As dog owners, we all know how easy it is for a dog to put just about anything they want in their mouth!
It doesn’t matter if it is on a high countertop or buried in the backyard, if dogs can smell it, they can get to it. After all, they are some of the smartest creatures in the planet.
This specific skill set, however, poses a great deal of threat to our dog’s lives. Whatever it is they can find and eat without our presence can lead to a serious, and potentially, deadly situation.
So, what do you do if your dog is choking? In times like these, it is best to know a few emergency procedures such as CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. These skills are critical to saving your dog’s life.
Signs That Your Dog Is Choking
There are different signs that could tell you your dog is choking. You can tell your dog is choking if he is either coughing violently, gasping for breath, wheezing, pawing at his mount, or his eyes are bulging out.
During these situations, it is important that you do not panic yourself. The first thing you need to do is check your dog’s mouth for the lodged object. You need to be careful because dogs are sensitive during this horrifying situation.
We also need to remind you that this should only be done in emergencies, and you should still call your veterinarian or emergency services right before you perform any of these steps.
This is to make sure that help is coming while you try to stop your dog from choking.
Step 1 – Open your dog’s mouth
Do this carefully. Put one hand on your dog’s upper jaw and your thumb on one side while your other fingers are on the other side. Do not rush this process as you might push the object farther down in your dog’s throat.
Step 2 – Sweep
With your other hand, gently push down on your dog’s lower jaw. Be sure to keep your index finger free to sweep the back of your dog’s mouth.
Step 3 – Look
Now you need to look inside your dog’s mouth and see if you can spot the blockage. Try to reach it with your fingers gently.
Please note that if you do not see the object, you need to be very careful with checking because you might push it further down your dog’s throat. If you do spot the object, do not attempt to remove it if it doesn’t come out easily.
Step 4 – Switch to tilting your dog
The first thing you can do is tilt your dog and see if you can use gravity to dislodge the object. For those who have a small dog, pick them up by their thighs, make sure their belly is towards your face and shake them gently.
For those who have a larger dog, stand your dog on all fours, pick their rear legs and tilt them forward.
If this doesn’t work, you need to do a Heimlich maneuver.
Step 5 – Heimlich maneuver
Only do this step if you are certain that your dog is choking on a foreign object. Otherwise, performing this step can cause more injury.
You need to be extra careful when performing this method as you could damage your dog’s internal organs if you apply too much force.
Performing the Heimlich on your dogs is basically the same as for humans. There is just a slight variation between small dogs, medium dogs, and large dogs.
For those who have a small dog, follow these steps:
- First, kneel behind your dog with your dog facing away from you
- Carefully put your arms around your dog?s waist
- Now use a few knuckles of one of your hands and place them just below your dog?s last set of ribs. This will be on the soft part of their abdomen.
- Next you need to place your other hand flat on the dog?s black to keep them steady.
- Quickly, give a hard poke with your knuckles.
- Press in and up gently in a thrusting motion, do this four to five times. Do not do more after trying four to five times.
- If your dog is lying down by the end, place one hand on their back for support and use your other hand to squeeze their abdomen upwards and forwards.
- Now check your dog?s mouth and remove any objects that may have been dislodged.
For those who have a medium or large-sized dog, do the following steps:
- Stand behind your dog, make sure they are facing away from you
- Put your arms around your dog?s waist
- With one hand, make a fist – thumb side up and place it just below your dog?s last set of ribs. This will be on the soft part of their abdomen.
- Then you need to wrap your other hand around your fist
- Next you need to push firmly in and up in a quick rapid manner, just behind the rib cage and towards your dogs backbone. Be sure to apply enough force to move your dog?s whole body
- Try this up to five times if the blockage is still not dislodged.
- Check your dog?s mouth and remove the blockage once it is dislodged.
If you are unable to remove the blockage through the Heimlich maneuver, you may need to perform CPR on your dog while you wait for emergency rescue, or while you are on your way to the vet.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from YouTube | First Aid for Life