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CPR for Cats & Dogs

Probably one of the most important things you can do after SAFETY is to make sure your dog or cat is breathing. To do this, you want to gently tap your dog or cat and call out his or her name to see if there is any movement. Then (being careful not to get bitten or scratched) lean down close and LOOK, LISTEN AND FEEL for breathing.
LOOK: at the chest of the animal to see if its moving. LISTEN: to see if you can hear them breathing. FEEL: on your cheek or back of your hand for a breath.

If your dog or cat is not breathing, pull their tongue just a little bit, close the mouth and tilt their head just a little to open their Airway. Give them 4-5 breaths from your (guess what?) mouth to their nose! This is "Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation." You'll want to give them just enough air to make the chest rise. Big dogs need more— little dogs or cats much less. Remember not to give too much air! You don't want to hurt them.

This means you're checking to see if their heart is working okay. To do that you must check for a heart beat—the pulse. There are pulse points located in various areas on your dog or cat. For a dog the best place to find the pulse is on the inside of the rear leg, towards the top of the leg. This is called the Femoral Pulse. For a cat the best place to find the pulse is on the outside of the left front leg, just behind the shoulder. This is called an Apical Pulse.

Rescue Breathing
Rescue Breathing is when you have to breath for your dog or cat because they are not breathing on their own. You do this when your dog or cat has a pulse but is not breathing.
Step 1
First do your ABCs: don't forget to LOOK, LISTEN, and FEEL for breathing.
Step 2
If not breathing, give 4-5 breaths using Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation (see Breathing, above).
Step 3
Check for pulse on the Femoral Artery for dogs or check the Apical Pulse for cats or really small dogs.
Step 4
If there is a pulse, but no breathing start Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation giving 1 breath every 3 seconds. For cats or really small dogs, give 1 breath every 2 seconds.

CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation)
CPR: First do your ABCs—don't forget to LOOK, LISTEN, and FEEL for breathing. CPR can only be performed if your dog or cat is not breathing and has no pulse. Follow Steps 1, 2, 3, above, just as in Rescue Breathing. If there is no Pulse, start CPR (step 4, below).

Step 4

Place the dog on the ground or other hard surface with its right side down. Take its left front leg and bend at the elbow, rotating at the shoulder. The point where the elbow of the dog touches the body is where you place your hands for compressions. Put one hand on top of the other and clasp your fingers together. Lock your elbows and start performing compressions. Push approximately 2-3 inches deep on a large or giant dog. After 1 minute check for a pulse. Repeat if there is no response.
Giant Dogs = Give 1 breath every 10 compressions. Medium to Large Dogs = Give 1 breath every 5 compressions. Small Dogs = Give 1 breath every 5 compressions.

CATS or Really Small Dogs
Place the animal flat on the ground. Then put your hands on either side of the animal's chest, right behind the shoulder blades with your palms over the heart (sandwiching the animal's chest between both hands). Compress approximately 1/2 to 1 inch deep. After 1 minute, check for a pulse again. Cats or Really Small Dogs = Give 1 breath every 3 compressions.

PLEASE take a class from a qualified instructor. In the meantime, study the instructions above so you are more knowledgeable and prepared to assist in an emergency. Print a copy to keep in your Roadside Rescue Kit.


In addition to the LA City, Beverly Hills City and West Hollywood City Channels, you can now watch our

To see The Pet Care Foundation's TV show, ADOPT A PET TODAY, click here to go to YouTube.

It's a 30 minute show so there are 2 editions. You can also see our PSA’s there too.

Adopt me now! This pet is ready to be adopted from Los Angeles Animal Services.
Just click on the photo for more information.
Los Angeles has 12 City and County Shelters full of wonderful pets. You can view these pets and find a location near you by visiting: for the City and for the County.

For very adoptable dogs and cats visit the Lange Foundation at

Free spay/neuter for homeless, feral and stray cats in Los Angeles, and low-cost services for tame cats

For assistance in keeping your pet call 213-403-0129 for free spay/neuter, vaccinations,
licensing fees, fence/gate repair, dog training, some vet care, and tenant/property
owner negotiations. Your call will be returned within 48 hours.