How to Resuscitate Your Dog if His Heart Stops Beating

A dog’s breathing and heartbeat can suddenly stop after being in a traffic accident, drowning, poisoning, or from shock. When this happens, it is crucial to administer an immediate cardiac massage as well as artificial respiration in order to save his life.

As soon as you notice that he has stopped breathing, have someone help you call the vet for advice while doing your best to resuscitate the dog. It is very important to get oxygen rich blood to the brain as quickly as possible to prevent brain damage.

The dog’s heart needs to be restarted within a few minutes in order for him to survive. If you are not sure whether or not the dog is breathing, press your ear firmly on his chest and listen for a heartbeat. Once you hear a heartbeat, you may go ahead and begin mouth-to-nose resuscitation. However, if you cannot hear the heartbeat, then you need to start administering cardiac arrest immediately.

dog first aid
Photo: Openverse

Mouth-To-Nose Resuscitation

When starting the mouth-to-nose resuscitation, have the dog lie down on its side, making sure that the neck is stretched forward. Clear any obstructions from the mouth and pull the tongue forward. If you see any damage to the nose, an unconscious dog will breathe through the mouth and the tongue may block its breathing.

  • While keeping his neck as straight as possible, cup his nose with your hands and breathe into the nostrils for about three seconds to inflate the lungs.
  • Observe the chest to make sure that it has expanded. Pause for 2 seconds and then repeat the process.
  • Check to make sure that the heart is still beating by feeling behind the dog’s elbow with your hand or by placing your ear on the dog’s chest to listen for a heartbeat.

As long as the heart is beating, keep on administering the mouth-to-nose resuscitation until the dog is able to breath on his own.

Cardiac Massage

If the dog’s heart stops beating, you need to start administering cardiac massage right away.

  • Begin by placing the heel of your hand just behind the dog’s elbow on the left side of his chest.
  • Place your other hand on top then firmly press both hands down and forward toward the brain. By doing this, you are squeezing blood out of his heart and into the brain.
  • Repeat the procedure 6 times at 1 second intervals.
  • After you have finished with the 6 cardiac massage, give 1 breath of mouth-to-nose resuscitation.
  • Continue alternating until the heart starts beating, then you may start resuscitating.


  • John Edwards

    The guest author is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast with years of experience in canine care and training. With a deep understanding of dog behavior and a commitment to promoting responsible pet ownership, the author shares insightful tips and engaging stories to enrich the lives of both dogs and their owners.

    View all posts