We've all been there – your dog is chewing your favourite pair of shoes, your children's toys or even rubbish he picked up on the street. But would you know what to do if your pup swallowed something that got lodged in his throat? The following steps are recommended by the veterinary site PetMD.
It's important for all pet owners to be sure of the steps to follow in order to prevent a dog from choking, because waiting for veterinary assistance could take too long and cost him his life…
Signs to watch out for
A dog that is suffocating or that has something lodged may panic and paw at his throat or mouth. If your dog is unresponsive or unconscious, check the mouth and throat first and foremost.
It could be nearly anything, so make sure you always have one eye on your pup to see what he's chewing or playing with. Cartilage, bones, sticks or rubber toys can all become stuck and swollen.
Your dog will likely be panicking, so protect yourself from potential bites, however, do not muzzle him. Use both hands to pry open his mouth and ask someone to shine a torch into his throat. Remove the object with your hands if you can, otherwise try with the back of a spoon or fork.
If you cannot see anything lodged in your pup's mouth, do the following:
For a small dog – Pick him up by his thighs, gently shaking and swinging him. Apply forward pressure to the abdomen just behind the ribcage.
For a large dog – You will be unable to pick him up as this can cause further damage. Here is where you need to use the Heimlich manoeuvre:
If the dog is standing, put your hands around his belly, making a fist and pushing firmly upwards and forwards behind the rib cage. Put him on his side afterwards.
If your dog is lying down, put one hand on his back for support and use the other to push forwards and upwards under his belly.
Then check if any objects or food particles have come up into his mouth, and remove it. you might have to go quite far back into his throat with your index finger and hook the object to pull it out.
Take your dog to the vet immediately after having treated him yourself, if you haven't already called someone from the vet's office to come and fetch him. It's important that he be examined for scratching or internal bleeding.
It's a difficult situation, but a dog needs to be treated like a small child. You constantly have to keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn't eat small objects or sharp food particles. Cut up the food you give him into small pieces and avoid toys that swell when wet, such as wooden sticks.
Watch the demonstrative video below by First Aid For Life:
Keep these steps in mind so that next time your pup swallows something that gets stuck, you will know what to do and could save his life!