Sunday, October 30, 2011
The Heimlich Maneuver For Your Dog?
Whether you’ve taken a course in lifesaving techniques or you’ve only seen the Heimlich Maneuver in movies, you may have wondered if you can use it on dogs. The answer is yes. You can use a modified Heimlich Maneuver on dogs.
Before you attempt to do the Heimlich Maneuver on your dog you should make sure that your dog is actually choking. A dog may simply be having trouble breathing which is not the same as choking. Signs of choking will include ingesting something, followed by pawing at his face with his paw, as though trying to remove it. Your dog may try to cough and act frantically.
If you are certain that your dog is choking then you can try the Heimlich Maneuver, otherwise you could harm him.
Take off any collar or leash that your dog is wearing that could get in the way. Try to check inside his mouth for any objects that you can see. You will have to feel around with your fingers but try not to let yourself be bitten -- your dog may be flexing his jaws and he could accidentally bite you.
Don’t pull out something unless you can identify what it is. Dogs have small bones that support the back of their tongues and you don’t want to hurt your dog.
If your dog is small and it’s hard for you to reach the object, try holding your dog upside down. This can make an object come loose. If your dog is bigger, try lifting his back legs up and tilting his head down. This may dislodge and object.
You can also try striking your dog on the back, between the shoulder blades, with the palm of your hand. This may dislodge something caught in his throat.
If none of these things work, then you can try the Heimlich Maneuver.
Hold your dog around his waist, with his back to you, in a hug.
Put your fist just beneath his ribs.
Make several small pumps to his abdomen. Three to five pumps is usually enough.
Check his mouth to see if the object is free.
Repeat one or two times if necessary, then get your dog to the closest vet as soon as possible.
Even if you are successful at removing the object you should take your dog to the vet right away. You may have accidentally injured your dog in trying to remove the object.
Remember to use small pumps instead of one big jolt. Unless you have a St. Bernard, that’s usually all you need to do for your dog.
Some shelters and kennel clubs offer pet first aid courses that cover these techniques. It’s a good idea to take one of these courses if you have the chance.