What would you do if your puppy started choking? This past Sunday, North Reading resident Megan Vitale was forced to answer that question herself when her 9-month-old puppy, a Saint Bernard named Bodhi, began to quickly fade after getting food lodged in its throat. Desperate and scrambling, she ran into a nearby police station where a slew of officers jumped to action to save the lifeless pup. The puppy was reported “not breathing, lifeless and limp” when the officers first tended to it, according to the North Reading Police Department.
Officers Jorge Hernandez, Peter DiPietro and Joseph Aleo were joined by North Reading firefighters in the effort to save Bodhi. The first responders administered back blows and chest compressions, ultimately dislodging the obstruction and allowing the puppy to breathe on its own. After a reported ten minutes of emergency medical efforts, which are captured in the below video, this puppy will be perfectly fine and is now being treated by a veterinarian to ensure a safe recovery.
Puppies are constantly getting into trouble. They love to chew and swallow nearly anything they can get their paws on. But if an object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, it can block the airway, leading to death. What’s an owner to do should she find her pup in a state of emergency?
For starters, you’ll know when something is wrong, as puppies will often gag, cough or become frantic in their attempts to dislodge the blockage. After that, you’ll have to work fast. Here are a few tips for what to do if your puppy is choking:
Restrain Your Puppy
If she’s panicking, you’ll need to calm her down so you have the ability to look inside her mouth and throat. Use a cloth to grip the tongue and move it out of the way. If possible, take tongs or needle nose pliers to grasp the object and remove it. You can also use your fingers.
Use The Heimlich Maneuver
For large dogs, the Heimlich maneuver is sometimes your best option. For standing dogs, put your arms around her their, joining your hands, and find the soft hollow under the ribs. Using your closed fist, pull up and in two or three times, just behind the rib cage, utilizing a thrusting motion. Be sure to place the dog on their side afterward.
If the dog is lying down, support their back with your hand while using the other to squeeze the abdomen upwards and forwards.
For small pups, invert your dog and apply pressure to the abdomen just below the rib cage.
Below is a helpful video that also suggests trying to lift the dog’s back legs to possibly allow gravity to help dislodge the object.
If in doubt, do your best to get your best friend to a veterinarian who’ll know just what to do to save your puppy’s life.
Have you ever had to save the life of your puppy? What method worked in your puppy’s case?