How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver on a Choking Dog

Apply the Heimlich Technique to a Dog Who Is Choking

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Dogs may frequently consume ordinarily unpalatable substances with relative ease and without obvious negative consequences. This does not imply they cannot suffocate. Dogs are generally more likely to choke. They communicate with the world around them through their jaws, and they frequently chew. Whether it’s a ball, bone, or any other foreign object, chewing on them might cause them to break off into smaller bits that are simple to become stuck in their throat. When this occurs, the risk is increased and a medical emergency results because the dog may panic and start choking.

In the event of a choking situation, we must move quickly. The Heimlich maneuver is a first-aid technique used in human medicine that also works on canine choking victims. AnimalWised provides diagrams to help you understand how to do the Heimlich technique on a dog who is choking.

performing the Heimlich maneuver on a dog

In the correct situations, the Heimlich maneuver dog can save a dog’s life, but it is also a hazardous treatment that may injure the dog’s chest. We need to be sure that other less forceful techniques are not more appropriate before doing abdominal thrusts on a dog. By doing this, the dog’s airways can be cleared of the foreign object without running the risk of abdominal or chest injury.

You must perform the following steps if you notice your dog coughing and believe a foreign object is obstructing their airway:

Remain composed; it’s crucial not to add to the dog’s anxiety even though we are in a highly stressful position. This might speed up their breathing, increasing the risk of your dog choking.

Examine their throat by opening their mouth and shining a flashlight inside to get a better look at their airways and determine what the thing is. You can take the object out if you can see it and are certain that there is no chance of doing any soft tissue damage. You need to try to grab the whole thing by sticking your thumb and index finger into the mouth. If you are unable to or believe the object is trapped

Pat their back:

If you are unable to remove the foreign object with your fingers, try repeatedly patting your pet’s back in the region between their shoulder blades. This should be done with firm, dry pats that are applied with the proper amount of force, especially on small or weak dogs.

If the last step was unsuccessful, try elevating them; if not, try one more approach before performing the Heimlich technique. If your dog is tiny enough, you can flip their body while holding them by the hips so that their mouths are on the ground. Gently shake to see whether gravity will assist in removing the foreign object. With bigger dogs, you can accomplish this, but you might not be able to lift them off.

If none of these methods work, you should proceed to give your dog the Heimlich maneuver. In the sections below, we demonstrate how to do this using diagrams.

Step-by-step instructions on the Heimlich maneuver in dogs

Apply the Heimlich Technique to a Dog Who Is Choking 2

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To prevent unintended injury, the Heimlich maneuver must be done correctly. The Heimlich maneuver can harm even when done correctly since it requires thrusting. For this reason, in order to do the Heimlich maneuver on a dog, you must take the following actions:

Put the dog in a position where its back is close to your chest.

Find the spot where you will perform the abdominal thrusts. The boundary between the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity is at this location. Palpate the sternum, a firm bone in the center of the chest, until you feel a soft, depressible area at its end.

Put one hand at this compression point and make a fist with it. With the other hand, enclose this fist and maintain your grip.

Squeeze your fist at the compression point toward yourself while pulling yourself up at the same time to produce the appropriate abdominal thrusts. four to five times.

Verify your pet’s respiration has returned to normal and that the object has been ejected. Repeat the abdominal thrusts if necessary.

It’s crucial to visit a veterinarian even if the Heimlich maneuver works and the object is ejected. Foreign objects can injure the respiratory system internally, and administering the Heimlich maneuver might harm bones, cartilage, or even internal organs. 

How and when to perform the Heimlich maneuver on dogs

When a person is choking on something foreign, only do the Heimlich technique according to first aid guidelines. The airways are severely obstructed by these things.

The Heimlich maneuver, as was already said, is a forceful technique that has the potential to injure vital organs or fracture ribs. It should only be used in veterinary emergencies, or when the dog is in immediate risk of suffocation, due to this reason. There may not be a medical emergency if a dog has something lodged in their throat. After some time, the dog may even be able to remove the thing on their own.

Even when a dog’s airways are blocked but it is not suffocating them, we still need to take action. If we are unable to remove the object without injuring the dog, we should take them to the clinic.

Apply the Heimlich Technique to a Dog Who Is Choking 3

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How to proceed if the Heimlich maneuver on the dog does not work

The animal must be taken as soon as possible to a veterinary facility if the Heimlich maneuver fails to clear the foreign body from the animal’s airway. In these situations, the animal’s survival depends on swift and careful action.

A clinical picture of suffocation is a scenario that needs to be treated by a veterinarian right away since the animal’s life is in grave risk. The team that looks for your pet at the veterinary facility will start by performing an emergency tracheotomy.

In order to restore the ability for air to enter the lungs from the outside, a cut is made in the trachea during this treatment. This enables the dog’s vital breathing and ventilation. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) must be performed if your dog has lost consciousness and/or entered cardiorespiratory arrest in order to try to regain the animal’s cardiorespiratory function. 

This essay serves only as information. AnimalWised lacks the legal right to diagnose a condition or recommend a course of therapy for animals. We encourage you to take your pet to the vet if they experience any pain or illness.