First Aid for a Dog That Isn't Breathing

You can give rescue breathing to a dog that isn’t breathing.

If you find your pet unresponsive, you will undoubtedly feel panicked. The first thing you will need to do is evaluate the situation and determine whether your pet is breathing.

How to Tell If Your Dog Is Breathing

First and foremost, you must be cautious while approaching a dog that is sick or injured. Even your own dog may react in uncharacteristic ways, potentially biting you, when she is in pain or scared.

Approach the dog slowly, keeping an eye on whether or not she reacts in any way. If she is unresponsive when you get next to her and place a hand gently on her shoulder, proceed in determining whether she is breathing.

A stethoscope is the easiest way to check for breathing and a heartbeat in your dog. You may wish to place a stethoscope in your dog first aid kit. Practicing ahead of time is the best way to get familiar with doing this.

If your dog isn't breathing, you will need to check for a heartbeat:

Practice finding a pulse and respirations on your dog when there is no emergency.

What to Do If Your Dog Is Not Breathing

If your dog is not breathing and does not have a heartbeat, you will need to perform CPR.

If your dog is not breathing but does have a heartbeat, you should perform rescue breathing. A dog without respirations will suffer cardiac arrest soon, so you should act quickly and keep rechecking for a heartbeat periodically. Switch to CPR if your dog's heart stops.

Instructions for rescue breathing:

You May Also Like These Articles:

Common Eye Conditions in Dogs

Heart Disease in Dogs

Pancreatitis in Dogs

Bloat in Dogs: Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV)

Cataracts in Dogs

Pet Insurance = Peace of Mind

How to Be Prepared for Your Dog's Veterinary Bills

Rat Poison Toxicity in Dogs

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with