Dog CPR with Dr. Courtney Campbell

What’s The First Thing You Need To Check For When Administering Dog CPR?
Make sure your pet is actually unconscious. If you administer CPR unnecessarily, you could stop their heart. Talk to your pet or call your pet’s name. Attempt to awaken your pet. Check for breathing. – Place your hand on your pet see if the chest rises or falls. Check for pulses on the inside of the thigh (femoral), and on top of the paw (pedal pulse).
What Are The Abc’s Of Dog CPR?
A = Airway – Extend the head and neck and pull tongue forward. There may be food or a bone stuck in the back of the airway. Be careful if you are going to attempt to remove it. And don’t try and remove the Adam’s apple! That feels like a hard bone in the back of the throat. Some animals will start breathing again simply with this motion of pulling on the neck and tongue to clear the airway.

B = Breathing - Mouth to snout. Very difficult to get an air-tight seal. So pull the lips tightly down and blow into your dog or cat’s nose. Use both hands. Watch the chest expand. Give two breaths if you are all by yourself. Give a breath every 3 – 5 seconds. (Longer intervals between breaths with the larger breeds) The breaths should last about a full 2 seconds.

C = Circulation – This is the most important. Even if you give good breaths, oxygenated lungs can’t do anything without blood flow. Blood flow to the heart is the most important to survive. Depress the chest ⅓ of its width and allow it to recoil sufficiently between compressions.

How Do You Perform CPR On A Small Dog?
For small dogs and cats., use one hand or use both hands, like bellows from a blacksmith. They require 120 compressions per min.
What About A Medium To Large Sized Dog?
For medium to large dogs with keel chest (Labradors, Golden Retrievers, etc), pull the point of the elbow to the chest. That’s where the heart is and that’s where you should focus the energy of the chest compressions. Place both hands over that area. Lock your arms and place your shoulders over your hands. Use your core muscles to exert force. If you use your arms they will soon fatigue. Depress Rib cage 2- 4 inches. (In humans, it is expected part of the process to hear ribs cracking due to the force of the chest compressions). You want to aim for 80 compressions per minute. You can sing the lyrics to Stayin’ Alive by the bee Gee’s to keep you in the correct cadence.
Is CPR Different For Giant Breeds Or Breeds With Non-Traditional Body Shapes?
For Giant Breeds due the exact same procedure, except try and go to the highest point on his chest. Due to their size, it may be impossible to exert real force on the heart so use the chest as a pump instead of the heart itself. Aim for 80 compressions per minute. Barrel chested dogs (Bulldogs, Pugs, etc) Chest compressions may be more effective if they are lying on their back. Aim for 100 compressions per min.
How Many Compressions To Breaths Should You Do?
Check for breathing and pulses every 3 to 5 minutes during the period of CPR. 15 compressions to 1 breath if you are with someone and you can switch off, 30 compressions to 2 breaths if you are all by yourself.
Any Final Advice?
Remember not to panic. Your pet needs you the most in critical situations and it’s best to keep a clear head. Make sure you simulate on your stuffed animals at home. You don’t want your first time attempting CPR to be in a real-life emergency scenario.

Dog CPR with Dr. Courtney Campbell

Follow Dr. Courtney Campbell for all of your pet needs @DrCourtneyDVM!

A big “thank you” to Nasco Fort Atkinson and Simulaids, Inc., for our CPR Mannequins. You can buy your own at

The American Red Cross wants to empower dog and cat owners to learn how to provide emergency care until veterinary care is available by downloading the American Red Cross Pet First Aid App at Red

Explore the Top 5 Features of the American Red Cross Pet First Aid App.

The American Red Cross Pet First Aid App puts lifesaving information right in the hands of dog and cat owners so they can provide emergency care until veterinary assistance is available.

For more information on how you can help find a forever home visit Hallmark Channel’s Pet Project.

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