How To Assess A Dog's ABC - Airways, Breathing, Circulation

How To Assess A Dog's ABC - Airways, Breathing, Circulation

How to check your dog’s Airways, Breathing and Circulation if it was involved in an accident

If you do ever find yourself in an emergency situation you must remember to stay calm and assess the scene. By staying calm yourself, you will be putting any injured dog at ease.

When you assess the scene of an accident:

  1. Take a deep breath to calm yourself
  2. Assess for danger and your personal safety
  3. If you did not see what happened, gather as much evidence as possible from bystanders
  4. Approach the dog slowly, low to the ground and in a curved direction / movement
  5. Assess if the dog is conscious
  6. If the dog is conscious, apply a tape muzzle to avoid being bitten or snapped at by a scared or injured dog. NEVER muzzle a dog that is unconscious or having breathing difficulties, has a jaw injury, is vomiting or during a seizure.

To help put the dog at ease remember these simple techniques:

  • Don’t look the dog directly in the eye, keep your facial expressions soft
  • Approach the injured animal slowly, keeping low and DO NOT approach from a direct angle
  • Calming signals for dogs include yawning, slow blinking, lip licking and stretching

When you have safely assessed the scene and are with the dog you will need to check their A B C

Airways – Breathing – Circulation

Airways: Lie the dog on its right side, extend the head so it is in alignment with the spine, with nose pointing forwards. Open the mouth and pull the tongue forward.

Breathing: Look, listen and feel for 5 seconds. If there are no breaths, put the tongue back inside, close the mouth and give 2 breaths up the dog’s nose (using the resuscitation guard from your dog first aid kit).

Circulation: Check for a pulse by feeling the femoral artery (underside the back thigh) for 5 seconds. If a pulse is present continue with breaths for 1 minute and then re-check pulse (1 breath every 2-3 seconds). If there is no pulse start chest compressions (30 chest compressions – 2 breaths).

Checking the pulse on a dog

How To Perform Chest Compressions On A Dog

Your hands should be placed where the elbow of the upper foreleg meet the ribcage. For barrel chested dogs they should be placed on their backs so that you can compress on the sternum.

CPR on a Labrador


first aid kit for treating dogsfirst aid instructions for treating dogs

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