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How to Do CPR on a Dog

Learn how to administer dog CPR so you know what to do in case of an emergency.


  • TIP: Press down 80 to 120 times per minute for larger dogs and 100 to 150 times per minute for smaller dogs, alternating chest compressions and rescue breathing.
  • Step 1: Continue administering rescue breaths and chest compressions until you get a heartbeat and regular breathing. Once you feel regular breaths and a steady heartbeat, visit a veterinarian immediately. You've just given your dog their best chance at survival.
  • FACT: 41 percent of pet owners reported that they have experienced at least one pet safety emergency that required an emergency trip to a vet.
  • Step 2: Lay your dog gently on their right side. Place the heel of your hand on the dog's ribcage, just behind their left elbow, and put your other hand on top of the first. Press down on the heart, going down about an inch for medium-sized dogs and an additional inch more or less for larger or smaller dogs, respectively. Alternate chest compressions and rescue breathing.
  • Step 3: Continue trying rescue breaths until you see the dog's chest expand, and then continue breathing into the dog's nose 12 to 15 times per minute, or once every five seconds.
  • Step 4: Make sure your dog's airway is clear by pulling their tongue forward and out of their mouth. Look down their throat to check for a foreign object, carefully removing anything you see. Then, unless there is obvious neck or head trauma, straighten your dog's head and bring it in line with their neck.
  • TIP: Be especially cautious when moving your dog's tongue and removing blockages -- even unresponsive dogs can instinctively bite.
  • Step 5: Hold the dog's mouth closed and exhale 2 breaths directly into their nose, watching for chest expansion. If the chest doesn't expand, check again for airway blockages, and then try repositioning the head in line with the neck for a straight airway.
  • Step 6: Check your dog to make sure they're unresponsive. Put your hand in front of their nose and mouth to check for breathing and press your ear against their chest where their left elbow touches it to check for a heartbeat.

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