When you become a first-time parent, you plan for all the possible emergencies. Now that you've become the first-time owner of a four-legged family member, are you prepared for the emergencies? Most importantly, do you know what to do if your pet chokes?
You might not realize this, but pets can choke on food and other objects too. Unfortunately, they have no way of letting you know what's wrong. If your dog begins to gag, dry-retch or cough, or appears to be digging at its throat, it might be trying to tell you that it's choking. Here's what you should do when your dog is choking.
Try to Remove the Object
If your dog is gasping for breath, you're not going to have time to get to the veterinarian. Grasp your pet and open their mouth as wide as it will go. Move their tongue to the side so you can see down their throat. If you can see the object, carefully reach down their throat and pull the object out.
You may need to use a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers if you can't grasp the object with your fingers. If you still can't reach the object – but you can feel air escaping – transport them to the closest veterinary hospital. If you can't feel air escaping through their throat, it means your pet is not receiving oxygen. Do not try to transport yet. Move on to the next method and continue trying to remove the object.
Give Gentle Chest Compressions
If the object is still preventing your pet from receiving oxygen, you'll need to try chest compressions. Place your hands on either side of your pet's chest cavity and give three or four firm chest compressions. You'll do this by pressing inwards with your hands. Repeat the compressions several times. If your pet has collapsed and is laying down, place your cupped hand on side of its chest and make several claps against its chest. Open your pet's mouth and try to retrieve the object.
Do a Modified Heimlich
If the object is still too far inside the throat to remove, try this modified Heimlich. Hold your pet in your lap. Reach your arms around its body and place a closed fist on the hollow area directly below the rib cage. Place your other hand directly over your fist and pull up and in towards your abdomen. Open your pet's mouth and retrieve the object.
If you have a pet, you need to be prepared for all types of emergency situations. The instructions above will help you care for your pet when it's choking. If you can't remove the object and your pet is still having a difficult time breathing, get to a vet as soon as possible.
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