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Pet Not Breathing

By Dr. Andrew Jones

From: Dr Andrew Jones
Author: Veterinary Secrets Revealed
Website: http://www.theonlinevet.com

Re: Not breathing


Good morning – I am hoping that you and your pets had an enjoyable weekend.

NOT breathing

A few weeks ago I had a frantic call from a client who thought that their dog had stopped breathing – she suspected he had choked on something.

I tried to talk her through performing some rescue breaths- to see if his airway was really obstructed. Then if so, I was going to try and describe how to do the Heimlich.

This is hard on the phone, and virtually impossible to do in an emergency.

Fortunately after she got of the phone to check, her dog hacked up a piece of meat, and was breathing fine.

An Emergency is NOT the time to learn

But being in this situation sure is not the time to learn this stuff. There are a few things that you need to do first.

1. KNOW how to check if your dog or cat stops breathing.

2. PRACTICE what to do IF this ever happens.

I have done a HUGE Dog and cat First Aid Video Presentation which shows you all of these steps in detail.

The video is here:


For those of you not getting my Video, here are the Steps:

If your pet is CHOKING

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.

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.


When time is of the essence, you must act quickly.

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 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.
-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.

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 respiration.

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.



P.S. The one BIG thing I can’t stress enough is that you’ve got to PRACTICE- an emergency situation is NOT the time to learn how to remove a ball from the back of your pets mouth.

Practice what I have given you today.

It will only take 5 minutes, BUT it could mean the difference in saving your pet, or someone else’s.

P.P.S. My newest Video on ALL of the common Dog and Cat Emergencies– What to do for Bleeding, Choking, Wounds, Fractures, Shock and More is here:


Your path to a healthier pet.

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew Jones, DVM


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Topics: Pet health | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Pet Not Breathing”

  1. Avatar Syl Says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I had a pet choking some years ago. It was a small toy poodle. I happened to be in the room with her as she was eating. I think I had given her some meatballs. I looked at her and her eyes were bugging out. She suddenly feel over sideways. I panicked! I didn’t know what was wrong really, but I did open her mouth and I think I actually pushed down was was clogging her airway. She recovered almost instantly. Moral of the story mash meat or cut it up real small.

  2. Avatar Leah Says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 12:51 am

    I just took my Millie Grace to the vet last week thinking she was choking. $126.00 later I found out she wasnt choking she was coughing. The vet thought she had kennal cough. They did an xray just to be sure there was no obstruction. Luckily my vet is up on holistic healing and let me give her colloidal silver instead of an anti biotic. She is doing fine. I am sure I could have avoided the visit if I had more info. But when they cough to the point of puking I freaked out and ran her in.


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM