First Aid - CPR & Artificial Respiration for dogs

Learning to perform CPR & Artificial Respiration can save your dog’s life, quick thinking and a level head will be crucial to your success, familiarize yourself with the procedures and re-cap regularly.

Artificial Respiration or rescue breathing is done when your dog has stopped breathing but the heart is still beating, should the heart stop beating you will administer CPR which is a combination of chest compressions and rescue breathing.

Rescue Breathing:

1.       Lay your dog on her side on a flat surface

2.       Be sure that breathing has stopped, check this by watching the chest for breathing movement, put your hand in front of their nose to feel for breath and check her gums, they will turn blue due to lack of oxygen

3.       Check that her airway is clear    

                                                               i.      Extend the head and neck

                                                             ii.      Open her mouth and look for foreign objects

                                                            iii.      If an object is blocking her airway grab and pull her tongue outward.

                                                           iv.      Should the object not dislodge after this, use your fingers, pliers or a tong to grasp it.

                                                             v.      Do not mistake the small bones in the throat for a foreign object

4.       Once the airway is clear begin rescue breathing:

                                                               i.      With your dog on her side lift the chin to straighten out the throat

                                                             ii.      Use one hand to grasp her mouth shut

                                                            iii.      Cover her whole nose with your mouth and blow gently, the chest should expand as the lungs fill with air, blow harder for bigger and more gently for smaller dogs or for cats, the air should be just enough to lift he chest

                                                           iv.      Wait for the air to leave the lungs before breathing again.

                                                             v.      Continue in this way, giving a breath every three seconds, until she breathes on her own or as long as her heart beats.


Should your dog’s heart stop beating begin CPR immediately. CPR on a dog is best performed by two people, one to administer rescue breathing and one to perform chest compressions.  Follow the instruction for rescue breathing, alternating with chest compressions:

1.       For two people performing CPR alternate one breath with three compressions

2.       For one person alternate one breath with five compressions

Small Dogs (Under 13Kgs)

·         Lay your dog on her side on a flat surface

·         Place the palm of your hand on the rib cage over her heart. Place your other hand on top of the first (for puppies and kittens, place your thumb on one side of the chest and the rest of your fingers on the other side)

·         Compress the chest about 2 ½ centimetres squeeze and release rhythmically at a rate of 80 to 100 compressions per minute

Medium or Large Dogs

·         Lay your dog on her side on a flat surface

·         Place one hand on top of the other over the widest portion of the rib cage – not over the heart

·         Keeping your arms straight, push down on the rib cage. Compress the chest ¼ of its width. Squeeze and release rhythmically at a rate of 80 to 100 compressions per minute

·         Continue CPR until your dog breaths on his own and has a steady heartbeat.