As many of you know; I absolutely treasure my pug Ya-Ya. I am also a die-hard animal lover and when I read this article I had to share this with my blog followers. I have always been in question as to whether the same techniques we use in AHA choking victims and patients can also be used on animals. James Barr, a clinical assistant professor at Texas &M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences advised that "pet owners should perform the Heimlich maneuver on their pet if they believe the pet is choking on something,” Barr went onto further indicate that “Usually this means that the owner has seen the pet swallow something and that the pet has been having trouble breathing since. This can be an object that was swallowed unintended, but it can also be something like a toy or a rawhide.”
Barr furthers suggested that "if a dog or cat is suffocating, it may start to panic. In this case, pet owners should approach their pet and carefully restrain it. Do not muzzle the dogs. First, check to see if the object can be removed with your fingers. Open the animal’s mouth using two hands and use your fingers to remove the object. It may also be helpful to use the flat side of a spoon to push the object closer if it is out of reach".
In addition, Barr indicated that "If the object cannot be removed with fingers, objects may be removed from small dogs’ and cats’ throats by the owner gently picking up the dog by their thighs and swinging them from side to side. Apply forward pressure to the abdomen just behind the rib-cage, if the condition does not improve. Larger dogs require the Heimlich maneuver if the object cannot be removed with fingers."
Here is what to do to perform the actual Heimlich Maneuver:
If your large dog is standing, place your arms around its belly and make a fist with your hands. Push up and forward just behind the rib cage.
If the dog is lying down, place one hand on its back and use the other hand to squeeze the abdomen upward.
Be sure to check and remove any loose objects in or around the dog’s mouth that have become dislodged.
Here is the article link if you want to read more and/or make a copy.
Dr. Tracy A. Jones is the CEO of Help-A-Heart CPR, LLC and an American Heart Association, ASHI, and American Red Cross Master Program Trainer, Instructor, & AHA Faculty Member located in San Antonio, Texas.