Nov 05, 2014
Choking Pet?...Do This
The signs of choking are much the same as a person. Your dog or
cat is struggling to breathe, with their mouth open. They may
be pawing at their mouth. They may be attempting to vomit.
You may hear an unusual sound as they attempt to breathe and
pull air through a foreign object lodged in their throat.
The causes of choking are with anything that can lodge in the
throat. This is fairly exclusive to dogs – cats are usually
more particular. An example would be a dog fetching a ball,
and having it lodge in their throat. A variety of food objects
can lodge in your pet’s airway.
CALL YOUR VET IF NEEDED. Dogs are notorious for trying to
swallow things that are a little too big. The result can be choking where an object lodges in the airway.
REMOVE THE OBJECT. When time is of the essence, you must
Open your pet’s mouth:
For a dog
* Open your pet’s mouth
* Grasp the upper jaw with one hand over the muzzle.
* Press the lips over the upper teeth with your fingers
on one side and the thumb on the other so that the dog’s
lips are between its teeth. Firm pressure may be required.
The dog then can’t close its mouth without biting itself
and is less able to bite you. Pull his tongue out of the way.
* Reach deeply in to the back of your pet’s throat and try to
grasp the object. If it is a ball, and you are unable to move
it, try using some type of instrument; tweezers, pliers or even
a spoon shaped tong.
For a cat
* Grasp the cat’s head so that your palm is over the cat’s eyes
and ears, and your thumb and index finger are behind the canine
(eye or fang) teeth.
* Tilt the cat’s nose upwards. In most cases this causes the cat to
automatically relax the jaw muscles so that you can open the mouth easily
* You can then use the index finger of the opposite hand to gently
open the mouth. Place the fingertip on the lower incisors (the small
teeth between the canines) and gently push the lower jaw down.
* An alternative is to push your thumb and index finger of the hand
holding the cat’s head towards each other. Some cats resent this more
and it is easier to get bitten but it does hold the mouth open while
the opposite hand is now completely free to hold tools etc.
* Examine the mouth and if you can see the object it may be possible to
remove it with your fingers, tweezers or small pliers immediately. Do
not attempt to remove a needle embedded in the roof of the mouth but
take your cat to your veterinarian.
* It may be possible to gently pull the tongue forward to gain better
access, but some cats will not allow this.
If this method does not work for extracting the object from your pet’s throat,
try this technique.
Lay your pet on its side. For small pets, place your palms
behind the last rib on both sides of your pet’s abdomen and press your palms together quickly 2 – 3 times.
Repeat if necessary.
For larger dogs, place both hands behind the last rib and push down and slightly forward sharply.
Repeat rapidly until the object is dislodged
If you still can’t remove the object and if your pet can breathe, transport
him to your veterinarian. However, if your pet can’t breathe you must continue to try to dislodge the object either by compression or by using the Heimlich,as your pet is unlikely to survive the delay in reaching veterinary aid.
COMPRESSIONS. Gentle compressions on both sides of the widest point of the chest may help dislodge a ball or other object. Place both hands at the back of your pet over the widest point of the chest while he is standing,
and give 5 firm compressions to dislodge the ball.
HEIMLICH. If after trying to manually remove the object, and after gentle
compressions it won’t move, and your pet is still not breathing, then
proceed with the Heimlich.
TURN your pet upside down, with his back against your chest.
WITH both arms, give sharp thrusts to the abdomen.
AFTER 5 thrusts, stop and check to see if the object is visible
in the airway. If so remove it and give 2 mouth-to-nose rescue
breaths. If the breaths do not go in, repeat HEIMLICH.
In some cases, your dog is too large to pick up. You can lay him
on his side, and make a fist. Put your fist into the hollow
beneath the rib cage, then push firmly inward and upward. Repeat
5 times, and then check to see if the object has been dislodged.
If after a few attempts it is still lodged, but you can still
hear wheezing and some noise when your pet is breathing, then
you have time to rush to your vet.
CPR. If your pet completely stops breathing, then you will have
to know the CPR steps.
After the airway has been opened, you may need to give artificial
CLOSE your pet’s mouth and breathe directly into his nose until
his chest expands. If the chest doesn’t expand then go back to
STEP 2 – AIRWAY.
VENTILATE at 15 breaths per minute. One BREATH every 4 seconds.
PROCEED to STEP 4 – CIRCULATION
In some cases of choking, your pet’s mouth has been injured.
This means feeding a soft food for 7-14 days while the wounds heal