CPR for Dogs and Puppies

3 min read

Reviewed for accuracy on January 24, 2020, by Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR for dogs, involves chest compressions with or without artificial respiration. It is normally used when you cannot feel or hear the dog’s heartbeat and the dog is no longer breathing. This can occur for a number of reasons, including trauma, choking, or illness.

Before performing CPR for dogs, please keep in mind that CPR is potentially hazardous and can cause physical complications or fatal damage if performed on a healthy dog. Dog CPR should only be performed when necessary.

Ideally, you will be able to have someone call your veterinarian or an emergency vet for guidance to perform dog CPR on the way to the clinic.

CPR for Dogs and Puppies Less Than 30 Pounds (14 kg):

  1. Lay the dog on his/her side (either is fine) on a flat surface.

  2. Place one hand on either side of the chest over the heart region. (You can also place your thumb on one side of the dog’s chest and keep the fingers on the other side if the dog is very small.)

  3. Compress the chest approximately one-third the width of the chest for a count of one, and then let go for a count of one. Carry on at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.

  4. If you can provide artificial respiration, close the dog’s muzzle with your hand. Give two breaths into the nose for every 30 compressions. If possible, have another person give the two breaths so that you can continue to do compressions while they do the breathing. A new person should take over doing the compressions every 2 minutes or so to reduce the effect of fatigue.

  5. Continue with the CPR and artificial respiration for dogs until the dog begins breathing on his own and the heartbeat returns.

  6. Transport the dog to the nearest veterinarian as quickly as possible during or after CPR.

CPR for Medium/Large Dogs Over 30 Pounds (14 kg):

  1. Lay the dog on his/her side (either is fine) on a flat surface. You will need to stand or kneel beside the dog. For barrel-chested dogs like Bulldogs, it is also appropriate to place the dog on his/her back.

  2. Place one of your palms on the dog’s rib cage, over the heart region, and put your other palm on top of it.

  3. Without bending your elbows, press the rib cage down.

  4. Compress the chest one-third the width of the chest for a count of one, and then let go for a count of one. The rate should be 100-120 compressions per minute.

  5. If you can provide artificial respiration, close the dog’s muzzle with your hand. Give two breaths into the nose for every 30 compressions. If possible, have another person give the two breaths so that you can continue to do compressions while they do the breathing. A new person should take over doing the compressions every 2 minutes or so to reduce the effect of fatigue.

  6. Continue performing CPR and rescue breaths until the dog begins to breathe and a heartbeat returns.

  7. Transport the dog to the nearest veterinarian as quickly as possible during or after CPR.

Image via Nina Buday/Shutterstock

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