Electric shock, poisoning, smoke inhalation or drowning can all cause a dog to stop breathing. Signs of respiratory distress include blue or pale colored gums, labored breathing, a staring expression and unconsciousness with dilated pupils. If the problem is caused by something other than an obstruction in the air passages and the dog is not breathing or has very shallow breathing, perform artificial respiration. (If heartbeat has also stopped, administer CPR.)
An unconscious dog may become aggressive when it revives. Apply a dog muzzle -- always. You can use a strip of gauze, a strip of sheet, a necktie or even a sock. Wrap the cloth around the snout and tie under the jaw. Pull the ends back on each side of the dog's neck and tie behind the head. If the dog starts to vomit, remove the muzzle and reapply when he is finished.
How to perform artificial respiration:
- Lay the dog on its side. If there is no back or neck injury, pull the head and neck forward.
- Open the dog's mouth and pull the tongue forward so it does not block the throat. Clear any debris with your fingers and close the dog's mouth. Recheck the pulse.
- Hold the dog's mouth and lips closed. Apply a muzzle.
- Inhale and put your mouth over the dog's nose forming an airtight seal. Exhale.
- Remove your mouth and allow the dog's chest to deflate.
- Repeat the process 10 to 15 times per minute.
- If color of gums improves and the dog starts to fight the procedure, breathing is improving.