Hopefully you will never have to face this situation, but what do you do if you find Ryan unconscious and not breathing? Ryan is your buddy and best friend and as scary as the scenario seems, it could happen and you should be prepared to deal with it. For various reasons, Ryan may stop breathing and his heart may stop beating. This could result from drowning, electrocution, poison, or other reasons. The best way to help him is to be prepared. The best way to be prepared is to have taken a full course in pet first aid. In a pinch, however, here are the basics of giving Ryan CPR.
The ABCs of CPR
CPR is based on three principles, abbreviated ABC. A stands for airway. The first thing you must do to Ryan is clear out anything that is stuck in his airway, preventing him from breathing. B stands for breathing. If Ryan is not breathing, you will give him air. C stands for circulation. If his heart is not beating, chest compressions may start it up again.
A for Airway
When you find Ryan in trouble, the first thing to do is check his airway. Open his mouth and see if you can find anything in there. If not, continue on to the breathing step. If there is something lodged in his throat, lay him down on his side. Tilt his head up, open his mouth, and pull his tongue forward. With your finger, sweep the back of his throat to remove any objects or even vomit that may be stuck in there. If Ryan is conscious, be careful about sticking your hand in his mouth. If he is frightened and in pain, he may bite.
B for Breathing
If Ryan is breathing after the first step, move on to circulation. If he is still not breathing, you will need to give him air. If he is a medium to large sized dog, seal his mouth shut by putting your hands around his muzzle. Gently hold his lips and mouth closed. If Ryan is a small dog, you shouldn?t need to hold his muzzle, as your moth will make the seal.
Place your mouth over Ryan?s nose and breathe forcefully into it. Give him four to five breaths in rapid succession and then stop. Remove your mouth and determine if he is breathing. If he is still not breathing or is doing so only shallowly, repeat another series of breaths. Keep trying for up to twenty minutes while you get him to a vet. Give breaths at a rate of 20 per minute if Ryan is medium to large and 20 to 30 if he is small.
C for Circulation
If Ryan does not have a pulse, you can begin compressions. To check for a pulse, feel the inside of his thigh with your forefinger and middle finger. Lay Ryan down on his right side. If he is small, kneel with his chest facing you. Put the palm of your hand over his ribs where his elbow and chest touch. Put your other hand under his right side. With your elbows softly locked, compress his chest by one half, to one inch. Do five compressions and then give him a breath and check his pulse.
If Ryan is over 30 pounds, kneel behind him while he is on his right side. Cup your hands together and give him compressions on his chest where his left elbow lies. Compress one to three inches and repeat five times before giving a breath and checking for his pulse. Continue your efforts for up to twenty minutes and make every attempt to get Ryan to a vet to give him the best chance of survival and recovery.