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  • Identify the problem
  • Is your pet breathing, can you detect a heartbeat?
  • Do you know the cause? is it drowning, electrocution or for some other obvious reason?
  • Don't panic

Check to find out if the dog is breathing

  • Tilt the head back slightly to make sure the airway is open
  • Look, listen and feel for signs of circulation or signs of breathing
  • Look for chest rise and fall, place a hand on the stomach and chest to feel for movement
  • Check for 10 seconds - count out load
  • If you detect breathing get them to the vet as soon as possible monitoring their breathing at all times

If there are no signs of breathing, you will need to begin CPR, at this level in most cases the reason a dog has stopped breathing is due to a respiratory problem.

  • Take the tongue and pull it to one side and close the mouth, for cats consider using a gauze pad or clothing to help to grip the tongue
  • This pulls the tongue from the back of the mouth to keep the airway open
  • Seal your mouth over the pet's nose and breath gently for up to a second, stop and watch the chest rise and fall, then repeat giving 5 breaths in total
  • If your pet starts breathing, moves or makes a sound stop immediately
  • If there is still no sign of breathing, check for a pulse
  • Place your fingers inside the back leg over the femoral artery, check for 10 seconds
  • If no pulse is detected, you will need to start compressions
  • Lay dogs on their right hand side as compressions are more effective
  • Place your hand in the centre of the chest as demonstrated
  • For large dogs you can use two hands, place one hand on top of the other and grip your fingers together
  • Provide 30 compressions followed by two breaths and repeat
  • If there are signs of breathing stop and transport to a vet while monitoring carefully

If there are still no signs of life after 10 minutes of  performing CPR you need to consider stopping, after 20 minutes stopping is recommended as it is unlikely that resuscitation is possible after that length of time. Remember that the chance of successful resuscitation depends on many factors, including the age of the pet and what happened to cause the pet to stop breathing.