How to Save a Choking Dog
Dogs love to explore their environment with their mouths and this can sometimes get them into trouble. Due to their innate curiosity and indiscriminate eating habits, dogs can get things stuck in their mouths and throats. When a foreign object becomes lodged in a dog’s airway, this becomes an emergency situation that must be dealt with immediately if the dog is to survive.
Severe allergic reactions can also cause throat swelling that may obstruct a dog’s air passage. Dogs can also strangle themselves when their collars become snagged on something or when they jump a fence while tied to a leash (this is why you should never leave a dog unattended while attached to a leash). Choke chains can also result in strangulation and choking.
Signs that a dog may be choking include gagging, drooling, difficulty breathing and swallowing, anxiety, restlessness and pawing at the face. If you suspect your dog is choking you should take him to the vet immediately for emergency care.
There are some things you can do at home if your dog seems to be choking from a foreign object lodged in the throat. Gently open the dog’s mouth and try to look inside to see if you can find anything that shouldn’t be there. Feel around with your fingers to see if you can feel anything lodged in the mouth or throat. Dog’s throats contain small bones that hold the base of the tongue which could be mistaken for a foreign object so be very careful not to try to remove something unless you can see it clearly.
If you’re unable to find or remove the offending object you can help dislodge it by holding a small dog suspended with his head pointed downwards. For larger dogs lift the hind legs until the head is tilted downwards. Delivering a sharp tap with the flat of your hand between the dog’s shoulder blades may succeed in dislodging the object.
A dog version of the Heimlich maneuver can also be attempted. Hold the dog by the waist with his rear end towards you and place a fist right behind the ribcage. Perform fast compresses on the abdomen 3 to 5 times and check to see if the foreign object has become dislodged.
Even if you succeed in removing any object that has become lodged in your dog’s throat you should make a visit to the vet, there could be an internal injury that needs to be addressed.
Jeff likes to write on diverse subjects and has been doing so for several years. His most recent web page is http://kitchenaidblenderparts.org which provides people with information on buying a KitchenAid bowl.
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