How to Perform Dog CPR to Save Your Pet's Life

You are probably familiar with Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), commonly used on humans to restart the heart and restore breathing. However, it is not just for people! Learning how to perform dog CPR could save your pet's life. 

All About Dog CPR

Dog CPR depends on artificial respirations combined with chest compressions to help restore breathing and revive the heart, so it beats again. When a pet or human stops breathing, their oxygen level drops. The body depends on oxygen to survive, so the brain, kidney, liver, and other vital organs start to fail. If respiration and heartbeat are not restored, then brain damage will occur, followed by death. It is imperative to act quickly with CPR to save your dog's life.

Learn How to Perform Dog CPR

Check to see if your dog is still breathing and feel for a heartbeat. If the animal's chest is not moving and cannot detect a heartbeat, it is time to act quickly and start CPR with chest compressions. 

  1. If you have a small dog or a dog with a deep chest, then place the heel of your hand over the pet's heart and place your other hand over the first hand while the animal lays on its right side. If the dog is deep-chested, then place the heel of the hand over the widest part of the dog's chest and place the second hand over the first hand. 
  2. For a dog with a barrel chest, you will need to position the dog on its back and place one hand over the widest part of the dog's sternum and place your other hand over the first hand. Lock your elbows and position your shoulders, so they are directly over your elbows before you begin compressions. 
  3. You will push fast and hard at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. You will press down so that a ⅓ to ½ of the pet's chest compresses. After each compression, the chest should come back fully before the subsequent compression.
  4. Count from one to 30 and then give a rescue breath by closing the pet's mouth, extending the neck and head to open the airway. Cover the dog's nose with your mouth and exhale until you see and feel the pet's chest rise. Provide two rescue breaths and then resume CPR. 
  5. Provide 30 breaths and then two rescue breaths - repeat.
  6. Every two minutes, check for breathing and a heartbeat. 

It would be best if you continued CPR until you reach the veterinary clinic. Sadly, if the dog doesn't respond to CPR within 10 minutes of administration, the pet might not be able to be saved. However, always confirm with a veterinarian. A lot depends on what has caused the dog's heart and breathing to stop. If the animal fell into icy water, then sometimes the dog can be revived even if it has been past the 10-minute mark if you reach emergency medical care in time. 

Knowing how to perform dog CPR could easily save your pet's life and is a valuable asset of knowledge for anyone to have during an emergency. 



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I just finished my mandatory CPR class at work and these instructions are so similar! Thank you for this info!

Susan K White

Did not understand number 5. Is there a video to watch? Thank you.

Beverly Patton

Shouldn’t it say for #5….
Provide 30 compressions and 2 rescue breaths?

Sandy Donner



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