First Aid for animals
Sometimes coughing or illness can be mistaken for choking.
When coughing or illness occurs the animal will still be able to breathe.
When choking the animal will not be able to breathe or will have signs of visibly struggling to breathe.
Remember to try to keep calm and keep the animal calm.
If at any stage you are unable to administer first aid, get advice from your veterinarian.
An animal that is choking will be panicking and may bite.
Are they choking or coughing?
A choking animal will have difficulty in breathing. They will make choking sounds, might paw at their mouth or their lips, gums and tongue starts turning blue. Or a combination of the symptoms.
Do you know why they are choking? Where they eating or playing with a toy?
Are you able to look into the mouth and can you see anything?
Try to clear the obstruction.
If the animal is awake do not stick your fingers into their mouth as it could cause more panic and you could get bitten.
If the animal is unconscious you can try to remove the object, but taking care not to push it further down the throat.
If you cannot remove the obstruction:
If you have to perform the following, the animal will have to visit a vet even if you manage to remove the obstruction as the following measures could cause bruising, or injury that needs to be checked thoroughly.
Try to dislodge the obstruction.
Lay the animal on it’s side and with open flat hands push quickly and firmly three or four times on it's side.
- Or -
For small animals, hold their back against your stomach (head up, paws down), and find the soft hollow under the ribs. Your closed fist should fit into this spot. Pull up and in two or three times, toward yourself, using a thrusting motion.
For animals too large to lift, place them on their side and kneel behind their back. Place your closed fist in the hollow under their rib cage, and push upward and inward sharply, in the direction of your dog’s head and your knees.
Once the obstruction is cleared the animal may still need veterinarian care in case of injury or infection in the throat from the obstruction.