Save your Dog with the Heimlich Maneuver
It is heartbreaking and scary to see your pet choking and not knowing what to do. First of all, don’t panic. There is a way to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on your pet.
Heimlich Maneuver in 9 Steps
- Open your pet's mouth and check for a foreign object. If you can see something in his mouth or throat, try to remove it with your fingers, or grip his tongue and pull it toward you to try to dislodge the object. Alternatively, move your finger around inside your dog's mouth to try to feel and dislodge any foreign object. (There is obviously a risk of being bitten, so take appropriate precautions anytime you put your fingers in your pet's mouth.)
- If you have no luck dislodging the object by manually removing it, pick your dog up and place his back against your chest. Put both hands under his waist area behind the ribs. Make a fist with your hands, place them behind the last rib, and rapidly push up and in 5 times.
- If your dog is too heavy to lift, stand behind him, place your arms around him under the rib cage, make a fist with both hands, and pull in and upward rapidly 5 times.
- If your dog is unconscious and too heavy to lift, lay him on his right side. Kneel beside him with his legs pointing toward you. Place one hand on the other and place the palm of the bottom hand right behind his ribs. Push in and up 5 times rapidly.
- Open your dog's mouth again and look for any foreign object dislodged during the abdominal thrusts you just performed. Move your finger around in his mouth to dislodge and remove the object.
- If the object still hasn't been dislodged, with your dog on the ground, put your hands in front of his hips, then lift and suspend him with his head toward the floor. If he's too heavy to lift, lift his back feet, until his head is lower than his hips.
- Recheck your pet's mouth and use your finger to feel for the object and remove it.
- If this doesn't work, put your dog in a sitting or standing position and use the palm of your hand to deliver 5 sharp blows to his back between the shoulder blades.
- Open your dog's mouth to check again for a foreign object. You might want to use a small flashlight to get a better look inside. Use your fingers to try to find and clear the object.
- Until the object is dislodged, continue to repeat the above steps.
- If your dog loses consciousness, give him 5 breaths followed by 5 abdominal thrusts and continue these 2 steps (breaths and thrusts) until the object is dislodged.
As soon as the object is dislodged, check your dog's airway, breathing, and heart rate. Perform CPR if necessary and get your dog to your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital immediately.