All dog owners should know…

The other day Bear choked on a piece of meat, I found him only a minute or two later, unconscious, unbreathing.  Fortunately I managed to remove the piece of meat, and get him breathing again.

I wished I had read something about first aid for dogs, as I was missing some basic ideas on how to proceed.  The only dog related health check I knew was pressing the gum, and colour should return in 2 seconds, indicating healthy heart/oxygen supply.

Despite having done human first aid training, I was at a loss as to the best way to go about it for a dog, and no idea how to even tell if he had a pulse, let alone mouth to nose, or CPR. I would have felt more confident had I known the information linked below, and had I not fortunately met with success, I would have been able to persist for longer with proper method assured it was the correct thing to do.

Choking is apparently the most likely emergency requiring resuscitation, Therefore I urge any dog owner to read the following;

When I found Bear, his jaw was still partly clenched but relaxed as I opened it, reached in and on second attempt found the piece of meat back of the throat behind the tongue. (I later figured it was probably hooked on a rear tooth)  His tongue and gums were already blue but they were far worse a minute later.

I improvised a breath into his nose while sealing the mouth, that went in, inverted him and squeezed his chest (part idea to expel his lungs/part Heimlich). I tried pumping his front legs (probably useless), another breath met some resistance, and I pressed his chest/lungs against the ground with my forearms.   His eyes started moving and shallow breaths, before a deeper one. Colour returned to his gums and tongue (purple/blue is not nice to see), and ten minutes later he stood up, and obviously felt well enough to take revenge on the offending piece of meat, swallowing it in 3 seconds.

I walked him to his couch, wrapped him in a blanket and sat under it with him for an hour.  He had normal alertness, but may have been slightly cold.  Considering shock, (which more applied to me at that point) I reasoned quiet, warm and calm was the best thing to do.  Another ten minutes and his gums were definitely normal, although I huddled with him for another hour and he seemed 100% normal. I checked he was covered with blanket the rest of the night, and the next day he was his normal cheeky self, none the worse for his near miss.