What are the chances?

We had finished our dinner and were getting ready to go out when the dog walked into the room, retching. I wondered to myself why he always has to do his puking on my bedroom floor but I was relieved that at least this time I wouldn’t discover the sick with my barefoot in the night.

You might wonder why I didn’t immediately herd him onto an alternative surface or possibly run for an old towel. The reason is that before either of those plans could be set in motion we realized that this was not your typical vomiting episode.
“Is he choking?” The Mr asked.
“I don’t know,” I said “What do we do if he is? Google ‘Heimlich for dogs?”
We stood there staring for a beat or two wondering if we were about to witness the suffocation of our family pet when my CPR training came to mind. I’ve been told time and again that the training would be useful in life.

The day finally came.

So, I thought, what is the first thing to do when you can’t communicate with the distressed party because they are either, passed out, an infant, or in this case, a dog? The answer is (say it with me) “Look listen and feel for breathing,” Should I try to lie him on his back and hang my head over his face while watching for the rise and fall of his tiny chest? No, that couldn’t be a good idea. I figured I was already looking and listening and could neither see nor hear anything to confirm or deny that that he was breathing, so I stuck my hand in front of his face to feel for airflow. To my relief, it was there and after a few more seconds of struggle the dog began to recover himself.
I’ve just now googled Heimlich for dogs. I found, not only an article but an instructional video as well. Sadly, it looks like I’m going to have to add the word “small” to my search and keep looking as no mention was made of modifying for a dog whose ribcage is smaller than a human fist. I know how to modify people Heimlich for babies, but again, lying the dog on his back seems like a really bad idea. Maybe administer the thrust with a single thumb? Odds are, I’ll never have need to know.

4 Responses to What are the chances?

  1. I had to give my aunt's Yorkie a version of the Heimlich when the little pig swallowed her teeny tiny dog treat and it got stuck crossways in her throat. I just picked her up, back to me and gently pushed on her stomach as close to the edge of her ribcage and I could get. Then had to massage her throat to help get it out finally. The key with that move is to get the air in the stomach or lungs to force the object out of the throat. Squeezing those little dogs works pretty good for that. Good luck and hopefully you never need to worry about that again.

  2. It could be a collapsed trachea or I can't remember the name of the the other thing. My maltese gets it frequently it will sound like she is choking or having difficulty breathing (It is a maltese, yorkie small dog thing) Any way one is really serious and the other apparently not. (I don't know what the difference is. Any way when my doggie does it we sometimes have to gently massage her throat or blow at her face and nose from a distance (don't know that I could ever bring myself to give a doggie mouth to nose…ewwww.) Any way give it a try if there is a next time. Glad he is all good and no doggie CPR was required.


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