First aid and emergency care for your dog
Accident, whether you like it or not, are inevitable. And this circumstances also happen to dogs. In case a medical emergency takes place to your pet dog, you might be unsure of what you should do and may even find it difficult to make rational decisions, most especially if it happens during the middle of the night. During this dire situations, it is essential to have an emergency plan in place.
Finding a 24-hour emergency care
It is best that you consult your veterinarian regarding emergency protocol. Does your vet provide 24-hour service or does he/she work with an emergency clinic in the area? There are some clinics which have several veterinarians on staff who rotate on-call services after office hours. You can check to see if your primary care vet has other partners who might answer an emergency call. It is also advisable to keep the name, number and address of your local emergency clinic placed at the door of your fridge or stored in your mobile phone for easy access.
When does your dog need emergency care?
Your dog may need emergency care due to a severe trauma caused by a fall or an accident, such as heatstroke, choking, insect sting, household poisoning, and other life-threatening situation.
Signs that your dog needs emergency care
- rapid breathing
- pale gums
- rapid or weak pulse
- difficulty in standing
- excessive bleeding
- apparent paralysis
- change in body temperature
- loss of consciousness
What to do when your dog needs emergency care?
Severely injured dogs may act aggressively towards their masters, so it is essential that you protect yourself from such injury that may be caused by your pet. What you need to do is to remain calm, then approach your dog slowly, then kneel down and say his name. In the event that your pup shows aggression, it’s time that you call for help. However, if your dog is passive, you can proceed to getting a makeshift stretcher and gently lifting him onto it. Make sure that you support his neck and back in case your pet has suffered from a spinal injury. Once you already feel confident about transporting your dog safely, bring him to an emergency care facility right away. It is also best to ask a family member or a friend to call the clinic and give them a heads up, so the staff will be expecting you and your dog.
First aid treatments you can perform on your dog
Most accidents and emergencies need immediate veterinary attention, but doing some first aid may help stabilize your pet before transportation. Below are some of the first aid you can do:
- If your pup is suffering from an external bleeding because of trauma, you can elevate and apply pressure to the wound.
- If your pup is choking, try placing your fingers in his mouth to see if you can remove the object blocking his throat.
- In case you cannot remove the foreign object blocking his throat, you can try doing a modified Heimlich maneuver by giving a sharp rap to his chest, which will help dislodge the foreign object.
Should you perform a CPR?
This type of emergency care may be necessary once you have removed the object that caused your pet to be choked, but he is still unconscious. First thing you need to do is to check if your pet is still breathing. If not, place him on his side and do an artificial respiration by extending his head and neck, holding his jaws closed and blowing air into his nostrils once every three seconds. Make sure that no air escapes between your mouth and your pet’s nose. In case you don’t feel a heartbeat, include a cardiac massage while doing an artificial respiration — three quick, firm chest compressions for every respiration — until your dog resumes breathing on his own.