What to do if your pet is choking

You don’t ever want to think about your pet choking, but knowing what to do beforehand can save your pet’s life.

If your pet is choking, you will see him pawing at his mouth, coughing, excessive drooling, wrenching or frantic behavior. The first thing you want to do is remove any collars or anything that is around his neck.

Next, look inside your pet’s mouth. If you see the object, gently try to remove it. DO NOT just stick your fingers in there and pull on something you can’t see. Dogs & cats have small bones in the back of their throats that support their tongues and they can easily be mistaken for chicken bones. Only remove what you can see.

If you can’t remove the object, don’t force it. If you have a small dog or cat, pick him up with his head facing down. For a larger dog, lift his rear legs up until his head facing down. This often removes any lodged object.

If that doesn’t work, give your pet a sharp hit with the palm of your hand between the shoulder blades. If the object doesn’t dislodge after a couple of tries, you can try a modified Heimlich maneuver. This is done in the same way that you would do for a human. It is very important that you are absolutely sure that your pet is choking before you do this because if he isn’t it can cause serious damage.

Grasp your dog or cat around the waist so that the rear is nearest to you, similar to a bear hug. Place a fist just behind the ribs. Compress the abdomen several times (usually 3 to 5 times) with quick pushes. Check the mouth to see if the foreign object has been removed.

Even if the object has been removed, you need to take your pet to the vet for a check up. A foreign object can very easily cause internal damage.

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