CPR For Pets - How to do it! -


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is part of first aid that everyone should know how to perform or administer. Through CPR, you give chest compressions, followed by artificial respiration. CPR is used on individuals who have had sudden cardiac arrest, are without heartbeat and have stopped breathing. Today, major organizations and communities are encouraging and recommending each of us to learn the techniques of CPR and first aid, so that we are able to combat medical emergencies. Furthermore, cardiac arrest and similar occurrences take place outside the hospital vicinity – 70% within residential and public arenas – with bystanders and regular people taking the situation into their hands. Thus, without prior CPR knowledge and skills, you cannot help a patient or revive him or worse, enable him to survive or buy some time for the arrival of medical personnel. Many of us are under the notion that CPR or similar protocols are designed for human beings. Well, you are wrong for sure!

Those who have pets – cats, dogs, etc. – will understand the situation and be acquainted with CPR techniques and procedures. CPR for pets is not as similar as, it is for human beings. It should be used during same situations though – when you are unable to hear or feel the heartbeat of your pet.

Perform CPR when it is required

Now that we know and are aware that pets too can have cardiac arrest, it is time to learn how to perform CPR but one that is designed for animals. Prior to performing CPR, it is important to know that CPR will prove to be hazardous and might cause fatal or physical problems if performed on animals that are healthy. You should give CPR when it is needed only!

CPR procedures vary as per the size and weight of your pet.

CPR procedure for pets that weight less than 14 kgs or 30 pounds

  • Lay down your pet flat on the surface, with its right side against it.
  • Hold it with cupped palms, and place another palm above its heart area.
  • Give chest compression for 1 inch – 1/3rd width of its chest, with one count and release after it. Follow the process and complete 100 compressions within 1 minute.
  • If you are alone, breathe into its nose one time after every 5 chest compressions.
  • Continue rendering CPR till you are able to resuscitate it. If you fail at it, rush it to the hospital before it’s too late!

CPR procedure for pets (weighing more than 14 kgs/30 pounds)

  • First lay your pet flat on the surface, with its right side placed against the surface.
  • Once you’ve positioned your pet, place one palm on its rib cage, close to its heart and the other palm on top of the first palm.
  • Press its rib cage without bending your elbows that in a downward motion.
  • Give chest compressions for 1 quarter – 1/3rd of the chest’s width with 1 count and release after it.
  • Give 80 compressions in 1 minute.
  • With your hand, close its muzzle or nose prior to giving artificial respiration. If you are alone, then breathe into its nose after every 5 compressions.
  • Continue with the CPR until and unless, your ‘buddy’ starts breathing again and you find a steady pulse on it.
  • If your fuzzy frienddoes not show improve signs or has not revived even after getting 10 minutes of chest compressions and artificial breathings, it’s time to rush it to the hospital before it’s too late.

As a pet owner or animal lover, we should learn about Pet CPR for protecting animals when they are experiencing a medical crisis. However, performing CPR on cats or dogs that does not have a heartbeat or are not breathing is ineffective in most cases.

The survival rate is only 7% and that too, when CPR is performed within veterinary hospital environment, with the involvement of technicians, drugs and doctors. Giving this sad figure in mind, more and more veterinary specialists are collaborating for the development of more evidence based and standardized guidelines for performing successful and effective CPR on pets.

The recommended guidelines are inclusive of –

  1. Performing 100 to 120 compressions, within 1 minute over 1/3rd – 1 ½ of chest width of the pet, who should be laid on its side against a flat surface.
  2. Ventilate intubated pet with 10 breaths/minute.
  3. Perform CPR within 2-minute cycles and then allow another person to continue with another cycle.
  4. Give vasopressors every 3 to 5 minutes, while performing CPR. Vasopressors are medications that help in the constriction of blood vessels.

Owning a pet is nothing less than a responsibility. After all, it’s yet another life and more of us should get to know how to take care of our fuzzy friends during medical emergencies too. The best thing about the era we live in is that information and knowledge is available at the drop of a hat (INTERNET). There are numerous resources available online that offer information related to first aid care and instructions for pets or animals, including CPR, pediatric advanced life support and more.

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