Thursday, July 30, 2009

Training Tip.... Thursdays

This week is pet safety week for us, so lets discuss How to do the Heimlich Maneuver on a dog?

I never thought I would really have to do this on a dog.... but I did.

I was boarding Kepa and his sister Lulu one weekend, and they both eat their food pretty fast. Although their food had never presented an issue before of course it happens when I am boarding them.

My neighbours were over for dinner, and I had just finished feeding Kepa. As I am washing their bowls, we hear Kepa trying to hack up whatever is down his throat. He walked around the room in discomfort, but each time he coughed in an attempt to spit out what was stuck... he would fail at it. My neighbour suggested we give him a more kibble (we gave him Wyatt's kibble since it was bigger) to try and push what was stuck. It didn't work. Then I pushed my fingers gently down this throat attempting to push down what may have been stuck (should be done with a lot of caution) and he only hacked up phlegm.

We knew he was choking, but he was walking around, still able to breath, thank god not as frantic as he could have been. I did the Heimlich on him, and in two pumps he forcefully spat out one kibble! Of course, he went after it to eat it again.... but this could happen to any one of us with pets.... so be prepared.

First and foremost it is important to be very sure your dog is choking. If your dog is frantic, coughing, pawing at his/her face or neck area, demonstarate difficulty in breathing, pacing/running back and forth acting very stressed and nervous etc... your dog could be choking.

I would strongly recommend you do not try this without ever having gone through a Pet First Aid CPR class (we offer them at Doglando).

Here is what you should do:

If your pet is small and you cannot easily remove the object, lift and suspend him with the head pointed down. For larger animals, lift the rear legs so the head is tilted down. This can help dislodge an item stuck in the throat.

Another method is to administer a sharp blow with the palm of your hand between the shoulder blades. This can sometimes dislodge an object. If this does not work, a modified Heimlich maneuver can be attempted.

Grasp the animal around the waist so that the rear is nearest to you, similar to a bear hug.

Place a fist just behind the ribs.

Compress the abdomen several times (usually 3-5 times) with quick pushes.

Check the mouth to see if the foreign object has been removed.

This maneuver can be repeated one to two times but if not successful on the first attempt, make arrangements to immediately take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital.

Even if you are successful in removing a foreign object, veterinary examination is recommended. Internal injury could have occurred that you may not realize.

Dog Responsibly....University of Doglando

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