How to Help a Choking Pet

how to help a choking petIt can be a terrifying moment. Your pet is enjoying a meal when all of a sudden you hear your dog begin to choke. You listen for a moment to see if your dog will cough and be alright, but it is apparent that he or she is going to need help. So what do you do in the event that your dog is choking? We have outlined the steps to take if you ever find yourself in this scary situation.

The first step, if you suspect that your dog is choking, is to examine his or her mouth. Sometimes, your dog may be choking on something large enough that you will be able to pull it out. You may have to move your pet’s tongue out of the way to locate the foreign object. If you still cannot see what is causing the choking, you will have to proceed to the Heimlich maneuver for your dog.

Guidelines to Help a Choking Pet

For Large Dogs:

If you have a large dog, the first step is to position yourself behind the dog. Wrap your arms around your dog’s mid section. With one hand, make a fist and position your thumb right in the area where you dog’s sternum ends. Your other hand should then wrap around the hand that is in the fist. In a sudden movement, thrust upward and forward in the direction of the dog’s shoulders. This should be a sudden and forceful movement. Repeat this motion about four or five times and check your dog’s mouth to clean any debris. You may have to repeat this procedure if your dog continues to choke. If your dog stops breathing, it is time to begin performing rescue breathing for your pet.

For Smaller Dogs:

For a smaller choking dog, first begin by holding your small dog with his or her spine positioned against your chest. Just like with large dogs, make a fist with one of your hands and press it into your dog’s abdomen in the area where your dog’s sternum ends. Wrap the other hand around the hand that is forming the fist and complete four to five sudden thrusts upward toward your dog’s shoulders. Check the dog’s mouth and clear any debris that becomes dislodged. You may have to repeat this process if the dog remains choking.

Time for the Vet:

If the dog remains choking, it may be time for an emergency visit to the vet’s office. It is vitally important to try to keep your pet calm for the trip to the vet so that a lodged object does not become worse en route. Once at the veterinary office, the vet may have to sedate your dog to better assess the situation, and in a worse case scenario may have to perform surgery. The vet would perform an emergency tracheotomy to position a breathing tube to at least allow your pet to breath while the vet removes the lodged object.

Should you ever find yourself in this scary situation, know that the professional and expert veterinary doctors at Bonner Springs Animal Care Center are here to help. We have a full staff of trained doctors that can handle any emergency, large or small. To learn more about our practice and to see what services we offer, visit our website at!

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