First aid for choking dogs

A choking dog is an emergency and you should be prepared to take him to the closest veterinarian as soon as possible. It’s fairly easy to recognize the signs of choking in your dog; he may be thrashing around, pawing at his face, his tongue may turn blue or he may even be unconscious.

There are some steps to take before you get in the car. Here are some tips to follow in case of emergency.

Clear his mouth and throat

Before you do anything else, his windpipe has to be cleared. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this.

Open the dog’s mouth by placing your hand over his muzzle with your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other. Press his lips in so that they cover his teeth and pull his jaws apart. Visually inspect the dog’s mouth and run your finger up along his gum line, sliding it back to his throat while feeling for any foreign object.

Clean out any saliva or vomitus to ensure you do not accidentally force more material down into the airway. If you can see the object, try and pull it out. If you can’t reach it and the dog is small enough that you can lift him, try picking him up by his back legs and giving him a vigorous shake while slapping his back.

If the dog is too big to pick up, lay him on his side on a solid surface and put your hand immediately behind his rib cage. Press slightly forward and down, quickly and firmly, until you expel the object.

Further measures

If you still cannot dislodge it, transport him to the nearest veterinarian. Try and have someone call ahead to the vet and let them know the nature of the emergency so they can be prepared.

If you remove the object and the dog is not breathing, check for a pulse by placing your fingers in the middle of his chest, approximately two inches behind his elbow. If you cannot detect a pulse, you should begin rescue breathing and continue it as you transport the dog to the closest veterinarian.

Source: Adapted from the Veterinary Information Network