4 Ways to Resurrect a Puppy

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4 Ways to Resurrect a Puppy
4 Ways to Resurrect a Puppy

Some puppies don't start breathing on their own at birth. There are also puppies with a little more life that stop breathing due to some illness or injury. In both situations, the quick response by the owner considerably increases the pet's chances of recovery. The processes of assessing whether a dog needs emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and caring for it after the procedure are the same in all situations, but the type of rescue varies with the animal's size and age. Keep reading for more information.


Method 1 of 4: Assessing the Situation and Asking for Help

Relive Puppy Step 1

Step 1. Look for signs that the animal is breathing

If the dog is not responding to external stimuli, watch his chest for movement and listen for his breathing (or move closer to feel the air coming out of his nostrils). If breathing is weak or irregular, consider it non-existent and follow the next steps.

  • If the puppy does not start crying immediately after birth, it is likely that he is not breathing.
  • Puppies that are born by the feet first - rather than the head, which is the most common - are more likely to suffer from shortness of breath after giving birth.
  • Still, puppies that are born normally may also not breathe right away. If the dog does not breathe on its own after a few seconds, give it a resuscitation.
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Step 2. Have someone else call a veterinarian

That way, you can immediately focus on CPR and the professional can guide you over the phone.

If alone, do emergency CPR for at least five minutes (or until your puppy responds to the procedure) before calling a veterinarian. When the puppy starts breathing, call the professional to find out how to proceed

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Step 3. Start with emergency breathing or chest compressions

In the case of a newborn puppy who is not breathing (whether pulsed or not), begin by clearing the airway through emergency breathing, and then move on to chest compressions if he does not have a pulse. In the case of a slightly older puppy, the first step will depend on the specific circumstances of the situation:

  • If he doesn't have a pulse, start with compressions.
  • If he has a pulse but is not breathing, start by clearing the airway and breathing heavily.

Method 2 of 4: Resuscitating a Newborn Puppy

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Step 1. Drain the dog's airway using gravity

In many cases, puppies are born and do not respond to external stimuli because of a blockage of fluid in the airway. First, use a washcloth to clean the outside of the dog's mouth and muzzle. Then hold his head down for five to ten seconds, letting gravity help drain the amniotic fluid and mucus from his mouth, throat, and lungs.

  • There is a maneuver that can be used to drain the puppy's lungs, but you must ask a veterinarian to personally demonstrate the process first, for safety's sake. The maneuver involves holding the dog's head and neck and gently rotating the dog's legs. As it is a risky process, professional monitoring is essential to ensure the animal's safety.
  • This should only be a last resort accompanied by a professional, as any mistake can cause brain damage to the puppy.
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Step 2. Remove remaining fluids with a bulb syringe

Keep the dog's head tilted down and use a syringe to suck any remaining liquid out of the dog's mouth.

  • Before inserting the syringe into his mouth, press the bulb to remove the air from it.
  • Insert the tip of the syringe into the dog's mouth, reaching to the bottom of the syringe. Don't force it down the throat, or you could hurt the animal.
  • Then gradually release the pressed bulb. Suction should drain fluids from the animal's mouth and throat.
  • Remove the syringe from the animal's mouth and press it again to release the fluids and air. Repeat two or three times, or until the syringe comes out clean.
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Step 3. Place your mouth over the dog's mouth and muzzle

Lay the animal on its back and place your mouth over its face, forming a seal around the mouth and muzzle. If he's a bigger dog, close his mouth with your hands and place your mouth just over his muzzle.

Mouth-to-mouth breathing with a puppy can transmit diseases such as brucellosis. It is unlikely that you will contract any serious illness, but you must decide what risk you are willing to take to try to save the dog's life

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Step 4. Breathe into the animal's nose and mouth

Release air two or three times, filling his little lung with air. Notice if his chest is rising with your breaths.

  • The idea is to release small puffs of air into the dog's lungs. The amount needed depends on the size of the animal, but be careful not to hurt it by blowing too much air: usually, the blow needed to extinguish a match is more than enough.
  • If the chest is not moving, the puppy's airway is probably blocked. Repeat the drain procedure one more time.
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Step 5. Check pulse after three breaths

After the initial emergency breathing treatment, make sure the dog's heart is beating. This should be the first time you've checked the animal's pulse.

  • Place two or three fingers against the animal's chest wall, just below the animal's armpits. A strong heartbeat should be easily identifiable without tools.
  • You may need to use a stethoscope to identify if you have a weak or non-existent beat. If you have the instrument nearby, place it on the animal's chest and listen for a few seconds. If you don't have a stethoscope and can't feel the beats, assume they're non-existent.
  • A healthy newborn dog's heart should beat 120 to 180 times a minute. Use a watch to count and see if his heart beats two to three times a second.
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Step 6. Position your fingers for compressions

If the dog's heart is not beating, it needs to be revived to strengthen the blood circulation and force the heart to function. Before starting, lay the animal on its back.

  • Visualize where his front paw's elbow would touch his chest. If you need to, bring his paws down to make sure he's in the right place. This is the point at which you will put pressure on.
  • Place two index fingers on one side and two thumbs on the other.
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Step 7. Give compressions for 15 to 20 seconds

Lightly press your fingers against the dog's chest to stimulate his heart. Press hard enough to move the rib cage, but not hard enough to hurt him.

Since his heart normally beats 120 to 180 times a minute, it's good to give him quick chest compressions. Use the rhythm of famous songs as a guide: for example, “Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5 (150 bpm), “We Got the Beat” by Go-Go's (152 bpm) or “Pressure” by Billy Joel (148 bpm)

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Step 8. Repeat both procedures as needed

You will need to alternate between breathing and squeezing until the animal shows signs of life.

  • Blow air into the dog's pathways every 15 seconds.
  • Quickly press the dog's chest between puffs of air.
  • Check the animal's vitals every minute to see if it is breathing on its own and if its heart is beating.
  • If the dog does not respond within five minutes, it is unlikely that he can be revived.

Method 3 of 4: Resuscitating a Puppy That Is Not Newborn

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Step 1. Find out whether to start with breathing or chest compressions

If the dog has no pulse, initiate cardiac resuscitation (skip to Step that explains the procedure best). If he has a pulse and is not breathing, clear his airway and start breathing.

  • To find out if he is breathing, look at his chest, listen for the breath, or feel the air coming out using your hands or cheek.
  • To check his pulse, place two fingers on his chest, or just below his "armpits". If you have a stethoscope available, use it.
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Step 2. Look for an obstruction in the airway

Put your little finger in the dog's mouth and see if there are any obstructions. If so, remove whatever is preventing the animal's breathing. If it's blood or mucus, use a bulb syringe to aspirate the material and clear the airway for it.

If his tongue is obstructing the air passage, gently pull it out of the way

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Step 3. Close the dog's mouth and tunnel over his nose

Place the animal on its back and place a gourd-shaped hand under its chin. Close the pet's lips with your fingers and, with the other hand, form a "sealed" tube over its snout.

  • The idea is to breathe into the "tunnel", blowing directly into the dog's nose.
  • If the dog is too small for this, simply place your mouth over his mouth and muzzle.
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Step 4. Breathe every six seconds, continuing for one minute

The idea is to blow hard enough to lift the dog's chest, but not enough to hurt the dog's lungs. You will need to run some tests and adjust the amount of air during the procedure, so start blowing softer and increase the intensity if necessary.

If the dog is not breathing on its own after a minute, stop and see if it still has a pulse. If so, repeat breathing for a minute and check your pulse again. Repeat as needed. If he misses a pulse, move on to chest compressions

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Step 5. Position the dog and their hands for chest compressions

In the case of a tiny puppy, place him on his back on a firm surface. Now it's time to put your fingers on the sides of his chest: two index fingers on one side and two thumbs on the other. Place your fingers where your elbows would touch your rib cage.

If the puppy is large and your hand fits all over his chest, place it on the animal's right side, right where the front elbow would touch the trunk. Place the other hand on top of the first

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Step 6. Make one compression per second, counting to six

Press hard enough to feel and see the chest compressing, but don't force the animal too hard. Wear a watch or count slowly in your mind. Don't beat too fast or too slow.

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Step 7. Force his breath and go back into compression

Close the animal's mouth and form a "tunnel" with your hands to blow air into its nose. Breathe quickly and return to compressions for another six seconds, until the dog responds. If you've never done this, check the Steps above for more information.

  • Stop every minute to check the animal's breathing and pulse.
  • If he doesn't respond within five minutes, it's unlikely he'll survive.

Method 4 of 4: Stimulating and Caring for the Reanimated Puppy

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Step 1. Encourage the puppy when he shows signs of life

As soon as the animal's heart starts beating, stop cardiac compressions and focus on stimulation. If his breathing is still shallow and irregular, continue with the emergency breathing procedure.

  • Rub the animal with a washcloth, exerting gentle and careful pressure.
  • Turn the puppy over in your hands a few times, shaking him slightly.
  • If it's a newborn or a very small dog, pick it up by the skin of its neck a few times too.
  • When stimulating the dog, you may still need to stop and force his breath every 20 seconds to keep his lungs working.
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Step 2. Continue stimuli for at least 20 minutes

Once the animal's heart starts beating, it is important to rub and rotate the animal in your hands for at least 20 minutes.

  • Dogs typically take 20 minutes to stabilize after emergency CPR.
  • If his heart does not start beating within five minutes of treatment, it is unlikely that he will survive.
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Step 3. Keep an eye on the puppy

All newborn animals should be closely monitored for a few days. It is vitally important to pay more attention, however, to those who needed resuscitation.

  • One of the most important things to do is to keep your puppy warm, as puppies that are cold in the first week of life are more likely to weaken and die. Spread out some warm blankets and pouches (never in extreme temperatures, or dogs can get burned) to keep their box at a constant temperature of 29°C.
  • Professional veterinary care is also very indicated. If you haven't called the vet yet, do so after you have finished delivering the remaining puppies. Inform the provider about the puppies that needed resuscitation and follow his instructions to continue caring for the pets.

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