Animal CPR Training: It Could Save Your Pet’s Life
Published on May 8, 2013 by Staff Writer
Broadview University-Orem’s vet tech program chair, Heather Riggs, has been giving presentations to firefighters all over Utah County.
Firefighters have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. In risking their lives to save our friends and neighbors, they also risk their lives to save our family pets. Just like humans need CPR and first aid treatments, dogs and cats need their own type of emergency medical attention. If the proper techniques are used, our pets can be revived even before being taken to the veterinarian. Heather has been teaching the firefighters about emergency rescue techniques for animals.
Covering topics such as assessing the body language of animals, quick restraint tips, and CPR, she uses her adorable bulldog, Rocky, as a visual aid in her demonstrations.
Rocky’s laid back temperament makes him the star of the show. Donning a cute firefighter outfit (pants included), he allows Heather to adjust his body into various positions without a bark of objection.
Here is a basic rundown of the steps to take when administering animal CPR:
Check for breathing and a pulse.
Pulse is taken with the middle and index finger on the animal’s inner thigh (femoral artery), below the ankle, below the wrist, or where the left elbow touches the chest.
If the animal is not breathing, give mouth-to-snout breath.
Cats and small dogs: Place mouth over its nose and mouth to blow air in.
Medium to large dogs: Place mouth over its nose to blow air in.
If the airway is blocked, give Heimlich maneuver.
Rocky is especially tolerant during this demonstration, as Heather lifts him upside down—her arms wrapped around his body—and shows everyone how to give five sharp thrusts just below the rib cage (which is above the rib cage when holding the animal upside down).
If the animal has no pulse, start chest compressions.
Lay animal on its right side and place hands over ribs where its elbow touches its chest (closest to its heart) and begin chest compressions.
Check pulse after one minute and then every few minutes. Continue giving CPR until animal has a pulse and is breathing. Stop CPR after 20 minutes.
Toward the end of the presentations, the firefighters are invited to participate in some hands-on training with stuffed dog models (and Rocky) to help facilitate the learning process.
By learning just a few simple steps, these firefighters are now equipped with the skills necessary to not only rescue, but bring back to life our furry loved ones.