breaths may sound wheezy or raspy, and they may be taking quick, shallow breaths. Their gums may start to turn blue from lack of oxygen. Difficulty breathing is an emergency, so you’ll need to perform first aid immediately.

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Panic or Distress

A choking dog will seem panicked or in distress. They may run around, act frantically, or try to get your attention. Some dogs may hide because they are frightened by the choking. Do not ignore symptoms of panic in your dog, as this can indicate a medical emergency.

Loss of Consciousness

In severe cases of choking where the airway is completely blocked, a dog may lose consciousness. This is extremely dangerous and life-threatening. If your dog has choked to the point of losing consciousness, call emergency services and perform CPR immediately.

By keeping a close eye on your dog, especially when they are eating or playing with toys, you’ll be able to recognize the signs of choking quickly. Early recognition and first aid for choking can save your dog’s life. If at any point your dog’s choking seems severe or they lose consciousness, do not hesitate to call your vet or emergency services right away.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs

So your dog is choking, coughing and struggling to breathe. Don’t panic—you can perform the Heimlich maneuver to help dislodge the obstruction from their airway. Here’s what to do:

1. Stay calm and assess the situation.

Check if your dog is still breathing or coughing at all. If they are not breathing, their airway is completely blocked—call 911 immediately. As long as they are still breathing, even with difficulty, the Heimlich maneuver may help clear their throat.

2. Stand behind your dog.

If your dog is small enough, hold them facing away from you with their back against your chest. For larger dogs, kneel behind them instead. Make sure you have a firm grip so they don’t wiggle away in panic.

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3. Place your fist below the ribcage.

Find the soft spot just below the ribcage and above the abdomen. Place your fist there, thumb side in. For small dogs, you may need to use just a few fingers.

4. Give quick upward thrusts.

Make an abrupt thrusting movement with the heel of your hand into the soft spot to force the obstruction out of the airway. Repeat this thrusting motion several times. Check if the object has dislodged after each thrust by seeing if your dog’s breathing improves.

5. Alternate between back blows and chest thrusts.

If the obstruction remains stuck, alternate between forcefully slapping your dog between the shoulder blades with the palm of your hand to dislodge the object, and giving chest thrusts. Repeat this until your dog coughs up the object or starts breathing normally.

6. Get medical help if needed.

Even if you are successful in dislodging the obstruction, take your dog to the vet to check for any internal injuries. If your dog loses consciousness at any point, call 911 for emergency assistance right away. With quick action, the Heimlich maneuver can save your dog’s life by helping them breathe freely again. Staying calm and knowing the proper technique is key.

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