Learn How to do DOG CPR: It could Save your Pet’s Life!

Learn How To do Dog CPR
When the going gets tough for your fur baby, do you know what you need to do? You don’t have to be a veterinarian to know what to do in case your dog experiences cardiopulmonary arrest or cardiac arrest, which is characterized by abrupt end of your dog’s heart functioning. You can’t always get vet help for dogs right away, and it almost always happens when you least expect it. It’s absolutely important for you to know how to give a dog CPR, because you may very well hold the key to saving your pet’s life.

How important is Canine CPR?

But first things first: how important do you need to perform CPR on your dog? The Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society estimates that around 6% of cats and dogs experience cardiopulmonary arrest survive until they are brought to the hospital. As a responsible pet parent, you seriously need to understand how to do pet CPR.

What are the basics of CPR on a dog?

What you will perform on your dog is cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), while artificial respiration is part of CPR (AR). AR is about breathing air into your dog’s lungs through his nose. CPR is compressing the dog’s chest while the dog lays on the right side. AR is a first step in doing dog CPR.

How do you do CPR on a dog?

How to do CPR on a dog involves a number of steps that you must follow carefully. Here are the steps on how to give a dog a dog CPR:

Step 1: Clear the airway of your dog.

Before anything else, make sure that the airway of your dog’s mouth has been cleared. The dog might be choking on something, in which case you will have to remove it with your fingers. Be extremely careful when doing this. You need to be quick when doing this, as your dog might suddenly panic and bite you.

You will need to pull your dog’s tongue out, and check if he is breathing. Gently straighten out the head and the neck of your dog, careful not to over-extend it as it may cause further injury. If you are sure that the dog is not breathing, be prepared to do CPR.

Quick tip: Pick up anything that is obstructing your dog’s airway with an upward motion. Only when you are 100% sure that there’s nothing blocking the throat should you proceed to assisted breathing.

Step 2: Do assisted breathing.

Make sure that your dog is on his right side, then start doing artificial respiration. Firmly hold the mouth area, and blow around four to give rescue breaths through the nose of your dog. The amount of air should just be enough for your dog’s chest to rise up and down.

Quick tip: The procedure is quite different for smaller animals, as your mouth will go around both the nose and the mouth. Your breaths should therefore be smaller.

Step 3: Check the heartbeat of your dog.

Once you’re done with the artificial respiration, do not proceed to the next step if you’re dog is already breathing. Again, dog CPR does not have to go through all steps. Next, check out if your dog has a heartbeat or pulse in the femoral artery.

Quick tip: You can simply lay your hand on the upper left side of your dog’s chest to feel the heartbeat. If nothing seems to be happening, get someone to call the vet immediately. In the meanwhile, be prepared to do chest compressions.

Step 4: Perform chest compressions.

The most important step is the chest compressions. You can start by placing the left elbow back to the chest of your dog, and placing the heel of your palm right above the heart. Then, lock your arms together and gently intertwine your fingers. For small dogs around 16 pounds or less, give a quick squeeze too compress their chest.

You will need to give regular-sized dogs around 30 chest compressions succeeded by two rescue breaths to compress the chest by two to three inches for larger dogs that are more than 16 pounds, and by one-half to a an inch for small dogs that are less than 16 pounds. As you do this, you need to check the pulse every few minutes.

Quick tip: Perform this procedure for up to 20 minutes, and get an emergency dog vet while you’re at it.


Learning how to give a dog CPR is among the vital skills you need to know as a responsible pet owner. You may never get to put it to good use, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You might also want to be prepared with your dog’s emergency first aid kit, containing necessities from canine food to dog collars and leashes. It’s always best to be prepared when it comes to your dog’s life—you might thank us one day for it!