puppy choking - puppy eating a carrot

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Unfortunately, puppy choking is a very common emergency, particularly if they are left alone with toys or hard chews! So, do you know what to do if you found your puppy choking?

Before you find yourself panicking, assess the situation and make sure your puppy truly is choking. Look for these signs:

Signs Your Puppy Is Choking

High-Pitched Squeaking or Whistling Noises

If you notice a high-pitched sound coming from your puppy while trying to bring air into their lungs, there is likely an obstruction in the airway.

Discoloured Tongue or Gums

Gums or tongue that have turned blue, grey, or white could be an indication of puppy choking. This colour change happens due to a lack of oxygen.

Pawing at Their Mouth

A dog pawing at their mouth can be a signal that there is something seriously wrong. This could be a sign your dog is attempting to remove an obstruction.

Panicking Behaviour

Your puppy showing extreme distress and panicking can be caused by their inability to gasp for air. Though this is a less common symptom, with no other obvious signs – check their breathing.

Loss of Consciousness

The most obvious sign your puppy is choking would be an actual loss of consciousness due to lack of oxygen. Do not wait to see if they regain consciousness; they will require immediate medical attention.

Now that you are aware of the possible signs your puppy is choking, what do you do if it happens?

What To Do If Your Puppy Is Choking:

#1 Restrain Your Puppy

You need to hold your puppy still. When panicking, your puppy may bite you and could even lodge the obstruction further into their windpipe by flailing about.  

#2 Pull Your Puppy’s Tongue to the Side

With cloth or your shirt, you can better grip your puppy’s tongue. If you can see the object clearly, grasp it using pliers – your fingers may end up pushing the object deeper.

#3 Compress Your Puppy’s Chest

While your puppy is still standing, gently compress both sides of their chest to try and force air from the lungs to dislodge the object.

#4 Standing Heimlich Maneuver (Smaller Dogs/Puppies)

Hold your puppy’s back to your chest and find the soft hollow area under their ribs. With a closed fist, pull up two or three times toward your stomach in a thrusting motion.

#5 Kneeling Heimlich Maneuver (Larger Dogs)

Place your pup on its side and kneel behind their back. In the soft hollow area under the ribs, with a closed fist push upward and inward, sharply directing the thrusts toward the head where your knees are positioned.  

#6 Remove Dislodged Object or Continue the Heimlich Maneuver While Someone Drives You to the Vet

After attempting all other steps, if the object has not been dislodged, you must get to your closest veterinarian immediately for emergency medical help.

5 Reasons Your Puppy Could Be Choking

  • Unsupervised puppies with toys or chews
  • Faulty puppy toys
  • Loose debris on the floor
  • Bones or large chunks of food
  • An existing medical problem

To train yourself in puppy first aid, why not take a dog CPR and first aid course.

*Note: This is not intended as veterinary advice and you should always try to seek veterinary assistance if you suspect puppy choking.

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