With approval and co-authored by our PDRE LLC affiliates – Veterinary Medical Director of VCA Lakeside Animal Hospital in the city of Big Bear, California, Dr. John Delandsheer, DVM; Dr. Harmandeep Sanghera, DVM and Veterinary Medical Director at California Veterinary Hospital in Gardena, California; and Dr. Eileen Roberts, DVM and Veterinary Medical Director of Country Club Animal Clinic in Rancho Mirage, California – cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation (CPCR) or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during a cardiac arrest emergency for your treasured and precious canine companions requires performing a combination of psychomotor skills: chest compressions and artificial respiration.


When your valued dog still has a pulse whether it is a rapid or a weak one, veterinary healthcare providers can apply their initial impressions and primary assessments to evaluate, identify, and intervene in regards to the respiratory issue at hand. The signs and symptoms of your dog’s airway and breathing difficulty may include but not limited to just light, uneven respirations with or without panting that may be tied to some form of mild to moderate to severe dehydration that can lead to hypovolemic shock, a veterinary medical emergency. Furthermore, your dog may grossly display decreased and/or changes in their daily activities that differs from their baseline habits and behaviors with or without amplified exercise intolerance; and some neurological manifestations of lethargy such as drowsiness, listlessness, and weakness may be exhibited as elusive symptoms; and maybe a just a subtle difference in the gait of your dog such as a stance while standing with elbows pointing outwards could a sign to take your dog to the nearest veterinary healthcare provider. In any case, these scary medical and clinical emergency occasions are all signs and symptoms that your valued dog may require more extensive medical and clinical evaluation by your local authorized Veterinarian.

Merck Veterinary Manual – Introduction to Lung and Airway Disorders

Whether your dog is having an upper airway obstruction (i.e., congenital anatomical upper airway abnormalities at birth causing respiratory dysfunction, foreign body airway obstruction also known as chocking that requires performing the Heimlich Maneuver on your dog or anaphylactic shock causing inspiratory stridor due to the inflammatory and vasodilatory effects of a severe allergic immune response to a foreign antigen), lower airway obstruction (i.e., reactive airway disease such as asthma and bronchiolitis causing signs of illness in wheezing and difficulty breathing), interstitial lung tissue disease (i.e., lung and airway disorders by direct infection with viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, or immune-mediated  that may cause pneumonia and pleural effusion or fluid in the lungs), and disordered control of breathing (i.e., grand mal tonic clonic seizures, traumatic brain injuries, and medication adverse reactions or toxicities) or shock cases causing decreased cardiac output (hypovolemic shock from moderate to severe vomiting, diarrhea, or trauma; septic shock from an uncontrolled systemic infection in the bloodstream stemming from a local contamination; cardiogenic shock from ineffective pumping and failure of the heart due to cardiomyopathy or infarction; obstructive shock due to a clot in the lungs, popped lung or pneumothorax, and pericardial tamponade due to trauma, procedures, cancer, or viral infections; and neurogenic shock from medication overdose or traumatic brain injuries), Palm Desert Resuscitation Education LLC (PDRE)’s Dog Lovers First Aid and CPR/CPCR Course is there to provide you with comforting knowledge and vital psychomotor skills to recognize immediately primary and secondary causes of medical emergencies and some first aid measures before immediate care is advised, such going to a licensed Doctor of Veterinary Medicine for specific expert consultation/referral to identify the underlying cause of your beloved dog’s medical and clinical condition, proper diagnosis with diagnostic testing and blood work, and precise and individualized treatment to cure the principal ailment(s) and illness(es).

Merck Veterinary Manual – Introduction to Lung and Airway Disorders

One of the Vet Approved life saving measures and psychomotor skills that you will learn as a Pet Loving Parent and/or Good Samaritan Dog Lover in PDRE’s Dog Lovers First Aid and CPR/CPCR Course is artificial respiration because, we all hope, that you do not need to perform CPR on your dog but just give them rescue breathing until you can get them to a proper and prompt Veterinary care.


Almost similar to the American Heart Association (AHA) airway management and rescue breathing in adult and pediatric patient populations, artificial respirations in your beloved dog maybe a lifesaving technique that can be performed when a dog is apneic either in respiratory arrest or failure (meaning, your dog may have slow, shallow breathing or even stopped breathing completely) but there is, meanwhile, a heart rate or pulse felt in your dog albeit possible inefficient and compromised cardiac functions. In addition, the latter may also indicate respiratory difficulties due to a secondary indicator of other, minor or even graver underlying acute or chronic medical and clinical condition(s) in your dog.

Two methods for artificial respiration in PDRE’s Dog Lovers First Aid and CPR/CPCR Course are the Compression Method and Mouth-To-Nose Resuscitation.

  • Compression Method
    • You will learn how to apply artificial respiration through the compression method by applying force to the chest walls, thereby moving the air out.
      • Where do you check for a heartbeat or pulse for your dog?
      • Which side do you lay your dog?
      • How do you clear the airway? How do perform the Heimlich Maneuver?
      • How do place your hands on the your dog’s chest to move air in and out of the lungs?
      • How long do you repeat the compression method?
    • Mouth-to-Nose Resuscitation
      • You will learn how to apply artificial respiration through the mouth-to-nose resuscitation method if applying the compression method does not work or force the chest walls to move air in and out.
        • How do you perform artificial respiration for puppies or small dogs (less than 14 kg or 30.86 lbs) or for medium and large dogs (more than 14 kg or 30.86 lbs)?
        • Which side do you lay your dog?
        • How far do you pull your dog’s tongue out in front of the mouth to clear the airway? How do you take out foreign particles in the mouth and/or throat?
        • Where do you put your mouth to slowly blow air into your dog to see the chest expand? Where does excess air come out of the dog? How do you blow more force if the dog’s chest does not expand?
        • How do you check for the deflation of the lungs?
        • What’s the “rescue breathing” rate or artificial respiration through the mouth-to-nose resuscitation?

In both the compression method and mouth-to-nose resuscitation, please seek for help from your local emergency veterinary hospital as soon as possible to obtain expert consultation and/or treatment for your precious canine urgent medical and clinical condition, especially if your dog’s heart stops when you must perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)/cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation.


Sadly, as a loving Pet Parent or Good Samaritan Dog Lover, there may be ill-fated occurrences when cardiac compromise materializes when your dog may not only stop breathing but also becomes pulses and the heart completely stops.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation (CPCR) is a mixture of two important psychomotor skills used when the heart entirely stops beating that leads to cardiac arrest and death: chest compression and artificial respiration (which we have already briefly described to perform when there is a pulse but the dog may not be breathing efficiently or at all).

PDRE always advices safety precautions and provides disclaimers to please be mindful that preforming CPR or CPCR in your precious dog who is perfectly healthy and does not need cardiac resuscitation may be hazardous and dangerous to the physical health of your canine that may lead to damaging and debilitating sequelae. This is the chief reasons why taking PDRE’s Dog Lovers First Aid and CPR/CPCR Course may prevent such inexperience and negligence so as to understand correctly through evidenced-based veterinary medicine how to perform properly and appropriate CPR or CPCR in a dog without a pulse, whether it is witnessed or unwitnessed cardiac arrest.

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)/Cardiopulmonary Cerebral Resuscitation (CPCR) for puppies or small dogs (less than 14 kg or 30.86 lbs)
    • Where do you check for a heartbeat or pulse for your dog?
    • Which side do you lay your dog? Why is it important to lay your dog on a flat surface?
    • How do you cup your palms and hold your dog while doing CPR?
    • How far or deep do you compress the chest of your puppies or small dog while doing CPR?
    • What is the rate per minute of CPR for puppies or small dogs?
    • What is the compression to artificial respiration (ventilation) ratio for a one rescuer CPR for puppies or small dogs?
    • What is the compression to artificial respiration (ventilation) ratio for a two or more rescuer CPR for puppies or small dogs?
    • What physical signs of your dog and assessment do you use to determine when to continue or stop CPR and artificial respiration (ventilation)?
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)/Cardiopulmonary Cerebral Resuscitation (CPCR) for medium or large dogs (more than 14 kg or 30.86 lbs)
    • What are the main differences between doing CPR and artificial respiration (ventilation) between puppies/small dogs and medium/large dogs?
    • Is there a different psychomotor skill and technique when performing CPR and artificial respiration (ventilation) between puppies/small dogs and medium/large dogs?
    • Why is the rate per minute of CPR for medium or large dogs slower than that for puppies or small dogs?

 In general, CPR for your dog is a very traumatic and painful event for anyone to experience that may require more urgent and immediate evaluation and clinical management by a veterinary healthcare professional(s). Sadly, there are times when you and/or the veterinary healthcare providers may have to stop CPR if there are no signs of clinical improvement in your dog because the longer there is no cardiac perfusion flowing through in the brain tissues and other vital organs, the more likely and unfortunately your dog will not only endure neurological deficit manifestations and other physical debilitation and disability but also may not make it in the process even after doing high-quality CPR and other appropriate medical interventions, especially when more than 10 minutes of CPR is performed adequately. Some dog owners may turn to palliative care and comforting measures in order to say their goodbyes fittingly and cater to their needs of grieving, well-deserved remembrance and celebration of the happy moments their precious and dear dogs spent with them as treasured companions and family members while being fully active and participating in the dog owners’ daily activities and psychosocial lives.


PDRE’s Dog Lovers First Aid and CPR/CPCR Course will not only teach you lifesaving knowledge and psychomotor skills of artificial respiration (“rescue breathing” or ventilation) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)/cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation (CPCR) for your precious puppies, small, medium, and large-sized dog(s), you will also learn initial immediate recognition of not only cardiac arrest but also the most common medical emergencies for your canine and have the confidence to know what to do initially and when to call for help:

  • First Aid Basics for Dogs
    • Assessing the situation and making sure the scene is safe
    • Calling for help
    • Practicing universal precautions: putting on and taking off gloves, washing your hands, and using hand sanitizer; prevention of transmission of diseases and other germs
    • Assessing your dog
    • Best position for your dog
  • Medical Emergencies for Dogs
    • Breathing problems
      • Asthma and reactive airway diseases
      • Chocking and using the Heimlich Maneuver
      • Allergies and Anaphylactic Shock
    • Neurological Disorders
      • Fainting spells
      • Seizures
      • Hypoglycemia and sugar issues with Diabetes
    • Heart Attack and Stroke
  • First Aid for Dog Injuries
    • Bleeding
      • Stopping bleeding by applying pressure with gauze
      • Putting on a simple tourniquet
    • Nose bleeds
    • Tooth injuries
    • Eye injuries
    • Penetrating wounds and injuries
    • Amputation
    • Concussions
    • Head and neck injuries
    • Sprains, strains, and broken bones
    • Burns and electrical injuries
  • Environmental Emergencies for Dogs
    • Bites
    • Dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke
    • Hypothermia and frost bites
    • Poisons and toxins causing overdose
  • Following up for Veterinary Care!
    • When in doubt, always turn to your local licensed Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) to adequately identify the underlying cause(s) of your dog’s medical and clinical issues and difficulties.
    • Only veterinary healthcare providers can use a variety of clinical, diagnostic testing and procedures to accurately and precisely identify, diagnose, treat, and provide a prognosis for your dog’s current condition.
  • Prevention!
    • Exercise, a healthy diet, and good beneficial daily practices for your dear dogs are the best treatment for any medical and clinical emergencies that may be acute or chronic in nature.
    • You should always practice prevention also by using safety measures to prevent first aid emergencies and even cardiac arrest requiring CPR for your dog(s) – for instance, eliminating as much as you can small, interesting and fascinating objects lying around the home (or around yard) to avert accidental swallowing by although, cute and adorable, a constantly inquisitive and nosey pet.



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