How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver on a Pet

how to perform the heimlich maneuver on a pet
How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver on a Pet

Most people know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a person or child, but many with pets at home aren’t aware that this can also be performed on a choking pet as well! Here’s how to help . . .


Be aware that while you may realize that you’re attempting to help your pet, your pet might see this as an attack on him/herself and attempt to defend themselves when they are already in distress. Remember to talk to your pet throughout the entire process in an effort to calm them with your voice. Keep your voice steady, if possible.

There are 4 steps you can try:

A. Head Facing downward like a wheelbarrow. Lift the dog by his rear legs to facilitate the object coming out.

B. Sweep from side to side in the animals mouth to dislodge the object.

C. Compress the abdomen by pushing upwards with your fist, much like the human Heimlich maneuver.

D. If the animals head is positioned downward a sharp blow between the shoulder blades will often dislodge an object.


If the animal is TOO Heavy to Lift and is Unconscious:

1. Open their mouth and check for an object, grasp the tongue and pull it forward gently while sweeping with your finger to try to dislodge the object. (Careful, you can still get bitten).

2. If you cannot get the object lay the animal on it’s right side.

3. Kneel down (facing the dogs legs) and put your palm over your fist just behind the dogs ribs, push in and up rapidly giving 5 abdominal thrusts.

4. Check the animals mouth again, sweeping, use a penlight if possible to view the object and remove it.
5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 if necessary until the object is dislodged

6. Once the object is dislodged, give 4 breaths to the snout to get the animal breathing, (watch your face, when it comes to it may be snappy).

7. Get the animal to the vet immediately.



© Can Stock Photo Inc. / spyder2

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About Liss 4170 Articles
Melissa Burnell, known to her friends and fans as "Liss," grew up in Southern Maine, now residing in sunny South Carolina. As a busy Wife, Mother of two sons, an avid photographer, and self-employed entrepreneur, Liss understands the value of both time and money.


  1. This is very good information, especially if you give your dog rawhides. Because of my dog trying to inhale the last “little” piece, she has gotten a piece stuck in the very back of her throat 3 separate times, and I had to do the mouth sweep to dislodge it each time. Because of this we have stopped giving her rawhides!

    Thank you for posting!

  2. I saw this a couple weeks ago and although I read it I really didn’t think much about it. My dog was choking today on a piece of rawhide and my kids were crying and hollering and I remembered this article and was applied the technique and the rawhide came out.

    thank you for showing me how to save my dog, i am forever grateful.

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