CPR For Your Pet

When I sat down my mixed breed rescued from the animal shelter dog laid down beside me. He gave me a happy bouncing dance when I came home and walked with me in every step of my coming home routine. I looked down at him and thought about how much I love him. The twelve years
we have had him have gone by quickly. He is always such a joy. Although he enjoys good health, he is now a senior. The day we say goodbye is closer than before and I fear it.
As an American HeartAssociation CPR instructor, I am often asked about pet cpr. I have never done pet cpr, I do not teach it or certify it. In order to prevent my own,“what if” or “if I had only” ghosts, I decided to find out about pet cpr on the internet. Unfortunately each site I visited gave different information. Some gave a compression rate equal to human cpr, others gave rates according to weight. Some had the dog on their back and others on their side. One organization recommends holding smaller dogs and cats between both hands and compressing.
Because of the differing information I decided to call on my expert, our veterinarian, Dr Kevin Cronin from Charlotte Animal Hospital. According to Dr Cronin, first look for breathing. Rescue breaths for your pet is done mouth to snout. Do not assume the dog has no pulse simply because they are not breathing. Next check for the pulse on the inside of the leg. I got down on my hands and knees to see if I could find the pulse. Burger thought it was either belly rub or playtime, which he thought was great! He did not however appreciate me poking around on his leg. I did find the pulse on the upper inside of his leg near the groin area.
Dr Cronin said to lay the dog on the side and
compress the ribs where the elbow meets the rib cage. According to Dr Cronin, five to ten minutes of cpr is the limit for trying cpr. Dr Cronin sent me a Red Cross pet cpr brochure and referred me to Dee Roberts.
Dee Roberts teaches and certifies pet cpr/first aid along with her duties as the Director of Pet Passings and Companion Burial Services. Dee teaches that smaller
dogs and cats should be on their side and placed on a table. According to Dee when you recognize that your pet is not moving check for breathing. If there is no breath, open the mouth and look for a foreign object. Do not put your fingers in the pet’s mouth unless you can see and get the foreign object. If there is something obstructing the airway, place them with their back against you and compress below the rib cage. If they become unconscious, check for a pulse. If there is no pulse, begin cpr and take them to the veterinarian. Doing cpr on the way to the vet while someone else drives could help save the life of your pet.
Animals can suffer heat stroke. Dee says that if it is too hot for you to walk barefoot on the pavement it is too hot for your horse or the pads of your dogs feet. Horses do get sunburn. Just like us, our pets need protection from the sun and heat. If your horse becomes unresponsive, check for breathing and a pulse. If they need cpr, with the horse on their side and compress over the rib cage.
Cpr on a bird is done with two fingers over the rib cage. The rescue breaths are done with your mouth almost covering the eyes and all around the beak with the breaths similar to blowing out a candle.
In Dee’s first aid class she teaches what to keep in your pet’s first aid kit. In her cpr class she teaches how to make rescue masks for your pet out of soda and water bottles, giving you one less step should you need to give cpr. For more information on Dee’s classes, you can email her at pearlgone@aol.com

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