I performed a heimlich maneuver on my dog today

Sounds a little funny in the title; it wasn’t while it was happening.

My fourteen-year-old pug has had most of her teeth pulled, but she still manages fine on dry dog food - up until now. This morning she started choking while eating her kibble, then fell over on her side and her tongue started to turn blue. She wasn’t breathing. I remembered a poster showing how to give the heimlich maneuver to a baby, and figuring that a pug was pretty much the size of a human baby, arranged her on my arm, head downwards and butt upwards. I thumped her several times between the shoulder blades, and she gagged up four or five kibble and then started gasping for air. Thank the god of canines I was there watching her eat.

From now on, she gets canned Mighty Dog.

Good for you!! I prefer the Hamlisch maneuver myself, When someone chokes on something, just sing “The Way We Were” till they throw it up.

(P.S. that book’s on its way, Pug!)

Yeah, it’d probably been all of a day since she’d given one to herself.
Glad she’s better, you hero you. :slight_smile:

… the Hamlisch maneuver!!!

I love it! I’m about choking over that and I’m not even eating anything!!!
And - glad the puppy’s OK!!

Oh, you said “heimlich”.



I’m no hero; just a shaken, terrified dog mom acting on instinct. What threatens an elderly dog should be heart attacks and strokes, not a couple of wretched dog kibble. BTW, two minutes after coming back to life, she was wagging her tail and eating the rest of her breakfast (while mom clutched her own heart and gasped for breath).

N.B., I also posted this here to let you guys know that should your dog or cat choke, it’s good to know how to do this.

Reading back over this, I realize how terrifying that must have been for you. Really am glad everything turned out okay and that you were there when she needed you the most.

My mom saved our old dog twice using the Heimlich maneuver. Perhaps out of self-preservation, for a while Abby used to follow my mom everywhere–into the laundry room, through the kitchen, even to the bathroom (fortunately for decency’s sake Abby would wait outside the door until Mom was done). I guess Abby figured that she never knew when she would start choking and it would be safer if Mom was close by…


How would you perform the Heimlich on a larger dog? Say, 50 pounds or so?

My guess would be the standard adult human way.

I had to do it to a cat I had once. At first I thought it was just a hairball, but he couldn’t get it out. It ended up being a piece of a milk ring that he always played with.

I have a bitch who’s too dainty to piss on wet grass, prefering the laundry room floor. Apparently she doesn’t like the wet blades touching her privates–can’t much blame her there. If she’s acting like that I do a Heimlich slightly lower, over her bladder. It really pisses her off, but she goes.

"I have a bitch who’s too dainty to piss on wet grass . . . "

—HEY! I thought I had talked to you about calling me a bitch!

Since when are you MY bitch. I thought I was YOURS.

Ack how scary!!!
I remember once when Dominic was an infant… we had brown carpeting the EXACT color of a penny… and so I didn’t see the penny on the floor and the next thing I knew I heard choking… turned him over and smacked his back and a penny flew out of his throat…

I am glad that we are often there when these things happen… someone lookin’ out for us, I suppose.

Large dogs can indeed be “Heimliched” the same way as a human. If they are down, it’s easier to do if you put them on a table first. Here’s a site with some instructions:


Glad to hear everything’s ok, pugluvr!

I have got to remember that phrase. It just screams to be used against human targets.

My sister had to do the Heimlich on a big Great Dane mix once - I think it was pretty much like the human version; you find the soft bits just past the sternum and give a big squeeze.

Where’s Cyndar when you need her? Vet tech advice is always helpful.

Wow! You really kept your cool! Well done!

Good for you, pugluvr. My 15 year old schnauzer had the same problem with his food until I switched him to soft food, mushed up really well with water.

Pet owners might want to check with their local Red Cross chapter. The Cross came out with a pet first aid program a couple of years ago, and it goes into problems both medical and traumatic, as well as stuff like how to convince your animal to take their medicine, how to improvise a muzzle for cats and dogs both, etc etc. A very good course, and it only takes an afternoon to do.