When Your Pet Doesn’t Have A Heartbeat

If your pet doesn't have a heartbeat, the first thing you need to do is check their airway to make sure that it is not blocked, and start rescue breathing. After you do that, you can attend to the issue of their heart.

Lay Your Pet On Their Side

The first thing you need to do is position your pet's body correctly, so you can help them out. Lay your pet on its right side, and make sure that your pet is lying on a firm surface.

Pets' hearts are located on the lower left side. Their heart is just behind the front left leg and near the lower half of their chest. To support your pet, put a hand under the pet's chest, and put your other head over their heart.


If your dog's heart is not beating, you are going to want to take your hand and push down gently on their heart. You are going to want to push down about an inch on their heart before releasing it. You will need to press a little harder for a large dog and a little softer for a smaller dog.


For cats, you are going to position your hand so that the thumb is on their left side and the rest of your fingers are on the right side of their chest. You are going to want to compress by squeezing your thumbs and fingers.

Beats Per Minute

If you are dealing with a puppy, they have very rapid heartbeats, around 160 to 200 beats per minutes, so you will want to give them rapid compressions. If you are dealing with an adult dog, their average heart rate is around 60 to 140 beats per minutes. The larger your dog, the slower their heart rate. So for a really big dog, you can administer compressions a little slower than you should for a smaller dog.

For cats, they are more in line with a smaller dog. You want to use quick, rapid compressions for your cat, as well.

Keep in mind that you shouldn't do rescue breathing and chest compressions at the same time. You should alternate between rescue breathing and chest compressions. Continue administering rescue breaths and chest compressions until your animal starts breathing and their heart starts beating on its own, or until you get to the vet's office and someone can assist you with resuscitation efforts.

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