The Heimlich Maneuver for dogs

Bruce Genaro


Check for signs of choking:
hard coughing, eyes bulging in panic because he can't breathe, and pawing at the mouth.

Clear the mouth. If the dog is conscious, pry open the mouth and look inside. Hold one hand over the top of the mouth, using your thumb and forefinger to press against the lips to get the mouth open. Pull the bottom jaw down with your other hand. Use your thumb and first finger to sweep the mouth and pull out the object.

Place dog on his side. If you can't see anything, turn him on his side, head lower than his rear. Put something like a pillow under the rear end.

Find the bottom of the rib cage, where the ribs meet in the middle (sternum). Then go a few fingers width below, toward the belly.

Press in and up. If your dog is small, put one hand at the spot you found, and the other behind the dog's back for support. If your dog is large, use both hands to press in and up. Keep doing it until he expels what he was choking on. Try the next step if this one doesn't work.

Do artificial respiration, if necessary. If he's unconscious, keep him on his side, head lower than the rear. Extend the head gently up and out. Pull the tongue to the side. Do the compressions from the last step, twice. Then check the mouth for the object. Close the mouth, extend the head up, and give two breaths through the dog's nose until you see the chest rise. Repeat the compressions, the mouth check and the two breaths until the dog is breathing again.

Get to the vet ASAP.

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