Save a Pet’s Life, or a Person’s, and Learn CPR

My morning walks sometimes take a weird turn.

I was wandering around town following the dog.  It was about 2 hours before dawn, normal for us.

I was decidedly allowing my dog, Rack the McNab Superdog (TM) to lead.   We hit the south end of town and were in a parking lot near the park there.  He just veered off to the right to head into the neighborhood there and slowed down wagging his tail.

There I saw, approaching us, my neighbor, Juan.  We greeted as normal, which is to say he was excitedly starting to tell me a story.

“I just about lost my dog!  He was laying there dying!”

Yes, that’s a bit dramatic for just before 6AM.  It turns out his dog had either swallowed something or really had just decided to cross that damn Rainbow Bridge on his own.

What he told me was that he picked up “Bear” and performed the Heimlich on the dog followed by chest compressions.

“That is just what my first aid training would have told me to do with a person, I’m glad you saved him!”

Long story short… Bear is alive because someone knew just what to do.

That happened with my nephew, Jon, when he was around 4 years old.  I was at their house.  He ate “something” and it got caught in his windpipe.  Of course being a kid, he ran out of the room and upstairs.  I came calling after him.  He was getting wobbly and blue in the face.

I ordered him (yes, ordered.  That command presence can be very useful!)  to turn around.  He fell against me.  I put my fist into a ball and applied pressure just under the rib cage.

Well, with a gush of air and a splat, the offending piece of food ended up stuck on my Mom’s grey wall paper on top of the stairs at her house in Cherry Hill.

My nephew is still alive to this day.

You can do this to yourself.  I did.

Watermelon with seeds are wonderful.  Without seeds they taste like a basketball.  Trust me, I’m from New Jersey.  I bit off more than I could chew and it got stuck in my windpipe.

Relax, don’t panic, relax your abdomen, and push sharply on your abdomen.

The fruit popped out of my windpipe immediately.

Whenever possible, I always have maintained my Red Cross First Aid training.  If you get a chance to take it, don’t blow it off, you may be that guardian angel that someone or someone’s pet needs to survive.

Oh and skip the rawhide “treats”.  That stuff is evil and stuffed with questionable chemicals.

It is leather after all.  Would you like to chew on a handbag?  A shoe?

When your dog goes to swallow the “treat”, it may form a plug in their throat or windpipe and if you aren’t watching, you’ll be left in tears as your trusted friend makes that trip across the Rainbow Bridge.

If you do know CPR and the Heimlich maneuver, the actions are similar on a dog or a cat to what you’d do to a person.

Choking, see if you can clear the windpipe or the throat of any obstructions, and if not, apply pressure to the abdomen.  There’s a one page PDF here from the SPCA explaining exactly how.

As far as CPR is concerned the instructions are to place your hands on the ribcage and do chest compressions at the rate of 20 per minute, or the speed of “Staying Alive” then two rescue breaths into their nose.  A Better explanation can be found here on the Red Cross.

They all recommend after an issue like this to get your pet to a vet for an exam since they can’t talk.

My nephew Jon didn’t need a vet.  Nor a doctor.

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