Do NOT begin chest compressions UNTIL you’ve secured an airway and started rescue breathing.

  • Gently lay your Saint Bernard on its right side on a firm surface. The heart is located in the lower half of the chest on the left side, just behind the elbow of the front left leg. Place one hand underneath the Saint Bernard’s chest for support and place the other hand over the heart.
  • Large Saint Bernard dog: press down gently on your dog’s heart about one inch for medium-sized dogs; press harder for larger animals and with less force for smaller animals.
  • To massage the hearts of puppies and newborns, cradle your hand around the animal’s chest so your thumb is on the left side of the chest and your fingers are on the right side of the chest, and compress the chest by squeezing it between your thumb and fingers.
  • Press down 80-120 times per minute for larger animals and 100-150 times per minute for smaller ones.
  • Don’t perform rescue breathing and chest compressions at the same exact time; alternate the chest compressions with the rescue breaths, or work as a team with another person so one person performs chest compressions for 4-5 seconds and stops long enough to allow the other person to give one rescue breath.
  • Continue until you can hear a heartbeat and your Saint Bernard is breathing regularly, or you have arrived at the veterinary clinic and they can take over the resuscitation attempts.

Please remember that your Saint Bernard’s likelihood of surviving with resuscitation is very low. However, in an emergency it may give your dog its only chance.

*Always remember that any first aid administered to your Saint Bernard should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your Saint Bernard’s life until it receives veterinary treatment.

Brenda McWhorter
Health Committee
December, 2013