Pet owners should consult their veterinarian for specific details on procedures outlined here.
During an emergency it is very important that you remain calm. Animals can sense your unease, but cannot understand what is happening and you cannot verbally tell them. Your body language is very important. Be calm, yet deliberate in your actions.
You have approximately eight minutes before life is most threatened.

When you determine that you either have corrected the life-threatening problem, or are unable to stabilize the animal, you should transport to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital.

Notify your emergency clinic that you are coming in with a dog in respiratory arrest with a foreign body airway obstruction and/or cardiac arrest.


The first step in animal CPR, after determining non-responsiveness, is to obtain a clear airway. You should not continue on, until this step has been achieved.

  1. Carefully pull the tongue out of the animal's mouth
    WARNING: even an unresponsive dog may bite by instinct!
  2. Make sure that the neck is reasonably straight; try to bring the head in-line with the neck.
    WARNING: Do not hyperextend in cases where neck trauma exists.
  3. Attempt 2 rescue breaths, by closing the mouth, and performing mouth-to-nose ventilations. If they go in with no problems continue on to the BREATHING section.
  4. Reposition the neck and try step 3 again.
  5. Visibly inspect the airway by looking into the mouth, and down the throat for foreign objects occluding the airway. Unlike human-CPR, rescuers may reach into the airway and remove foreign objects that are visible.
  6. Proceed to the Heimlich Maneuver.

Heimlich Maneuver

After attempting to ventilate:

  1. Turn the animal upside down, with its back against your chest
  2. With both arms, give 5 sharp thrusts (bear hugs) to the abdomen. Perform each thrust as if it is the one that will expel the object
  3. Stop, check to see if the object is visible in the airway, if so, remove it and give 2 mouth-nose rescue breaths. If the breaths do not go in, go back to step 1.
Use gravity to help you expel the object

Do not proceed with CPR, even if the animal goes into cardiac arrest. You MUST clear the airway first.


  1. After achieving a clear airway, you must determine whether the animal is breathing, and whether this breathing is effective:
  2. Carefully pull the tongue out of the animalŐs mouth
    WARNING: even an unresponsive dog may bite by instinct!
  3. Make sure that the neck is reasonably straight; try to bring the head in-line with the neck.
    WARNING: Do not hyperextend in cases where neck trauma exists.
  4. Ventilate the animal by closing the mouth, and performing mouth-to-nose ventilations. If they do not go in with ease go to A-Airway
  5. Ventilate at 20 breaths per minute If supplemental Oxygen is available, and the animal is breathing on its own, use a high-flow blowby.
    WARNING: Do not attempt to intubate the animal, without prior training, and properly sized ET tubes.
  6. Proceed to C-Circulation, while continuing respiratory support as necessary


This is the final step of CPR and should only be initiated after the airway and breathing steps have been completed:

  1. Make sure that there are no major (pooling/spurting blood) points of bleeding. Control as necessary
  2. Lay the animal on its right side
  3. Locate your hands where its left elbow touches the chest. Approximately the middle of the rib-cage
  4. Compress the chest 15 times followed by 2 rescue breaths (3 compressions every 2 seconds)
    • 1/2" - small dogs
    • 1" - medium dogs <
    • 1.5" - large dogs
  5. Repeat as necessary
 typical ribcage diagram


Animals do not have palpable carotid pulses. You can only obtain a femoral pulse in the inguinal (groin) crease.
(Proceed carefully on a conscious dog!)

Give them the following information via phone if possible:

  • Your name
  • Your time of arrival
  • The actions you have taken
  • Type of pet and size
  • If a foreign body, what the suspected object is
  • If a poison or medication has been ingested
  • How injury happened
  • Write their phone number here:________________________


What to do: Apply direct pressure to wound with a gauze pad or cloth for 5 to 10 minutes. If the wound is on an extremity, apply a tourniquet: tie a sash firmly around the limb above the lesion to slow the bleeding while the animal is being transported to the veterinarian's office. Loosen every three to 5 minutes.

Precautions: Both cats and dogs can cut themselves on outdoor obstacles such as jagged fences, broken glass or crumpled aluminum cans. Keep dogs on their leashes when walking them, and do not allow dogs or cats to roam freely outdoors unless you have carefully checked the area first.


What to do: If there is only localized irritation, apply ice every 5 to 10 minutes for 1/2 hour to reduce the swelling and discomfort. If there is swelling or difficulty breathing, your pet may be having an allergic reaction. Call veterinarian immediately. Use antihistamines only on the advice of a veterinarian.

Precautions: Animals (especially puppies and kittens) tend to be very curious and may stick their noses into bee, wasp or hornet nests. Aerosol insect repellents specially designed for use on animals are available in local pet stores and through veterinarians.


What to do: Symptoms include elevated temperature, rapid panting, wobbly gait and, ultimately, unconsciousness. Soak the animal with cool water ---in a bath or with a garden hose. Then gently dry with a towel and massage the legs and body. Give the animal small amounts of cool water. If the animal is unconscious or doesn't respond to treatment, take it to a veterinarian immediately.

Precautions: A closed car in hot weather (or a car left in the direct sun on a cool day) can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures. If you must leave your pet in a car, leave at least 5 inches of open window. If you'll be gone for more than 15 minutes, leave cold water for your pet. Dogs and cats should not be allowed outdoors for extended periods of time on hot days, unless there's ample shade.


What to do: Wash immediately with cold water and apply ice to numb the area. Never apply grease or ointment. Clip hair around the burn. Consult a veterinarian even if burn seems mild; an antibiotic can be prescribed to prevent infection.

Precautions: Kitchens are where most burns occur, because dogs and cats can be accidently scalded by hot liquids such as coffee or tea, or touch hot pans or toasters. Consider designating the kitchen off limits to your pet during meal preparation.


What to do: Remove any objects---lamps, chairs, small tables or china---that might injure the convulsing animal. Stay a safe distance away. A convulsing pet is not vicious, but it has no control of it jaw muscles and may bite reflexively. If the episode lasts longer than 5 minutes, call your veterinarian.

Precautions: A seizure can be triggered by a variety of things: epilepsy, low blood calcium, low blood sugar, distemper, liver or kidney disease, or a tumor. Falling over, salivating, excreting, leg paddling lasts only a few minutes. Record seizure time, length and symptoms, so your vet can diagnose and treat the problem.


What to do: Try to determine the substance your pet has ingested, then contact your veterinarian or poison-control center for advice. Meanwhile, try to make the animal eat "activated" charcoal to dilute the poison. Do not induce vomiting unless advised; vomiting can cause further damage by re-exposing the esophagus and oral cavity to the irritating substance.

Precautions: "Pet-proof" your home by moving all potentially dangerous substances---germicides, insecticides, detergents, corrosives, lead-based paints, poisonous house or garden plants, medicines---out of reach of your pets. Never give an animal a medication that is designed for humans, unless directed to do so by your veterinarian.