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Dog First Aider Explains Life-Saving Skill Every Owner Should Know

Lucy Devine

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| Last updated 

Dog First Aider Explains Life-Saving Skill Every Owner Should Know

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

An animal first aider has revealed the life-saving skill every dog owner should know.

Pet insurance company Animal Friends has paired with Dog First Aid Training in a bid to encourage more pet owners to learn how to perform CPR on a dog, should they ever need to.

The life-saving skill could save a pooch in an emergency situation, with Animal Friends' qualified dog first aider Patricia Gardiner explaining it's 'often overlooked'.

An animal first aider has revealed the life saving skill every dog owner should know. Credit: Shutterstock
An animal first aider has revealed the life saving skill every dog owner should know. Credit: Shutterstock
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"It is so important that people upskill themselves on dog first aid, including dog-specific CPR," she said.

"These skills are so often overlooked however they could save yours, or another dog's life!"

So how can you perform CPR on a dog should you need to?

First off, if you find a dog that appears to be unconscious, always approach it in a way in which it can see you. It's also a good idea to call out for help so it hears you, too.

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Animal Friends explains your first point of contact with the dog should be to touch it with your foot, so if the dog reacts aggressively, you can remove yourself from the situation more easily.

"Look and listen for any signs of life. If there aren’t any, come down and stroke the dog with the back of your hand. The back of the hand is much less invasive than with the front of the hand, where you’ve got the weight of the fingers and the heat of the palm," they explain.

Next, if there are no signs of life, you'll need to take the femoral pulse via the femoral artery. This can be found on the upper inner thigh of your dog's rear leg. Look for a depression where the artery crosses the femur bone.

You'll need to take the femoral pulse via the femoral artery. Credit: Shutterstock
You'll need to take the femoral pulse via the femoral artery. Credit: Shutterstock
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If there is no pulse, you'll next need to start two minutes of compressions - roughly 200.

Most dogs will need to be on their right side so you have access to the left side of the chest - apart from barrel-chested dogs such as bulldogs, who need to be on their back.

If the dog is under 10kg, place your hands directly on the heart. If over, place hands on the widest part of the rib cage.

Going over the widest part of the dog's rib cage, the experts explain you'll need to go to around a third of the dog's body depth with each compression, with around two compressions every second.

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"If you remember that song ‘Staying Alive’ or ‘Nellie the Elephant’ these are the songs that will keep you in time," they explain.

Check to see if the pulse has returned, but if it has not, the next stage is to check inside the dog's mouth and clear anything that could be obstructing the airway.

To perform mouth-to-snout (not mouth-to-mouth), you need to tuck the tongue in and firmly close the muzzle. To know it's working, you need to see the chest rise with each breath.

Knowing pet first aid could help save a dog. Credit: Alamy
Knowing pet first aid could help save a dog. Credit: Alamy
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On a small dog, it will take less air to see the chest rise than on a larger breed.

"Something else to help the air get through is if you can pull the head forward to elongate the airway. If you aim to have as straight a topline as you can, with the neck and back as in line as possible. This is stretching out the airway meaning your air can get through to where it needs to go so that will aid with your rescue breaths," Animal Friends says.

"You do two breaths and between each breath you are removing your mouth and breathing fresh air into your lungs. This is so you don’t pass out, and that you’re breathing fresh air into the dog. Then you go into 30 compressions, 2 breaths, 30 compressions, 2 breaths, 30 compressions, 2 breaths."

You'll need to repeat this three times and check for a pulse or signs of life inbetween. Continue up to 20 minutes or until further veterinarian help arrives.

You can find more information on pet first aid here.

Topics: Life, Dog

Lucy Devine
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