Dogs love to eat and chew just about anything, and sometimes they may end up eating or chewing an object that is very dangerous to their health. Perhaps it's a piece of a tennis ball, a sock, a chicken wing bone, or a rawhide chew, but that moment where they seem to be blissfully chewing away can turn deadly in a heartbeat.
What should you do if a foreign object lodges in your dog's throat and he begins to choke? As with humans in these circumstances, you should perform the Heimlich maneuver on your dog.
So what are the signs of choking in a dog? One sign of obstruction is if your dog's gums or tongue is bluish in color, instead of a nice, healthy pink. The dog may also be pawing at his face and won't be able to make noise because of the obstruction in his throat.
First, open your dog's mouth and sweep the back of his throat with your finger to remove anything that may be stuck there. However, if the foreign object is too far back in the dog's throat to remove with your fingers, then you need to attempt the Heimlich maneuver.
There are two methods of performing the Heimlich maneuver on a dog. One way is to lay the dog down on his side and make a quick thrust over the widest part of his chest with both hands intertwined together. With luck, this action will dislodge the object from the dog's throat.
Because the object won't come out of the dog's mouth on its own, you will need to do a sweep of the dog's mouth again with your fingers to take the object out.
The second method is particularly useful for larger dogs and mimics how people perform the Heimlich maneuver on other human beings. Position yourself behind the dog, lift him up so he is sitting back on his haunches, then make a fist underneath the dog's sternum.
Again use a quick, upward and forward thrust with both hands followed by a sweep of the dog's mouth to locate any loosened objects.
Even if you successfully remove the object from your dog's throat, you should still take him to your veterinarian for a full checkup to be sure that no further complications have occurred. Additionally, do what you can to keep tempting foreign objects out of the reach of your dog.
Check out the video below as Andrew Linklater of Animal Emergency Center & Specialty Services and his canine friend demonstrate the two ways to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a dog. Be sure to share this critical information and video with all the dog lovers in your life.