Dog And Puppy (And Cat) CPR

Please note: Information in this post is not meant as a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult your veterinarian in an emergency.

How to perform dog (and cat) CPR:

To give chest compressions to your dog for CPR, you first want to make sure you are both positioned correctly. Your pet should be on his side, either side is fine. You should be positioned above him so you can lock your elbows.

For big dogs (25 pounds and up):

You want to put your hands over the widest part of the chest. So back from the elbows closer to the spine and in the middle of the chest. Put one hand on top of the other and lock your elbows.

For Smaller Dogs and Cats:

You want to put your hands on the heart. To find where the heart would be, bend the top front paw until you find the point of the elbow. Where that point meets the chest is about where the heart is going to be and that’s where you want to position your hands.


Each compression should be even and should compress the chest by about half or a third of the width of the chest. Make sure to release completely in between the compressions. Give about 100-120 compression per minute. Since this is a lot of compressions, give it to the beat of these songs Staying Alive by the Bee Gees or Another One Bites the Dust by Queen.

Rescue Breath:

After 30 compressions, you will need to give a rescue breath. If you have two people, one person keeps doing compressions without stopping and the second person gives a breath every 6-8 seconds. Switch roles about every two minutes. Make the switch smoothly to minimize interactions to chest compressions.

Special thanks to:

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Bonnie Conner, DVM

Bonnie Conner DVM, a Clinical Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine & Critical Care at the University of Florida, specializes in small animal emergency and clinical care.

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This course teaches first aid techniques to address the most common emergencies that can occur with small and large dogs as well as cats. This course will train you to notice abnormalities and detect early warning signs in pets. The course is developed and taught by Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Bobbi Conner.

Aly DelaCoeur, UW-AAB
Aly DelaCoeur, UW-AAB is one of the founders of Wag Enabled (originally Why Does My Dog). Aly has a certificate in applied animal behavior through the University of Washington and is a certified veterinary assistant and AKC Evaluator. She aims to provide an unbiased perspective on dog training by providing practical, intelligent, and caring advice for people to impart on their canine companions