Anything that blocks the windpipe causes choking. Small objects in the back of the throat are a common cause. So too is an allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting in the mouth which may cause the tongue to swell. Physical injuries to the neck or throat may cause swelling and choking. A pet may also choke on its own vomit. Choking is an immediate emergency and should be differentiated from gagging which may look similar but is not life-threatening. If your pet is choking, don’t wait for our help. Try to remove the cause of choking. Be careful. A choking pet may be in great distress and is liable to scratch and bite. Take extreme care using your fingers to try to remove items from the throat of a conscious choking pet. The risk of being bitten is enormous.
Conscious And Choking
- Put your arms around you dog’s belly, make a fist and squeeze firmly up and forward just behind the ribcage. This is a canine variation of the Heimlich manoeuvre.
- For a cat or small dog, place your hands on either side of the belly and squeeze firmly up and forward
Unconscious And Choking
- With the pet on its side place the heels of both hands just behind the back ribs.
- Press sharply to expel the blockage.
- Use your finger to sweep debris from the mouth
- Give artificial respiration and CPR if necessary
- If artificial respiration or CPR is necessary get immediate veterinary assistance.
Object In Mouth Of Conscious Pet
- Restrain pet.
- Open mouth with one hand grasping upper jaw and pressing upper lips over upper teeth.
- Other hand opens lower jaw.
- Use a spoon handle to remove object stuck on teeth or in roof of mouth.
Dogs, especially pups, chew anything as a natural method of investigation, to relieve boredom, to exercise the teeth and gums or simply for the fun of it. Pups in particular swallow small objects and are at risk of choking on them. Cats love playing with string and accidentally swallow one end of it. Never leave string, ribbon or small chewable articles where pets can find them.