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How To Perform Mouth-to-Mouth On Your Pet

Catherine Forman

If your dog or cat goes into respiratory arrest, quick action could save his life. An animal that does not get any oxygen in his system for even a few minutes can suffer permanent brain damage.


Artificial respiration for pets is in many ways similar to artificial respiration for humans. Keep this in mind: Check, Call, Care.

  • Check: Check your pet for major injuries, and to make sure they have stopped breathing! Do not give artificial respiration if your pet is breathing. However, if his gums are blue, this shows a lack of oxygen and you should begin mouth-to-mouth immediately.

  • Call: Call your vet to tell them what happened and that you are on your way in.

  • Care: Care for your pet.

Before you begin giving breaths to your pet, make sure the airway is clear. Open your pet's mouth and look for a foreign object that may be causing them to suffocate. If you can see the object, you can try to remove it with your fingers or a pair of tongs or tweezers. If you can't see the object, you can try the Heimlich maneuver. Once the airway is open, you can begin artificial respiration.


  1. Lay your pet on his side and straighten his neck to align the throat and lungs. You can cradle a small pet on your lap if this is more comfortable.
  2. Close your pet's mouth with one or both hands to seal it.
  3. Put your mouth completely over your pet's nose and blow in two quick breaths. Watch to see if his lungs expand, air will go directly into the lungs if the mouth is sealed correctly.
  4. Blow just hard enough to move his sides. Smaller dogs and cats will need more gentle breaths than large dogs!
  5. Give a breath, then remove your mouth and let the air escape naturally from the lungs.
  6. You can give up to twenty breaths per minute until the pet begins breathing on his own or until you reach the vet's office.

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May 16, 20090 found this helpful

Great tip for all pet owners! Thank you! Grandma Jan & Kato the Wonder Dog

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

April 21, 20120 found this helpful

I have actually had to do this on my Chihuahua, Chester, who has an enlarged heart. Saved his life (and mine!).

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

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