How to save your dog from suffocation?

It is quite common for a dog to risk choking due to an ingested object or other. To save your dog from suffocation, you need to follow a series of specific moves. First, keep calm, otherwise, everything will get even more complicated.

Dogs quickly notice changes in their owners’ mood. If your four-legged friend is in danger of suffocation, he will get very agitated. But if you can’t stay calm and you move too, in a rambling way, his behavior will suffer. Calm him, try to calm him down, and speak to him in a sweet voice.

It is always convenient to have the vet’s phone number on hand. It is also advisable to add the data of a professional or a 24-hour clinic as well. Be prepared to carefully follow the instructions that your doctor can give you verbally.

First thing: check the dog’s condition

The causes of possible suffocation can be many. Some breeds have a  longer than normal palatine veil. This is the case of the Carlino, the Pekinese, the Bassotto, and, in general, small dogs. A peculiarity that particularly interests the Molossers, those animals with a very flattened snout.

This type of palate causes the dog to be forced to suck very forcefully and, in the case of the presence of bulky objects or parts of food, it is easier for the breath to be obstructed. Being a specificity of a few breeds, this drawback is overcome by the animal in a natural way, without further complications.

The so-called “dog cough” or even heart failure can make breathing more difficult and laborious . In these cases there are no maneuvers to solve a choking problem and it is always necessary to contact the veterinarian directly.

Maneuvers to save your dog from suffocation

When choking is produced by a swallowed object, it is necessary to act quickly , but also calmly. The best thing to do is open the dog’s jaws and check whether the object is visible to the naked eye or not. If so, take a pair of tweezers and remove it with utmost care.

If the dog is moving in a frenzy, it is best to avoid this maneuver. Better to call your vet and follow the instructions provided, or take your pet directly to the canine emergency room.

To avoid problems, try to hold the animal’s face still, opening it towards the floor. Then shake him, so that gravity will help him spit out the choking object . If your dog is large, grab his hind legs, like a wheelbarrow.

You can also try to push from the back to help expel the stuck object. Just give it 4 or 5 taps with your open hand on the area between the shoulders. The procedure can be repeated if it does not work on the first attempt.

save your dog from suffocation
Photo by Anna Dudkova on Unsplash

Heilmich’s maneuver

In case the above procedures do not produce the desired result, the Heimlich maneuver can be attempted to save your dog from suffocation. This is a rescue system to be used with the utmost care. The ideal is to be able to count on the help of another person. The steps to follow are as follows:

  1. Hug the dog around the waist, with the head facing down. Try to hold it firmly but without compressing the body excessively.
  2. The other person will take care to firmly hold the fur around the animal’s neck. This will help keep the dog still and avoid sudden jolts.
  3. The position of the hands: the left closed into a fist and the right that grabs the wrist, closing the grip in a circular way.
  4. Place your hands just below the chest area, where the bones end and the soft part begins.
  5. Perform a compression on the abdomen, making 3 to 5 consecutive pushes in an upward direction. Do not be violent: there is a risk of causing fractures to the vertebrae.
  6. The operation must be repeated several times, making small pauses between one series and another, until the animal has expelled everything that prevents it from breathing.

In order to perform this maneuver correctly, you will need to be able to dose force . If too weak, Heilmich’s maneuver will have no effect. If you overdo it with violence, you can injure the animal. Be especially careful with puppies or small dogs.

Whatever your case, after carrying out the emergency procedure, you will need to get your dog to the vet quickly. It will be he who will be able to control the situation and evaluate any collateral damage, both due to the consequences of suffocation and those, unexpected, due to the rescue maneuvers.