Dog First Aid

Keeping a dog healthy and safe should be a high priority for any responsible dog owner. Sometimes this means being prepared for an emergency. Even in non-life threatening emergencies, it is best to call your veterinarian first to get guidance. He or she knows your pet and will give specific advice. Otherwise, there are several basic first aid techniques that an owner should become familiar with. First, remember that even a loyal family pet will bite when it is in pain. You may need to muzzle the dog to protect both of you. A soft cloth around the muzzle or around the head will work. Bleeding: For minor wounds or abrasions, clean the area and trim hair if needed. Bandage lightly to prevent licking. For severe bleeding, check for foreign objects and remove these. Apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or bandage for at least 10 minutes. Elevate the wound area. As soon as the bleeding is under control, call your veterinarian and transport the dog immediately. Fracture: If you suspect a broken bone, you need to immobilize the area with a splint. Do not attempt to straighten the limb or move the bone in any way. Treat bleeding as above, and watch for shock. Call the veterinarian and transport the dog immediately. Shock: A severely injured animal can go into shock. The signs are irregular breathing, dilated pupils, pale gums, general weakness, and confusion. Keep the animal warm and quiet. Elevate the lower limbs if possible. Call your veterinarian immediately. Heat stroke: Symptoms include panting, temp over 105F (rectally), weakness, disorientation, rapid pulse and breathing. Get the dog into the shade or a creek if possible. Bath it with cool (not iced) water. Ice wrapped in a towel can be placed under the arms and in the groin area. Be careful not to cool the animal too quickly. Call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Poisoning: Symptoms can include vomiting, convulsions or spasms, collapse, weakness or pain. Call your veterinarian or poison center before inducing vomiting. Try to bring a sample of the substance with you to the animal hospital. Choking: With help (as the dog will bite), check in the throat for the object. You may try to remove object with tweezers or pliers; be careful not to push the object further into the throat. If the dog cannot breathe, transport it immediately to veterinarian. Apply quick and firm pressure to both sides of the rib cage. Alternatively, place head lower than body and ?pump? the chest. Continue until object dislodges or you arrive at the hospital. Many serious injuries involve vehicle accidents. If the animal cannot move on its own, try to slide a board or other flat object under it before moving. There may be any combination of injuries as described above. Apply first aid and transport the dog to the nearest animal emergency facility. Average normal for dogs: Gums ? press on the gum over the canine tooth. The color should return in less than a second. Mouth ? Generally pink, but varies by breed. Temperature ? 101 to 102 F. Pulse (at rest) ? puppies about 110-120 bpm, large dog 60-80 bpm, small dog 80-120 bpm. Breathing ? puppy 20-25, adult 14-16 per minute. Hydration ? gently pinch a fold of skin. It should return to original state within one second. Know what is normal for your pet. Note activity level, condition of eyes, and find your pet?s norm for the values above. This way, you can better assess when something is wrong.

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