Performing CPR and artificial respiration on a K9 dog

This article outlines how to identify whether a dog needs CPR and how to perform this procedure. CPR and artificial respiration should never be done on a healthy dog! CPR is a physically intense procedure that can cause injury to a dog including broken ribs, collapsed lung and stress leading to death if not successfully treated by a veterinarian.

A dog’s heart is located on the left side of the chest. To find the heart, lay the dog on the right side and bend the front left leg so the elbow touches the chest. The point on the chest where the elbow touches is the location of the heart.

Before Starting, Evaluate the Dog’s Condition


  • Feel for air movement from the dogs nose.
  • Watch for chest movement.
  • Check airways for blockage.
  • Pull the tongue forward as far as possible and remove any objects or liquids in the throat or mouth.


  • The femoral artery is located on the inner thigh. Use fingers to press down gently and feel for a pulse.
  • The metacarpal pad is on the front paw. Use fingers to press down gently and feel for a pulse.

If a dog has a pulse, but is not breathing, perform artificial respiration (step#6, #7) not CPR!

CPR procedure

1) On a sturdy flat surface lay the dog on its right side. 
2) Place the palm of one hand on the dog's ribcage over the heart. 
Note - CPR on barrel-chested dogs maybe perform with the dog on its back. 
3) Push down on the chest, compressing approx 25% of the body height. 
Note - the compression rate should be 100 to 120 per minute. 
4) Every 15 compressions, approx 10 seconds, do step#6, #7
5) Repeat step#3 and #4 until the dog is responsive or 20 minutes has passed.
Note - seek medical attention at once.

Artificial Respiration

6) Hold the month completely shut and breath into the nose watching the chest expand. 
7) Allow air to escape from the nose.

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