Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course here. Or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

In this lesson, we'll be taking you through a cat and dog CPR demonstration. Obviously, watching the corresponding video for this lesson and practicing along on a stuffed animal will be the best approach to learning these techniques, and you should consider doing so until you feel comfortable performing high-quality CPR.

Before you begin chest compressions, it's important that you're in the correct position. You'll want your pet on his side and either is fine. And you'll be positioned directly over him.

Pro Tip #1: When you give chest compressions, it's important to lock your elbows and allow the weight of your body to assist you. If you're too close to your pet and are unable to lock your elbows, you'll tire much more quickly, and those compressions will likely be less effective.

Two Different Hand Positions

Your hand position is determined by the size of your pet. For dogs that are 25 pounds or larger, put your hands over the widest part of the chest and back a little, closer to the spine in the middle of the chest.

For cats and smaller dogs, you're going to want to put your hands directly over the heart. To find the heart, bend your pet's top leg in and find the point on the elbow. Where that point meets the chest is roughly where your pet's heart is located.

For really small animals, you can also put your thumb and fingers on the sides of the chest, where the heart is located, and squeeze that area with just one hand.

Regardless of which location you compress, you'll want to put one hand on top of the other, just like Dr. Bobbi demonstrated in the video, unless compressing with one hand.

The Proper CPR Technique

Now that you know where to put your hands and how to put your hands, let's focus on some specifics regarding those compressions.

Each compression should be performed at a depth of 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the chest. They should also be performed evenly and at the same rate – 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute.

Pro Tip #2: Make sure to allow for full recoil after each compression. What does this mean? You'll want to compress the full depth and then allow the chest to fully rise, before performing another compression. One time down and one time up equals one full compression.

The rate of chest compressions can be tricky at first. One way to think about it is that you'll be delivering around 2 full compressions every second. And if you require a little trick, you can perform compressions to a couple of different songs (in your head). Staying Alive by the Bee Gees or Another One Bites the Dust by Queen are excellent choices and not bad as far as 70s songs go either.

1 Person CPR Cycle

Ideally, you'll have help, but this may not always be the case. If it's just you, you'll want to do the following:

  1. Perform 30 chest compressions.
  2. Give 2 rescue breaths.
  3. Check for a pulse; remember to spend only 10 to 15 seconds.

If you do not detect a pulse, go immediately back into performing 30 more chest compressions.

2 Person CPR Cycle

If you do have help, you'll be able to provide better quality CPR with fewer interruptions and alternate roles to limit fatigue, as chest compressions can be exhausting.

  1. One of you performs continuous chest compressions.
  2. While the other gives one rescue breath every 6 to 8 seconds.
  3. Switch after 2 minutes, while one of you also checks for a pulse.

Pro Tip #3: One vital key to providing high-quality CPR is to limit interruptions. This cannot be overstated!

Again, if you do not find a pulse, continue with 2 more minutes of CPR, following the same instructions as above. However, if you do detect a pulse, get your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible for further care.

CPR Review

In a nutshell, the cat and dog CPR technique is as follows:

  1. Find the center of the chest in larger pets or the heart in smaller pets – where the elbow meets the chest.
  2. Lock your elbows and make sure you're directly above your spot.
  3. Compress to a depth of 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of your pet's chest.
  4. Make sure to allow for full recoil – all the way down, all the way up.
  5. Compress at a rate of 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute, whether or not you use a song for help.
  6. If there are two of you, switch positions every 2 minutes to avoid fatigue and check for a pulse when you do. Otherwise, check for a pulse after performing 30 chest compressions and giving 2 rescue breaths.
  7. Continue to perform high-quality CPR until your pet's pulse returns or after 10 to 20 minutes have passed.