Choking is a scary thing. I know as a human, and have choked on a piece of meat, or when swallowing a pill, I was really scared and worried. Luckily I was able to cough it up, but what if our pet is choking? What should we do?
If your dog’s breathing stops, you need to do the animal version of the Heimlich maneuver.
What is that? The modified Heimlich for dogs consists of this, if your dog is standing, wrap your arms around his abdomen under his/her rib cage and place one hand over your fist. Give two to five quick squeezes and if the object does not pop out use a little more force and try again,
If your dog is lying down turn him/her over on its side (for a dog under 40 pounds) put one hand on its back and position your other hand behind the lowest rib and push with a quick pressure up into the abdomen. It may be necessary to repeat several times.
For a larger dog, lie behind it and wrap your arms around the abdomen, cup your fist and press quickly about 5 times.
If your dog has stopped breathing it will be necessary to do CPR. The Red Cross does hold classes on pet CPR, and I advise you to take a class, as you never know when it might become necessary.
In the meantime while you are doing all this, have someone call your vet for more instructions, and to alert him/her about the emergency.
Why do I find this necessary to even talk about? Well, dogs are noted for putting just about everything into their mouths. Puppies are especially eager to put things into their mouths, and since this is the time of year that many people get a new puppy, I think the subject is worth talking about.
There are many things that can cause a dog to choke, any small object lying on the floor, small toys, racquet balls and believe it or not, sponge balls are rather dangerous, as they can get caught in the back of the throat, when your dog is playing fetch.
If your dog starts to choke it will generally cough, choke or paw at its throat or face! Should you see your dog doing this you have time to try and remove the object.
If you have a small dog you can hold him/her upside down and gently shake him/her. For a larger dog, lift its hind legs so that his/her head is pointing down and if necessary thump the dog between the shoulder blades with the palm of your hand.
There are times when you can get your hand inside your dog’s mouth and gently pull out what is choking it. However, that is not an easy thing to do as your dog may fight you. String is especially dangerous if it has a needle or some type of a hook on it, if it comes out easily without you using force fine, but if you are not certain what is on the other end, do not force the string out. Immediately take the dog to your vet.
We had a serious problem with one of our dogs when we lived in the country and as a result lost our dog. She caught a rabbit and proceeded to eat part of it and unknown to us a bone splintered and ruptured her intestinal tract and she died.
Many items a dog ingests will pass through the gastrointestinal tract without any problems, but many like our Zoosh’s bone can cause serious problems.
If your dog starts vomiting for any unknown reason or after you are aware that it has swallowed some foreign object, call or take the dog to your vet or emergency clinic at once.
It is possible that your dog may pass out from the lack of oxygen and this will give you a chance to try and remove the object from its mouth. If the dog is alert be very careful and do not put your fingers down its throat as you may cause more harm than good. My best suggestion is make a quick trip to the vet or emergency clinic as fast as possible,
What is the best prevention? Keep small objects off the floor, supervise play with toys, use good judgement when buying a toy for your dog, (the same judgement you would use when buying a toy for a child) and most of all do not leave small toys around when you are not home.
My best suggestion is do not tie your dog up outside, if you are not there to watch and supervise. It is so easy for a dog to choke itself by winding the rope or chain around its neck and it is also possible for a dog to hang itself if left in an area where is can climb while tied,
Pets are not disposable commodities, they are alive, breathing beings and it is our duty as a pet owner to provide a safe environment for our dogs. Considering the love and loyalty they give us, it is our job, when we bring a pet into our home, to consider it a member of our family and treat it as such.