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Dog CPR and Dog Heimlich Step-by-Step Guide

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If your dog is experiencing an emergency, immediately contact your vet or the nearest emergency veterinary clinic, in addition to performing dog CPR. Do not call 911!

Hopefully, you will never have to use dog CPR or dog Heimlich. However, if you care about your Doodle (and we’re sure that you do!), it is important that you know exactly what steps to take to save your furry friend’s life. 

What To Do if Your Dog is Choking

In case your Doodle is choking, act immediately! First, stay calm and do not panic. Next, check if your Doodle’s neck has become tighter. Now, check inside your dog’s mouth and pull his tongue forward to see if there are any visible foreign objects lodged in his throat. 

If you can see and reach the object, carefully remove it. If you can’t see it (or reach it), do not push your hand or fingers down your Doodle’s throat. This could potentially make things worse by lodging the object deeper in his throat.

If you can’t reach the object or if it’s not visible, call your vet or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately.

dog cpr and heimlich maneuver

Antlers, bully sticks, and rawhides are not recommended for young puppies as they can cause choking. For recommendations on safest chews for puppies, check our guide on best indestructible toys and chews.

How Do I Know if My Dog Has Something Stuck in his Throat?

Usually, a dog will start showing symptoms when something is lodged in its throat. However, your Doodle might get used to the foreign object stuck inside the throat and stop showing any visible signs of discomfort. But! The object can still cause very dangerous injuries. 

Symptoms of Choking

  • Gagging and retching 
  • Coughing 
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble swallowing or exaggerated swallowing motions
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth, face and neck
  • Choking sounds 
  • Dropped ears and tail tucking 

Can a Dog Die From Choking?

Just like humans, dogs can die from choking. Moreover, as we briefly mentioned, a foreign object stuck in your Doodle’s throat can cause severe internal injuries.

If something’s stuck inside your dog’s esophagus, the object can damage it. This in turn causes inflammation, scarring, and ruptures, which can lead to sepsis and, ultimately, death.

Dog Heimlich for Choking – Steps to Take

If your Doodle is choking and you’re not able to remove the object, or if they’ve become unconscious, you can do the dog Heimlich Maneuver. This process is a bit different for different sized dogs.

Dog Heimlich for Small Dogs

  • Lay your dog on its back and apply pressure just below the rib cage on the abdomen.

Dog Heimlich for Large Dogs

  • Do not pick up your dog, as it may cause further damage.
  • If your dog is standing, put your arms around its belly by joining your hands and making a fist. Just behind the rib cage, push firmly forward and up. After that, place your dog on its side.
  • If your dog is lying down on its side, place your one hand on its back for support and use the other one to squeeze its abdomen upwards and forwards towards the spine. 
  • Check your dog’s mouth again for any objects and remove if possible. (Source)

Here’s a good video on what to do if your dog is choking:

In case your dog is unconscious, you can’t hear them breathe or feel the heartbeat, you should perform dog CPR.

Dog CPR for Breathing/Heartbeat Resuscitation – Steps to Take

How Do You Perform CPR on a Dog?

PetMD has detailed guidelines for performing CPR on both small dogs and larger dogs that you should learn. For complete accuracy, we’ve added them in this article unchanged. (Source)

Dog CPR for Dogs and Puppies that Weigh Less Than 30 Pounds

  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.

Dog CPR for Medium and Large Dogs that Weigh Over 30 Pounds

  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. 

(Source)

Here’s a great video on how to do CPR on a dog:

What is the Goal of CPR in Dogs?

The goal of performing dog CPR is to get their blood flowing again. This will ensure that their brain and vital organs get enough oxygen until proper veterinary care is available.

How Effective is Dog CPR?

Early CPR might be effective. However, it has to be performed immediately for a chance of a positive outcome. Moreover, dog CPR can cause damage or even death due to broken ribs and other injuries. 

Preventing Choking

What commonly causes choking in dogs and how to prevent choking? Common causes of choking in dogs are cooked and raw bones, gristle, rawhide bones, balls, bully sticks, stones, sticks, kid’s toys, and plastic wrap. 

Nevertheless, you can’t keep an eye on your Doodle all the time. Because of this, we urge you to teach your dog drop it


To conclude, you should know your Doodle enough to notice when something’s not right. Keep a close eye on them while they are eating or enjoying a chew toy or treat. Also keep an eye on their behavior and overall wellbeing to detect any health issues there might be. In addition, the dog CPR and dog Heimlich Maneuver guidelines are something that every Doodle owner should know. 

Above all, as soon as there’s an emergency, always contact your vet or the nearest emergency veterinary clinic.

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The information on this page is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for qualified professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified animal health provider with any questions you may have.

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