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Discussion Starter #1
We had a scary moment this afternoon.

Rumo was eating a dried beef trachea, and he started choking/hacking. His face looked alarmed.
Eventually he "fixed" it and settled down, but I realized that I didn't know what to do!

Is there a Heinlich maneuver for dogs?
Will he bite me if I reach into his mouth/throat to try to grab the piece that got stuck?
Is there a recommended video/tutorial to watch?

( PS He's had many of those, and never choked on one before. )
 

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There is a protocol for dog chocking. It's very much the same as for humans. I have the pet first aid app on my phone and has instructions for chocking.
Ziva has several times gotten small sticks stuck horizontally in the roof of her mouth. When it happens she seeks us out and we see her distress. She always lets us reach in her mouth to help her. I feel like our dogs trust us to help them when the are in distress and not likely to bite intentionally.
 

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When choking gets brought up, there's one thing I like to make GSD owners aware of. One of the most common causes of choking for large dogs is a dog getting a tennis ball stuck in the throat. They are just the right diameter to block a dog's airway, and needless to say, by the time you get the animal to the vet, it's going to be dead. DO NOT let a large dog play with tennis balls! I like the balls that come with chuck-it sticks, as they have holes in them that you can put a cord through. This serves a double purpose: it gives you more oomph when throwing the ball, and if the ball does get stuck in the dog's throat, you can grab the cord and pull it free. The holes in the ball also help prevent suffocation.

Dogs WILL bite when in distress, don't fool yourself. If you think you can reach the stuck object, I'd get someone to hold the dog's jaws apart.

For a blocked airway, the Heimlich maneuver is very similar to the one used for humans: make a fist of both hands, place it just under the ribcage, and push in and up. How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs if Your Dog Is Choking

I don't remember where I read this, or I'd provide a link, but I do recall a vet saying that a stuck ball can sometimes be dislodged by pressing upwards and forward at the very back of the dog's lower jaw, from outside the mouth. This may move the obstruction forward enough that it's no longer blocking the trachea.
 

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My girl once got a stick stuck at the back of her mouth, it was perfectly wedged. She started freaking out pacing around and desperately pawing at her head and making retching faces really aggressively, I was instantly totally panicked! I did try to look in her mouth since I trust her, she is not a biter at all. However, she was so panicked I could not physically keep her still. I grabbed her and brought her to my husband, she was still freaking out but he managed to hold her somewhat still while I got in her mouth and retrieved the piece of wood. Thankfully! It would have been a very scary trip to the vet otherwise!!
 

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Getting bit is low concern versus a dead dog. Use one or two fingers to sweep the mouth or if that produces nothing do the Heimlich.
I grab the top of the mouth in my left and lift up. Sweep with my right. And no mercy or hesitation. Had a few dogs over the years choke on me. Learned the hard way that quick and decisive is best in a situation. Panick later.
 

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Both regular pliers and needle nose pliers can be very helpful depending on where and what is stuck.
 

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Daisy was eating a hip bone, and got the "ball'; part of the joint free and stuck in her throat. She hacked, nothing, she started drooling, badly, not passing much air, and before I had another thought, my fingers were down her throat, flicked the ball up and she was able to cough it out, all without biting my hand. I pill my dogs, and check their teeth often, so it wasn't a shock that I had my hand in a mouth, I'd have preferred getting bit and saving her, to not getting bit and having her die. ANY day.

I had to do this with one of my geese once, he swallowed a big apple chunk, you could see it half way down his long beautiful throat. Same deal, I worked it up his neck til it was in the back of his throat, was able to grasp it and dig it out. He didn't hate me either. Briefly thought about how to do a Heimlich on a dog, but what I did worked. I'd have done chest compressions if things had gone any worse with either of them...wasn't sure how you'd do it so I'm happy my way worked.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks all, this is all really helpful!
I have a better idea of my options next time!

I think plan A would be to have husband hold Rumo's jaws while I try to get the object out by hand or with forceps, and if it's in too deep, then Plan B will be to try the method Sabismom posted, or the Heinlich. Plan C would be to pop him in the car and drive very fast to the vet!

( Yea, I get wimpy about my hands because I'm a pretty devoted musician...
I'm like, bite a chunk out of my thigh, sure! But...not the hands! :)
 

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Thank you, Sabre's Mom! That's the technique I mentioned above, the one I couldn't find a link for! YES!!
Thanks for that, would work incredibly well as long as the dog's unconscious, or like my goose Frank, not inclined to bite the hand that saved him. ;)
I'm a nurse and owned dogs and horses all my long life, but I'd be a frantic, terrified mess waiting for my dogs or geese to fall unconscious! It's a perfect technique. Once they lose consciousness, there's no fight or bite. Everything relaxes, making retrieval of the object WAY easier. but they are that much closer to death, too. The ABCs of first aid- are Airway, Breathing, Circulation- A,B,C. Doesn't matter if the heart's beating and there's no breathe, the heart will stop.

Daisy's 8 months old now, this happened a couple months ago. I wouldn't put my fingers in any other dog's mouths, other than my own although there is a specific place in the jaws of both horses and dogs where you can safely put your fingers in, it's how we put bits in their mouths and medicate horses, and how we open the jaws to pill a dog. Incidentally--if a person ever bites you-- there's the similar spot in a human to release their jaws! I've had to use it, to get a crazy biting human off my 3 fingers. Got some hair raising psychiatric stories, that one left me with permanent damage in three fingers. I'd rather put my hand in a dog's jaws!

I pulled this off the web, showing where you can open a dog's mouth, to pill them. I do not own the dog or the image.
 

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For a stick or something lodged in the throat I like the plyers idea- small and long enough to get in to do the job. Luna once had a stick stuck in the roof of her mouth at the throat. I did not see it but she was choking and my hand could not reach down I her throat. She let me put my hand in her mouth I knew she would give me no issue. I was panicking then she settled down. I wound up driving really fast to the vet where they removed the stick. They have some suction kit I saw once I think for kids and dogs. Balls I only like anything large and with a little bit of flexibility.
 

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One of my first weeks with Willow, I'd given her this thing called an Oinker stick or something (made by Hertz) and she choked on a bit of it. It was scary. She stood up and started making these awful choky noises. I wasn't quite sure what to do but I went over to her and kinda squeezed her sternum upward in a gentle but firm way, trying to mimick a Heimlich thing. I dunno if that worked or if she worked it out on her own, but she stopped choking.

Yeah...don't want to do that again. It was a small piece and I don't know if trying to get it out with my finger would have done anything.

Willow's notoriously bad at eating things. We have small training bites we use on walks and she just inhales them, then coughs them up 10 seconds later and eats them again. Hopefully too small for her to really choke on, but I try not to give them to her when she's really excited.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yea, I was thinking that one simple change to make, would be to give him the trachea chews when he's not too hungry.
Hopefully he would chew more leisurely instead of biting chunks off and swallowing them!
 
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