Anyone who has been to a CPR class is familiar with the basics of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. First you’ll check to be sure the patient has a clear airway, then check to see if the patient is breathing, check whether the patient has a heartbeat and, if the patient awakens during the process, be careful that you don’t get bitten by the patient.
The American Red Cross has been instructing people in CPR for pets for quite some time now and has classes that include all manner of first aid, including mouth-to-snout resuscitation. You read that correctly; mouth-to-snout.
The procedure is similar to traditional mouth-to-mouth resuscitation between humans, the chief difference being that the person performing the procedure will close the dog’s mouth and instead provide breaths into the dog’s nose. The process sounds humorous in theory, but it works and knowing how to perform mouth-to-snout resuscitation on your pet could literally save its life.
According to a March 2002 story from The Scoop, a website that reports on dogs in the news (you know the theory – “DOG BITES MAN” is not news while “MAN BITES DOG” is), a dog in Walla Walla, Washington that was accidentally choked nearly to death was saved by a quick-acting Good Samaritan who was trained in mouth-to-snout.
After being revived, the dog was treated at the Walla Walla Associated Veterinary Clinic and released.
In addition to the mouth-to-snout procedure, dogs can have chest compressions performed in an emergency where the heart stops. Learning and knowing these techniques can save the life of a dog in distress and let him live to chase rabbits or play fetch another day.
The concept of pet CPR is gaining much notoriety and is starting to be taught by organizations all over the country that formerly provided traditional CPR training and certification. If you’re interested in taking these classes yourself, contact your local Red Cross. The life you save may be your dog’s.