Thinking about emergencies is the last thing anyone wants to do, but being a responsible dog parent or caregiver means you have to be prepared for unforeseen incidents you hope never happen. And because dogs have a propensity for chewing and eating random things, choking isn’t unusual. But do you know what to do in the event your dog chokes?
Like her veterinary medicine colleagues, Dr. Kristie Williams of West Hills Animal Hospital in Long Island, New York, wants you to be prepared if your dog ever chokes. Through an interview with Inside Edition, she shows dog parents how to use the XXT or external extraction technique to save dogs from choking to death.
How To Save Your Dog From Choking
While chewing on toys or other materials can cause choking in dogs, random accidents can also lead to blocked airways. Take two-year-old Pit Bull mix Hansel, for example. Hansel and his parents, Kelly Skinner and her fiancé, were playing catch with a regular ball when the ball suddenly lodged in the dog’s throat.
“He started turning blue,” Kelly told Inside Edition. “At one point, I thought he’d die.”
Hansel’s parents rushed him to West Hills, where Dr. Williams and her team met them and performed a quick move that popped the ball out of Hansel’s throat. She told Inside Edition the remarkable move was one she learned from a training video.
“The term that was coined for this is the external extraction technique, and it’s essentially a similar type of Heimlich kind of thing,” explained Dr. Williams.
The simple technique can save lives, and Dr. Williams wants all dog parents to learn how to perform the XXT technique.
Here’s how to perform the external extraction technique if your dog is choking:
- Place the unconscious dog on their back. Brace their back against the floor. Straddle the dog. Position the head to straighten the airway.
- Identify the trachea (ringed tube), ball location, and mandible (v-shaped jaw bone). Make an open diamond shape with your hands.
- Place your thumbs on either side of the trachea below the ball or object. Grip the “V” of the jaw using the lip/cheek to protect your fingers.
- Push with a J-stroke down and out against the ball until it ejects from the mouth.
Keep An Eye On Your Dog & Their Toys
But don’t let this tale deter you and your pup from playing with balls. Dr. Williams just wants you to remember safety when it comes to toys, explaining, “I think that no matter what you do with your animal, you just have to be smart and safe about it.”
By the way, just twenty minutes before Hansel’s emergency arrival, Dr. Williams had to use the same technique to save a choking Doberman. And thanks to Dr. Williams’s quick action, both dogs are alive and happy today.