Your dog is a part of your family, so clearly you would do anything you could to help them out in an emergency situation. That’s what Katy Perry’s assistant did when she performed CPR on the singer’s dog, Nugget—and she’s (rightfully) being called a hero for it.
Perry posted a series of videos on Instagram Stories about her assistant Tamra, who she says saved Nugget’s life. “Nugget jumped and fell off the bed and became unresponsive and I gave her CPR. I pushed on her little chest and blew in her mouth and I brought her back to life,” Tamra explains in one clip, as reported by People. Tamra even demonstrated how she performed CPR on Nugget, performing chest compressions with her fingers on Nugget’s teeny chest.
According to Perry, Nugget blacked out for three minutes after her fall. She apparently took Nugget to the vet after her health scare, because Perry posted photos of Nugget with a bandage on her leg after getting an IV and her X-ray.
If the videos are any indication, little Nugget is now doing OK.
CPR is a potentially life-saving tool whether you're performing it on people or pets.
CPR—cardio pulmonary resuscitation—can be useful when a pet is unresponsive and has no heartbeat, Edward Cooper, V.M.D., head of service for the clinical small animal emergency and critical care at the Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Clinical Services, tells SELF.
Pet CPR involves a similar pattern of chest compressions that's done in humans to revive someone who's gone into cardiac arrest, but the technique is modified a little for dogs and cats. It usually involves a series of chest compressions and breathing to try to circulate blood and air through the body when the pet can’t do it on its own, Tim Hackett, D.V.M., Hospital Director of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, tells SELF.
“If the dog truly stops breathing, it can be lifesaving,” Dr. Hackett says. Just make sure your pet actually needs this and isn't just, you know, sleeping. Otherwise they might try to bite you when you’re attempting to “save” their life, he says.
You can take a class to become officially certified in pet CPR, or you can also learn it on your own.
Knowing how to perform CPR for your pet is part of being able to give them proper first aid. To perform CPR on your dog or cat, follow these steps from the American Red Cross. But even if your pet starts breathing again on their own, you should get them to the hospital to get checked out, Dr. Hackett says.
First, check their breathing and heartbeat. You should easily be able to feel your dog’s heartbeat when you lay your hand on the left side of their chest, just behind their front leg, Dr. Hackett says.
If there's no heartbeat, it's time to start CPR with chest compressions. The exact procedure will be different depending on the size and anatomy of your pet.
For instance, if your dog or cat is small, you should place the heel of one of your hands directly over the pet’s heart and place your other hand directly over the first hand. But if you have a deep-chested dog, place the heel of one hand over the widest part of their chest and place your other hand directly over your first hand. And if your dog has a barrel chest, make sure your dog is on its back before putting one hand over the widest part of their sternum. Your other hand directly should go directly on top of your first hand.
Then, start pushing. Make sure your shoulders are directly above your hands and your elbows are locked. You want to be pushing hard and fast, and you should aim to perform 20 compressions at a rate between 100 and 120 compressions in every minute. Make sure that your pet's chest compresses between one third and one half of its width each time and allow it to return before you compress again.
Start rescue breaths. Gently close your pet’s mouth and extend their neck to open up their airway. Then cover their nose with your mouth and exhale until you see their chest rise. Perform one more rescue breath before returning to compressions.
Do chest compressions again. Keep alternating between sets of 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths until your pet starts breathing on their own again.
Check for a heartbeat. Try to quickly check for a heartbeat every two minutes while doing CPR.
You’ll want to keep doing CPR until you can get your pet to a veterinary hospital if they're still not responsive, Dr. Cooper says. So, you may have to have someone else drive, if possible.
If you have a dog or cat, it’s a pretty good idea to learn how to do this. The Red Cross offers an online course, or you can talk to your vet for one-on-one counseling during your next well visit, Dr. Hackett says.