Emergencies: Choking Dog

Narrated from: Dog Health

Often your puppy will chew on anything and everything they can get their jaws around. Left unattended and uncrated in a 6 or 8 hour day your dog can easily destroy your sofa, your favorite leather shoes, and your entertainment center, and of course, anything else of any value to you. You can read the articles on selecting a crate and how to train them to love being in it to avoid most of this. Even when you are home with him or out on a walk he will likely find things to chew on. It is imperative that you know what to do in the event that your dog gets something stuck in his throat. Even when your dog is older if he gets a bone and it splinters you will need to know what to do to save his life.

When your dog chews he is not necessarily trying to eat the object of his attention but sometimes the object can get lodged in the throat. Most likely he will still be able to breathe because their throats usually become only partially blocked. Your dog will probably become fearful and run back and forth with his head held high in an attempt to clear his airway. Sometimes your dog will try to clear his own throat by coughing, using his paws or even by trying to vomit. You will probably see abnormal drooling. Action must be taken right away if his own attempts are not clearing his airway. Try prising his mouth open all the way by placing your thumb all the way at the base so he cannot accidently bite down on you. If you can see the object you can use your fingers to pull it out. If you cannot see the object immediately follow the directions below.

For puppies you can lift them by their back legs, holding them upside down and pulling on their tongue firmly but gently. Check again to see if you can pull the object out. If you cannot see what is causing the blockage do not try and pull it out. You can actually cause further damage by pushing the blockage down farther into his throat and closing his airway.

To do the Heimlich maneuver on a puppy you can hold him in a standing position and straddle him. Feel the bottom of his chest where his ribs begin. Just under his ribs give him a firm pull with your arm, moving your arm towards you or the dog’s back and upward to the dog’s head. It must cause the air to be forced out, hopefully pushing the blockage out with the air. Check to see if you can find the blockage in his mouth or if it shot out when you performed the Heimlich. Again, if you can see the object in his mouth you can try to pull it out. If you cannot see it, perform the Heimlich maneuver again. You do not want to break his ribs but you need to be firm when you push his wind out so this must be a very quick thrust before checking for the object again. If you still do not see what is causing the problem take him to the nearest facility to have him checked by a veterinarian.

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