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First Aid for Choking Dogs

It’s fairly easy to recognize the signs of choking in your dog. They may be thrashing around or pawing at their face. Their tongue may turn blue or they may even be unconscious. A choking dog is an emergency and you should be prepared to take them to the closest veterinarian as soon as possible. However, there are some steps to take before you get in the car. Here are tips for handling choking dogs.

Clear the mouth and throat

Before you do anything else, clear your dog’s windpipe. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this.

Open the dog’s mouth by placing your hand over their muzzle with your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other. Press your dog’s lips in so that they cover their teeth and pull their jaws apart. Visually inspect your dog’s mouth and run your finger up along their gum line, sliding it back to their throat while feeling for any foreign object.

Clean out any saliva or vomit to ensure you do not accidentally force more material down into the airway. If you can see the object, try and pull it out. If you can’t reach it and the dog is small enough that you can lift them, try picking them up by their back legs. Then, give them a vigorous shake while slapping their back.

If the dog is too big to pick up, lay them on their side on a solid surface and put your hand immediately behind their rib cage. Press slightly forward and down, quickly and firmly, until you expel the object.

Next steps

If you still cannot dislodge the object from your dog’s throat, transport them immediately to the nearest veterinarian. Try and have someone call ahead to the vet. Let the clinic know the nature of the emergency so they can be prepared.

If you remove the object and the dog is not breathing, check for a pulse by placing your fingers in the middle of their chest, approximately 2 inches behind his elbow. If you cannot detect a pulse, you should begin rescue breathing. Continue CPR as you transport your dog to the closest veterinarian.


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