If you witness your dog collapse or find them collapsed, the first thing to do is to assess if they are conscious and breathing.
Fortunately, true cardiac and respiratory arrest in dogs is extremely uncommon, so CPR is rarely indicated.
If you do find your dog in this tragic situation, begin performing CPR while another person gets on the phone with the closest veterinary clinic. Generally speaking, if collapse persists, it is better to spend your time getting to the nearest emergency animal hospital rather than performing CPR.
In the vast majority of collapse cases, your dog will be breathing and conscious (or very briefly unconscious before they come to). Your job involves staying calm and safely transporting your dog into a vehicle and towards the closest veterinary hospital (bonus if it is an emergency hospital which will be even better equipped to help you in a timely fashion).
Even if your dog seems to get back to normal within a few seconds or minutes, it is best to get your pet evaluated to find out why it happened. Try to make notes about the events leading up to the collapse (ex. Were they exercising? How did they act after regaining consciousness? These will be helpful for your vet as they work on figuring out the cause.
If your dog is actively seizing, give them a couple of minutes to come out of the seizure before trying to transport them. Seizing dogs presents a safety risk to themselves and you, especially when trying to transport them. Big towels or blankets are useful to help transport them.
Setting a timer on your watch or phone can be helpful in these situations‒‒ often 30 seconds can feel like 30 minutes! If your dog continues to seize for up to five minutes, then call your veterinarian and work on getting your pet transferred there promptly.
- All cases of collapse should be seen by a vet ASAP.
- Be careful transporting a collapsed dog, especially if they suffered a seizure, as they may be confused and bite.
- If a dog is seizing, give them a couple of minutes to come out of it before trying to move them.
- Make notes of the events leading up to and after the collapse.