Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course here. Or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

With pets, similarly, with humans, you have a recovery position. Now, the idea of it is to lay them down so that they are safe. Their airway is maintained, and also you can look after them much, much easier. The first thing you need to do is lay them down on their right-hand side, same as we would with CPR. The reason for this is it makes it a lot less pressure on the heart, and also if you did have to go in to do CPR, the dog is on the right-hand side already, so it makes much, much easier. It depends on whether the dog is conscious or not. You can use this position if they are conscious, but also if they are unconscious.

The next main thing is making sure the airway is open. What we are doing with that, is just tilting the head back slightly, get hold of the tongue, you might want to just hold a bit of gauze or a bit of cloth just to hold the tongue, if you cannot grip it in your fingers, and just pull it very slightly to one side if it is unconscious. If it is conscious, obviously, you need to make sure the airway is open, and you need to maintain that the whole time.

The next thing you need to do is to keep monitoring them. So, what we are looking at is all the different basic life support signs, so first off, breathing, the most important thing we are doing. If we monitor the breathing, because it may well be that you put the dog nice and safely, and then it stops breathing. And if you are not watching for its breathing, valuable seconds or minutes could be lost. So, keep an eye on it, you can just pop your hand gently on its chest and feel its breathing very easily. Also, even if it is unconscious, keep stroking, and talking to the dog, so to reassure it.

Next thing we want to do is check its temperature. So, while you keep checking the breathing, and that you can do some other checks. You can look at temperature, if you have got a gauge, you can test it. If not, just look for changes in temperature. We can also at this stage, again while keeping calm and talking to it, loosening of the collar, or removing the collar or a harness if it is wearing one. Collars and harnesses can restrict breathing, so by undoing them, you make it a little bit easier.

Next one is, depending on what has happened, is give a check over the whole body. Now if it has just become unconscious, then it maybe has not injured itself, but even so, it is good to check the body. We can check its limbs. We can check its body but also things like around its stomach. Is the stomach starting to swell? Or are there any other problems? Is there any discharge? Maybe discharge from the eyes or the mouth or the nose, or check around its back end, if any discharge is there. So, while it is in this position, you can control it and keep it calm, and you can also get it ready for their transport to a vet, or maybe this position is also very good after something like a seizure. So, you can lay them down and keep them nice and calm and laying as described below.

The recovery position is a lifesaver with human first aid and there is a similar version for pets.

  • Lay on right side
  • Straighten head and neck
  • Place tongue forward and to one side to allow vomit to leave
  • Remove collar or harness
  • Check pulse and breathing
  • Check for injury 
  • Check temperature
  • Check limbs
  • Check consciousness levels 
  • Check gum colours etc
  • Check for unusual odour, head, rear and something's skin