What to do if your pet is Choking

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Pets are lovely creatures, and provide many happy moments for us in life, but at times they can get themselves into some serious trouble which can be very scary. Whether it be out for a walk and getting caught in a bush or even just laying around at home and find something they shouldn’t have, our pets’ curiosity could easily get into some sticky situations. While obviously, it’s ideal that your pet stay safe and avoids these situations, sometimes they are simply unavoidable! There are many things that your pet can choke on which range from small things like common household debris, or even little plastic objects such as children’s toys.

To begin helping your pet you first have to recognize that it is choking. There are many obvious motions that a pet will go through when it is choking, but you may not perceive them as warning signs. Sometimes the pet will pace awkwardly with a panicked expression and other times there will be some retching noises or perhaps chest convulsions. The first step of helping your pet out is to stay calm and don’t alarm them that will only make things worse. This could also cause your pet to run away and not be able to receive assistance. Simply walk up to your pet and grab their tongue, pulling it forward and see if you can remove the object from their mouth.

If you cannot see the object, or cannot remove the object from the pet’s throat you will have to do a “Heimlich maneuver”. If your pet is larger (a large dog for example), stand behind them and form your arms into a bear hug position around their body. With one hand ball it into a fist, and place your thumb against their chest. With your other hand, grab your first hand and push towards their shoulders with some force behind it. Do this motion a few times and then check to see if their breath has normalized, if not complete the maneuver again.

For a smaller animal the maneuver is the same but this time you’ll have to account for the size differential. Place your pets head in an upwards position ensuring that their spine is pressed against your chest. Once again, make a fist with one hand and place your thumb against their chest. With your other hand, forcefully give a few thrusts. If the breathing has not normalized, complete the maneuver again.

A few tips on avoiding this situation if possible would be to keep the floors clean and clear of any small objects that may be able to be picked up by an unknowing pet. Others would be to ensure that they have large enough toys so that the toy may not accidentally slip down their throat or become lodged in their mouth. There are many toy brands that strive for pet safety and are reliable to deal with.

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