Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pet first aid and CPR- Education Cont’d (Part 4)

Of course experience cannot be surpassed by simply reading instructions, especially in this case, but it is better to have initial exposure through written instruction than not to have any at all.

The Pet Heimlich Maneuver

Local resident Denise Fleck, Pet CPR and first-aid instructor and owner of Sunny Dog Ink, said that the number one life saving technique every dog owner should know is the Heimlich maneuver.  But she always cautions her students to use the Heimlich only once you are certain the dog is choking and can no longer get air.  Denise says, “It has been my experience that dogs have a better chance of getting the object out themselves if they are able to cough or gag, and only in a few incidents have I needed to intervene and remove the object with my fingers.”   And even when she does have to attempt to remove an object with her own fingers, she is adamant about careful handling.  “Always be extremely careful when attempting to remove anything from your pet's mouth because you could push the object farther down your dog's throat, tear at the throat tissue, or get bitten in the process.”

If you have let your dog try to cough an object up, and attempted to remove the object but have seen no progress you will need to perform the Heimlich maneuver.


·         Stand or kneel behind your dog and place your arms around his waist, keeping his head down.
·         Close your hand, making a fist, and place your fist in the soft part of the stomach just behind the last rib.
·         Grasp the fist with your other hand and push up in a quick and rapid manner (similar to the Heimlich maneuver performed on humans). 

Alternative techniques:
For a small cat or dog, place him on his stomach in your lap and lower his head in front of your knees.  With the palm of your hand, deliver a sharp blow between the shoulder blades to expel the object.

Or, place your hands or several fingers on each side of the animal’s chest and thrust inward, pushing your shoulders and elbows in the direction you want the object to go - out the mouth. After two thrusts, give the animal a moment to cough and/or look in his mouth to see if the object is now reachable. If not, repeat. If your dog goes unconscious, place him on his right side and thrust with hand over hand on just one side of chest to squeeze the lungs.  

Please be aware that any of these methods can cause internal damage to your pet. While doing something to save his life is better than nothing at all, be careful while thrusting and be sure to go to the veterinarian straight away, even after you dislodge the object.

Here is a video to review some of the techniques talked about above.
Safe Dog Safety Tip: Choking 
Melanie Monteiro 

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