Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs | Explained step by step

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dog eating a bone

Ideally, a dog should always be attended by a professional, but there are times when there is no time to waste. So it is important to know what to do if a dog chokes.

Take note in this article of basic first aid and the step-by-step to perform the well-known “Heimlich maneuver”. Having this information in mind could save your life.

Index of contents

  • 1 Signs for an emergency action
  • 2 How to do the Heimlich maneuver
  • 3 Tips to prevent a dog from choking

Signs for an emergency action

Before you panic you have to detect if our furry partner is indeed suffocating. If it is just a cough, you will notice that he breathes without difficulty. On the other hand, if the dog is drowning it will have serious problems inhaling.

In this case you will suffocate and be nervous. You will not know what is happening to you and it is normal for you to feel fear. It is also common that scratch his mouth insistently. These signs are indicative that we must intervene as soon as possible so that our furry can return to normal.

How to do it? One of the most effective techniques is the so-called Heimlich maneuver, a procedure that helps free the airway and prevent choking. Let’s see what exactly it is.

How to do the Heimlich maneuver

The Heimlich maneuver was first described in 1974 by the American doctor Henry Heimlich. To be able to do it correctly in dogs you must follow the following steps:

  • First you have to make sure that the dog is indeed drowning. To do this, open your mouth and check that there is nothing strange. If you see something in his throat, try to remove it with your fingers or pull his tongue to spit it out.
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Pay special attention if you detect an object with sharp points or edges such as chipped bones or needles.

maneuver to help a choked dog

Don’t forget that your friend is as nervous as you are, so be careful when you put your hand on his mouth. Otherwise it could bite you from the tension.

  • Before trying the Heimlich maneuver Try to eject the object on your own. If the dog is small you can hold it on the hips and turn it upside down.

If your furry friend is a big, heavy guy, you can use a similar technique. Just raise its hind legs while the dog continues to lean on the front, as if you were carrying a wheelbarrow.

  • In the event that choking persist we will carry out the “Heimlich maneuver”. To do this, put your back against your chest and bring both hands together just below your ribs.

Then grab your hands and press in and up 5 times. When it comes to a large dog, get behind it, put your arms around it (always under the ribs) and perform this same movement.

  • If the problem persists place it in a sitting or standing position and tap it another 5 times between the shoulder blades. Try to make them dry, with the bottom of the palm of your hand. While performing the maneuvers, be sure to check your mouth to see if it has managed to eject the object. Continue with the mentioned steps until you can remove the foreign object.
  • If your partner is unconscious Give it 5 breaths along with 5 compressions on the abdomen and continue with these two steps (breathing and compressions) until the object comes out.
  • As soon as your airways are clear , check your heart rate and respiratory rate. If necessary, perform a CPR and take it to the vet as soon as possible.
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Even if you are also scared and do not have much experience in first aid, when such a situation arises it is important that you act quickly and try not to lose your nerve.

It is impossible to predict when an incident will occur, but knowing how to react appropriately can make a difference. Also, there are some tips that can reduce the chances of a dog choking.

Tips to prevent a dog from choking

The reality is that we cannot be reviewing all the time what our adventure partner brings to his mouth.

However, there are certain recommendations to keep in mind. One is that dogs often choke on rubber balls, cartilage, and objects that become spongy when wet.

Therefore, a good measure is not to have these types of elements at your fingertips.

Also keep in mind that dogs tend to chew little when they eat. For this reason it is better to give them chopped foods or that we know they can swallow without difficulty; in gluttonous races like Labrador, the Golden Retriever or the Beagle you have to take even more precautions.

Equally important is recognizing when we are facing drowning and when facing a disease like larynx-tracheitis or kennel cough, which shows signs very similar to those of a dog when something is stuck in his throat.

With these guidelines in mind and some basic first aid knowledge, your furry will have a much better chance of overcoming such a bad drink. And you, have you already been through a similar situation? Tell us what happened.