google-site-verification=J2vtUf7WdFUzsimmpTfq9wVefvCknF92Erqy8rM8p5U How to Safely Perform CPR on Your Dog

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How to Safely Perform CPR on Your Dog

Updated: Feb 17


No one likes to expect the unexpected. 



But when you’re faced with a life-threatening emergency requiring K9 CPR, proper preparation may be all that stands between life and death for that dog. 


When a dog stops breathing, immediately knowing what to do and how to do it properly can save that dog’s life. Never wait until your dog stops breathing to learn or attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR.


Courses for Dog & Cat CPR are available online through the Red Cross and the Pet Safety Crusader and also at local animal hospitals, shelters or veterinarians. 

By taking advantage of these CPR training options, you will be better prepared to save your dog while you get them to your veterinarian for further medical treatment. 


Dog CPR: The Basics

CPR should only be used on your canine when:

Breathing has stopped. 

There is a loss of consciousness. 

Gums and lips are gray in color.

Pupils are dilated and non-responsive to light.

The heartbeat (pulse) cannot be felt or heard (indicating cardiac arrest). 

Do NOT perform CPR on a conscious, breathing dog with a pulse to avoid injury.


Hands-on training gives your dog the best chance for survival.

The steps below should only be used as a quick reminder; they are

not a substitute for actual CPR training.


Dog CPR: The Steps 



Choose Your Dog’s Current Weight and Follow the Instructions

Less than 30 pounds (Small)



Call your vet or emergency animal hospital for support during CPR. 

Lay your dog on their right side on a flat surface. 

Hold the dog with cupped palms on either side above the heart region.

Compress the chest:

1/3 - ½ the width of the dog’s chest; approximately ½ - 1”.


Compress for a count of one and let go for a count of one (for ~100 compressions per minute). Make sure the chest has fully decompressed each time.

If performing CPR alone, deliver 5 compressions before switching to artificial respiration. 

Close the muzzle with your hand to begin artificial respiration.

Give 1 breath into the nose for every 5 chest compressions (30 breaths/minute). Watch for the chest to rise.

Check the pulse after 1 minute and then again, every two minutes.

Continue chest compressions and artificial respiration until the dog begins to breathe on its own again and their pulse becomes steady.


30 to 90 pounds (Medium to Large)


Call your vet or emergency animal hospital for support during CPR. 

Lay your dog on their right side on a flat surface.

Stand towards the dog’s back.

Place one palm on the dog’s rib cage – near the heart region – and place your other palm on top. 

Press the rib cage in a downward motion (do not bend your elbows).

Compress the chest:

1/3 - ½ the width of the dog’s chest; approximately 1-3”.


Compress for a count of one and let go for a count of one (for ~100 compressions per minute). Make sure the chest has fully decompressed each time.

If performing CPR alone, deliver 5 compressions before switching to artificial respiration. 

Close the muzzle with your hand to begin artificial respiration.

Give 1 breath into the nose for every 5 chest compressions (30 breaths/minute). Watch for the chest to rise.

Check the pulse after 1 minute and then again, every two minutes.

Continue chest compressions and artificial respiration until the dog begins to breathe on its own again and their pulse becomes steady.

90+ pounds (Giant)


Call your vet or emergency animal hospital for support during CPR.

Lay your dog on their right side on a flat surface.

Stand towards the dog’s back.

Place one palm on the dog’s rib cage – near the heart region – and place your other palm on top. 

Press the rib cage in a downward motion (do not bend your elbows).

Compress the chest:

1/3” - ½ the width of the dog’s chest; approximately 1-3”.


Compress for a count of one and let go for a count of one (for ~100 compressions per minute). Make sure the chest has fully decompressed each time.

If performing CPR alone, deliver 10 compressions before switching to artificial respiration. 

Close the muzzle with your hand to begin artificial respiration.

Give 1 breath into the nose for every 10 chest compressions (20 breaths/minute). Watch for the chest to rise.

Check the pulse after 1 minute and then again, every two minutes.

Continue chest compressions and artificial respiration until the dog begins to breathe on its own again and their pulse becomes steady.



Time is of the essence when it comes to administering life-saving CPR.

Get trained before

it’s too late.




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Additional Reading:

PetMD: CPR for Dogs

Healthy Pets: The ABC’s of Pet CPR

CPR Near Me: How to Give Your Dog CPR

Video: New CPR Guidelines for Dogs

Pet Safety Crusader

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