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CPR for Puppies and Kittens

How do I perform newborn puppy CPR? In this Vet Minute, Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, talks about kitten and puppy CPR and how to help a newborn puppy that is not breathing.

Newborn Puppy CPR

What Do You Do If a Puppy Is Not Breathing?

If you have a newborn puppy or kitten that isn’t breathing, performing CPR may be necessary. If a puppy or kitten isn’t breathing time is of the essence. To perform CPR, first clear their airway with a DeLee Mucus Trap and a bulb syringe. Then watch for breathing and feel or listen with a stethoscope for a heartbeat. If they have a heartbeat but are not breathing, ventilate the puppy with a bulb syringe or mouth to mouth breathing. If they also do not have a heartbeat, perform chest compressions with your thumb and index fingers alternating with mouth to mouth breathing.

Can You Do Chest Compressions on a Puppy?

When it comes to chest compressions on a newborn puppy, Dr. Greer notes, having success with chest compressions on a puppy or kitten is tricky. She recommends before attempting chest compressions, to first clear the airway and ventilate the puppy with a bulb syringe or mouth to mouth breathing. If the puppy still does not have a heartbeat and mouth to mouth breathing hasn’t worked, chest compressions are an option. Greer recommends 120 compressions a minute using your thumb and index fingers. A tip is to give compressions to the beat of the song “Stayin alive, Stayin alive.”

If you need help with kitten or puppy CPR, call us at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Marty Greer, DVM

Director of Veterinary Services

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.