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My pet is choking! What do I do?!

Imagine your pet starts choking. What would you do? Most pet owners don’t.

Imagine your pet starts choking. What would you do? Most pet owners don’t. A local animal ER doctor says there are some things pet owners can do to try to help their pets in these situations.

Dr. Erin Jones is a veterinarian at Huntsville Veterinary Specialists and Emergency. She has been helping animals in emergency situations there for over a year and a half. Jones says there are some techniques pet owners can put into action if they notice a pet is choking.

“If you have your dog that’s choking or even your cat that’s choking, you want to gently clear the airway,” said Jones.

Now, you may not want to try this technique if your baby bites! Dr. Jones says to definitely keep your fingers safe.

“You can gently open the mouth,” she said. “You can use your finger to sweep the airway. See if you can clear the airway that way.”

You can also try to give your pets emergency breaths by gently blowing into their nostrils.

“Gently blow into it and see if you get a rise out of their chest– if there’s airway there,” said Jones.

If that doesn’t work, Jones says you can try the Heimlich Maneuver.

“You do want to put them on their back, and you want to press just below the chest, and it’s going to be a gentle, but good thrust in order to try to clear the airway,” she said.

You’ll want to use an upward thrust motion.

Now as for other techniques, just do a quick search online and you’ll find a lot of instructions on what to do if your pet is choking. However, Jones advises against some of these.

“You definitely don’t want to shake your dog,” she said. “You don’t want to cause further trauma. Hitting them on the back may not do anything. It may help dislodge it but the most reliable is going to be the Heimlich Maneuver.”

Jones strongly recommends that all pet owners know where their closest 24-hour animal hospital is should any emergencies arise. It’s also a good idea to have their phone number handy in case you need it fast.

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