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Dog CPR and Heimlich Maneuver [Videos]

Updated on April 29, 2013


Are You Loving Your Dog to Death?

In an attempt to show love for our dogs, we often bring them snacks and toys to brighten their day. So many to choose from, rawhide, pig ears, plastic chew toys, toys to tug, balls to chase, Frisbee's to retrieve and the list goes on and on. With all of these options what toys are the safest for your dog?

In this article you will discover lessons on "Dog CPR" and "Dog Heimlich Maneuver". You will also discover how to choose the safest toys and snacks for your pet, along with the reality of letting your dog play with a plain-old tennis ball. Let's get right to it, shall we?

The Safest Option For Your Dog

In finding the safest options for your pet, you have to consider the size of your sweet furry friend. Is he the nervous type that needs to stay busy or is he a strong chewer that needs tough toys. What is the age of your pet and are there any medical restrictions? Finally and most important, how long will your pet be unattended when playing with or chewing on your gifts?

We are all aware that dogs have an unusual affinity for tennis balls. We roll the ball for them, toss it and even tug on it as they tempt us with a ball lodged tightly in place behind k9 fangs, only to be released when Fluffy feels he can push us no further. The repetitious action to throw the ball, fetch the ball, throw the ball (wipe slobber off your hand), retrieve the ball, throw...well, you get the point. All for the love of our dogs.

Size does matter! But, your Dog doesn't know it.

Choking hazards occur when the size of the tennis ball is too small for the size of your dog.
Choking hazards occur when the size of the tennis ball is too small for the size of your dog. | Source

Frisbee's chewed and shank-like edges can cut your dog!

chewed Frisbee
chewed Frisbee | Source

The Tennis Ball and Your Dog

As you read further you will find that these traditional toys may be the cause of choking and even death in our beloved beasts. The size of a tennis ball does matter! For your medium sized or large dogs a tennis ball can become a death sentence. It is just the right size to lodge in your dog's throat. THIS HAS HAPPENED TO MANY DOGS IN THE PAST. The tennis ball's round pliable nature is the perfect device for your k9 to chomp and swallow unintentionally making for a disastrous outcome for you and your pet. My suggestion is to only give tennis balls (or balls of a similar circumference) to little dogs where the likelihood of this happening is null. Many pet specialty shops offer over sized tennis balls that are more suitable and safe for your medium or large family pet. These are the only type I offer to my medium size dog.

Dog Choking Hazards

Dog toys and treats can become choking safety hazards as well. If a toy has been broken or is the wrong size for your dog the hazard increases. Slow digesting toys (raw hide, pig ears, etc.) can become a hazard to your dogs digestive tract if too many are ingested too fast. Plastic chew toys need to be monitored for breaks or cracks as these can result in choking and should be thrown away promptly where Fido can't 'reclaim' the item later. The shredded or mangled sharp edge of plastic toys can cause rips or cuts to your dog's gums. The simple act of chewing the edge of a Frisbee can create a razor sharp plastic shank that may injure your dog during play-time (doggy safety goggles prove to be no help during Frisbee play).

Before you read any further, answer this question.

What does your dog get more of?

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A small toy is meant for a small dog

Larger dogs are subjected to choking or swallowing these smaller goodies due to the ability to destroy the small item with ease. A good rule to follow in multi-dog households is only buy toys that fit the largest dog in the home. It is unlikely that a smaller dog will destroy, choke on or swallow a large dog's toy. If you feel that your smaller friend is getting the raw end of the deal and you bring him toys to fit his tiny muzzle, be certain to secure his smaller toys somewhere so that your bigger buddy can't get to them.


Stuffed or Natural Dog Toys?

Stuffed mm; simply don't buy, borrow, or acquire these for your pet, ever ! Unless your pet is under constant supervision while playing with this kind of toy, avoid giving them to him at all cost. Stuffed toys are manufactured for human children generally and are not designed to withstand the chewing and gnawing your dog will deliver. The cotton (or other material) stuffed inside is going to make your pet sick. It is a non-digestible material that could clog your dogs intestines or worst. Some pet companies make stuffed dog toys but I would avoid these as well. They do stand up to your dogs thrashing a little better, but once a seam has been breached it has to go into the trash!

Another mistake we make as caring pet owners is offering up too many rawhide and pig ear treats. From a k9 behaviorist point of view, these can be considered unsafe. The concern is that rawhide is not a digestible product and can cause a blockage in the intestinal tract. A soggy piece of rawhide can cause choking or can cause a blockage to occur. The same concerns apply to pig ear snacks. These may be a bit safer for your dog, however if you give him too many of the delicacies over a short period of time, digestive and possibly larger health issues are sure to arise.

Are Cow Hooves Safe For My Dog

We have all seen cow hooves in the pet aisles. They come in a somewhat natural state, some have meat flavoring added and some we find have been smoked to the delight of your pet. If you do give these to your dog keep in mind that they are very, very hard and can crack teeth and cause other dental disasters. Cow hooves also have significantly off-putting odor (like that of ammonia or urine) when they have been chewed for a while. I highly recommend these be an outside treat if you decide to give them to your pet (it is suggested that you monitor your dog while chewing on these treats outside as well).

Many of us feel that natural bones are the best treat, choosing the long shin bones or knuckles to keep our dog safe. Unfortunately these too are a risky snack. Bones can splinter and be swallowed causing internal damage to Fee-fee's esophagus or digestive system. "What's left?" you ask. At this point, I would not be surprised to hear you ask, "What kind of toy is safe enough to offer my pet?" There are actually many alternatives, and one superior group of dog toys to choose from.

I Believe That "Kong Dog Toys" Really Are The Best And Safest Dog Toys

First, I want to make it clear that I am not affiliated with or work for Kong Dog Toys in any way, shape, or form. I gain nothing by recommending them for your pets. I really believe that Kong dog toys are the best and safest toy for your pet. They are a toy that is hollow with a hole on the bottom of its rounded cone-shaped body. They are made from a very durable material (sturdy rubber) and are made in the United States. You can choose from a variety of styles and sizes that fit your dogs size and chewing habits (aggressive or passive).

For example, a larger breed or those who need to chew and have an aggressive nature would most likely require a large Kong, which are color coded in black making them easy to identify. A small dog is usually okay with red Kong's that are smaller to match that pet's size and jaw power. For a multi-dog household (with small and large dogs) use the Kong that fits the largest and most powerful chewing dog in the house.

Kong Snack Games

You can put snacks inside the Kong which may satisfy your dogs natural instinctual need to hunt or forage for his food (it's not easy to get the snack out of these things!). You can put peanut butter inside to help keep your dog occupied in your absence. Kong toys have been said to keep your dog's mind active and causes him to feel more comfortable while we humans are out of the house. As with any dog toy, if any cracks or tears in the rubber occur, throw it out to prevent any dangerous events from occurring. Also, if you use peanut butter or other soft treats with the Kong, be certain to clean it so that mold won't grow and cause your dog to get sick.

Good luck and happy dog treat shopping! I know you and your k9 friends will be safer, healthier and happier knowing what kind of dangers to avoid in the world of dog treats and toys. Please watch the K9 emergency videos provided.Taking this extra step to learn K9 life saving techniques may save your best friend or someone else's, somewhere down the road.

Your Dog Would Learn to save Your Life. Shouldn't You do the Same for Him?


These procedures are used only after you have discerned that there is something in your dogs throat and that he can not breathe. View the videos below for complete step by step directions for conducting the Doggy Heimlich and CPR on your pet. During any life saving procedures you should be in a car with someone else driving you expeditiously to your veterinarian for proper pet medical attention.

If your dog has something lodged in his throat

  1. Small or medium dog - Carefully get the dog into an upside down position by taking his rear laegs into your hands and inverting him. Shake the dog trying to dislodge the item using gravity.
  2. Large dog - Carefully get the dog in a 'wheelbarrow' position. While keeping his front feet on the ground or chair turn him upside down and lift his rear legs and angle him forward shaking him as much as possible to utilize gravity in dislodging the item.

When inverting your dog does not remove the item, use back blows

  1. Locate your dogs shoulder blades. With the palm of your hand, strike firmly between the blades 4 or 5 times.

If these techniques do not dislodge the item and your dog continues to require life saving attention, you may need to consider the Heimlich maneuver or CPR. For accurate step by step directions on both, please view the adjoining videos for both subjects.

Image of water rescue dog is complements of



Comments for "Dogs - Safe Toys and Treats"

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  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    kaltopsyd~ Thank you for the comments. So glad you had a chance to learn about dog CPR and choking emegergencies. Your puppy Xena sounds like a lot of fun and responsibility! I wish you the best with your pup and a safe happy life of companionship and respect.

    ~Always choose love~

  • kaltopsyd profile image


    10 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

    Thanks you for a very useful Hub. I never thought about larger dogs choking on tennis balls. A tennis ball is only slightly smaller than my dog's head. :)

    I have to especially thank you for including the 2 videos. Those were very helpful. Just today my puppy choked (on her food). So... I'm glad I know what to do now.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    kaie~ I value your comments! Thank you for the read.

  • Kaie Arwen profile image

    Kaie Arwen 

    10 years ago

    Good advice and information............ thanks- K

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    Greenlily~Thanks for the comments. Appreciate your passion for our fuzzy buddies. The best judge of true goodness is seen in an animals' eyes.

    ~always choose love~

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    Nellieanna~ your comments are as always so appreciated. Some things just aren't easy for pet owners to get information on. When you walk into a reputable pet specialty store that is filled with so many selections from every walk of the pet world, it is difficult to know what is safe and what can become a nightmare. Giving a tid-bit of insider information now and again can be the one bit that may keep Fee-fee alive and well!

    So pleased you stopped by and commented!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    Peg~Having a new puppy is like having a two year old human baby at large! Everything within sight becomes a new adventure or a test of agility. I empathise with your never-ending days, but in the long run, they are soooo worth it! Best of luck with your 4-legged buddy.

    Thank you for your comments!

  • Greenlily profile image


    10 years ago from Philippines

    Very good hub for dog owners like me. Thanks for posting!

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    10 years ago from TEXAS

    Not having a dog, I can only applaud the good tips. I'm an animal lover and it is always encouraging when good care and sincere concern for them is practiced. Good 4 U!!

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 

    10 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

    Great advice here on the dangers of dog toys. Having a new puppy, I've recently been reminded of the perils of ingesting foreign objects. My Tony really is like a vacuum cleaner and I'm continually after him for stealing stuff that could harm him. Just this morning he stole a wet wipe out of the bathroom trash. Now all the trash cans are up on the counter or out of reach.

    Very enjoyable article and well written.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    Roger~Thank you, thank you, thank you! How awesome are you to have actually performed these procedures to save a furry life. I am well pleased at your human dignity!

    Your recipe for heartworm prevention is simply beautiful. I wish more would look into the aspect of holistic pet meds. I appreciate you sharing this information with us very much!

    I have had several rescue dogs in the past, I now have a wonderful Golden Retriever who is by my side 24/7. Where I go he goes and I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Thank you for stopping by and for your wonderful comments.

    Cosette~So glad to know there are bunny emergency procedures! I am thrilled with the notion that love out weighs the 'germ' component for you as well! I am pretty sure nothing would prevent me from trying.

    Always humbled that you stop by.

    Big baccon snack for Quincy and a special carrott treat for the bunny! Thank you for the comment and the UP!

    ~always choose love~

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    i don't have a dog but if i did i would definitely take your advice. i have a bunny and believe it or not they have a heimlich maneuver as well, and, like you, i would give her the breath of life regardless of where her mouth has been.

    rating this UP. well done!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    This was a wonderful article to read. I currently have three large dogs. Through life, I likely have rescued a few dozen and on one occasion perform CPR with a drowning dog.

    My favorite treat for my puppies, bacon. What dog doesn't love bacon.

    Another thing, natural heart worm care. A combination of St John's Wort, Garlic and Black Walnut oil in the dogs diet helps prevents heart worm and is better for them than using items like Heart guard.

    I'm glad you posted this because many people do not know how to perform CPR or assist choking with people, even much less when it comes to their own dogs.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    Baileybear~It sounds as if she had the wonderful luck of having you in her short life my dear. It is so sad when not even modern medicine can correct a faulty system in one of our sweet k9s. She was blessed to be in your care.

    koffeeklatch~It is a wonder when we actually stop to think about the things we do for or to our pet friends. What we think is a safe and normal treat or toy can become a disaster. Armed with just a little inside information, possibly we can add quality and quantity to their little lives. I am pleased that you enjoyed the hub and thankful for your comments!

    ~always choose love~

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Hazelton 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    This was an unbelievable hub. We all love our dogs, me included, but don't seem to stop and think about how we inadvertenately put them in danger. You had some wonderful advice and tips. I enjoyed very much reading this hub. Thank you.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Thank-you. This dog wasn't with us long - she had epilepsy. I will write about it down the track. Meds failed to control it, sadly. She was dying from too many seizures and we had to have her put to sleep. She managed to do an expert hiding job though.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    Baileybear~ I totally understand the kitty-rocca delima, and only in the most deadly situations would I undertake the procedure myself. But, I would do it!

    When they know the end is getting closer it is amazing how brave and selfless our furry friends can be. I am sorry for your loss and I am certain your dog friend is chewing away on the bright side of the rainbow bridge.

    ~always choose love~

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I'm not keen to give my dog mouth-to-mouth as he likes to steal cat poo out of the litter tray. Our last dog loved her Kong and hit it in the garden just before she died. We never found it. It was like she knew her time was up.


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