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These are things you should know if you wish to help your dog in an emergency. This article will give you information on what to do if: your dog gets electrocuted, gets stung by a bee, stops breathing, gets into antifreeze plus much more. You may print a copy of this information for your own use (put in your first aid kit).

* Antifreeze poisoning:

If you suspect your dog may have ingested antifreeze, take him to the vet or emergency animal hospital immediately! Immediate treatment is essential to prevent a painful death. Initial signs include excessive thirst and urination, lack of coordination, weakness, nausea, tremors, vomiting, rapid breathing and heart rate, convulsions, diarrhea and paralysis. Not all signs may be evident. The final stages of poisoning are characterized by oral and gastric ulcers and renal failure, followed by death.

Ethylene glycol is the toxic component in antifreeze. Vets have a test kit to confirm the presence of the poison in the body. If positive, ethanol (vodka or wood grain alcohol) or a newer antidote will be administered intravenously. The goal is to prevent the ethylene glycol from metabolizing to its toxic components. Dialysis can be used to remove the ethylene glycol from the blood stream. If you are delayed in getting to the animal hospital, it is often recommended to induce vomiting immediately.

* When to induce vomiting:

For many types of poisoning, it is advised to induce vomiting, soon after ingestion before the chemical can do damage. These include ingestion of arsenic (in rat and mouse poisons), chocolate, insecticides, lead, matches, medications (except tranquilizers), plants, shampoo, shoe polish, slug and snail bait, strychnine and weed killers. However, unless you are stranded somewhere, induce vomiting only under the direction of a vet, physician or poison emergency hotline staff member. It is critical to properly identify the ingested substance.

To induce vomiting in dogs, give the animal household hydrogen peroxide 3% USP by mouth, using a syringe (bulb or 10cc with no needle). Do not try to pour it down his throat. Instead, pull his lips away from the side of the mouth to make a pocket, in which you will deposit the liquid. It is suggested to use 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of body weight, to a maximum of 3 to 4 tablespoons. If he has not vomited after 15 minutes, repeat the dose of hydrogen peroxide one more time.
Activated charcoal is also used to induce vomiting in dogs. It has the ability to absorb and deactivate many toxins, preventing the poisons from reaching the blood stream. Activated charcoal tablets also help when you don't have access to a clean water supply. Mix a tablet of activated charcoal in 2 teaspoons of water. Give 1 teaspoon per 2 pounds body weight and follow with a pint of water.

While syrup of Ipecac has been used to induce vomiting, a growing number of veterinarians, physicians and FDA/public health officials discourage its use for people and animals.
Do not feed salt water or mustard, or stick a finger down the throat; these methods are ineffective and potentially dangerous.

* When NOT to induce vomiting:

Do not induce vomiting if the dog is lethargic, unconscious, convulsing, having a seizure or is in shock. Do not induce vomiting if the dog ingested an acidic or alkaline product such as drain cleaner, household cleansers and paint thinner. Caustic and corrosive substances can burn the throat and stomach on the way back up, compounding the injury. Also, do not induce vomiting for ingestion of tranquilizers, bones, sharp objects or petroleum products such as gasoline or lighter fluid.

* If the ingested substance was gasoline, kerosene, an acid or alkali, or a corrosive: Try to give the dog milk to dilute the toxin in the stomach.

* If you know the substance was an acid: First, rinse the mouth. Then feed the dog Milk of Magnesia or Pepto Bismol using bulb syringe or eyedropper aimed at the back of the mouth. Dose 2 teaspoons per 5 pounds of body weight; this helps neutralize the chemicals and reduce the burn.

* If you know the substance was an alkali: First, rinse the mouth. Then mix a tablespoon of vinegar with a tablespoon of water and feed the mixture to your dog using a bulb syringe or eyedropper aimed at the back of the mouth. An alternate solution is 1 tablespoon lemon juice mixed with 1 teaspoon of sugar. This helps neutralize the chemicals and reduce the burn.
Note: Since dogs lick themselves, they can ingest poisons such as sprays that get on their fur. So be sure to wash the dogs’ fur.

Remember, for any poisoning, get to the vet as soon as possible. Temporary first aid measures alone are not enough.


* Wounds:

Be careful, since a dog in pain may try to bite. Muzzle your dog by using a strip of soft cloth, gauze, rope, necktie or nylon stocking. Gently wrap around the nose, under the chin and tie behind the ears. Do not obstruct breathing. A towel placed around the head will help control small dogs.
Wash your hands if possible to avoid further contamination. Wear gloves if you have them. Carefully check the wound. Clip the fur back as needed to clear the area around the wound. Clean out debris using ample amounts of saline, balanced electrolyte solution or Betadine antibacterial scrub (or Betadine solution diluted with water to the color of tea). If these are not available, use regular water.

After irrigating the wound, apply antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin to the wound.
Note: Do not pour hydrogen peroxide into an open wound; it is better for wounds that have become infected. Do not use alcohol on wounds, as it damages tissue and retards healing.

Wrap open wounds to keep them clean. Make sure bandages are not cutting off circulation; in most cases, it's best to wrap lightly. Change bandages frequently to aid in healing, gently re-apply antibiotic ointment as needed.

As soon as you finish treating the wound, loosen or remove the muzzle. Bite wounds often become infected, so call your veterinarian, who may dispense prescription antibiotics.
Another home remedy for treating wounds: mix 1 teaspoon Epsom salt in 2 cups of warm water and soak to draw out infection.

If the Wound is Bleeding:

Place clean gauze or fabric over the wound and apply firm, direct pressure over the bleeding area until the bleeding stops. For serious bleeding, hold the pressure for at least 10 straight minutes, since continually releasing the pressure to check the wound will hamper clotting. When bleeding stops, continue with the steps in the previous section.

Avoid tourniquets unless absolutely necessary! Apply a tourniquet between the heart and the wound if the bleeding is coming from an artery and on the side away from the heart if it is coming from a vein. Arterial blood is bright red, tends to spurt out with significant force, and pulses with each heart beat as it bleeds. Venous blood (blood from a vein) is dark red and may flow rapidly but does not actually spurt or pulse. Because venous blood is on its way back to the heart from the rest of the body, the tourniquet is applied below or "distal to" the wound, i.e., if the wound is on a leg, the tourniquet is applied on the side closer to the foot. Make the tourniquet just tight enough to stop most of the bleeding. Loosen it every 10 to 15 minutes for 5 to 10 seconds to allow the blood to circulate again into the extremity. You can use almost any cloth, rope, sock, or stocking as a tourniquet, as long as it is long enough to go around the extremity and be tied securely.

* Puncture Wounds:

Clean the wound and the surrounding skin with an antibacterial solution such as Betadine, apply by dabbing with a gauze pad. Use warm damp compresses for puncture wounds, since you want to delay formation of a scab that could seal the infection in under the skin. This will also increase blood flow to the wound area, which aids healing. It is recommended not to bandage over puncture wounds.

* Paw Treatment:

A home remedy for treating paw pad and other wounds: mix iodine and water to the point at which it looks like tea. Add some Epsom salt to clean out the wound and bandage it with gauze. You can also apply Bag Balm to help chaffed and injured paws heal. Put on a dog bootie or small sock to protect injured paw pads.

* Burns (chemical, electrical, or heat):

Symptoms include singed fur, blistering, swelling, redness of skin. Flush burns immediately with lots of cool, running water. Apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not place an ice pack directly on the skin. Instead, wrap the pack in a light towel or cloth.

Neutralize acid on skin by rinsing with a solution of baking soda and water. Neutralize alkali substances with a weak vinegar-water solution. Blot dry, apply antibiotic ointment and tape a gauze dressing loosely around the affected area. Olive oil can also be applied.

Brush off any dry chemicals that are on the skin. Beware; water may activate some dry chemicals.

Call your veterinarian immediately.


Treating burns:

trim fur and dab antibiotic ointment. For wounds larger than a quarter, wrap in wet towels and go to vet to avert risk of infection.

* Choking:

Signs include pawing at the mouth, gagging, gasping, breathing difficulty, odd neck posture, abnormal gum color (blue, gray, white), unconsciousness. Open the mouth and try to pull out the tongue to check for an obstruction. Sweep inside with a finger if you cannot see anything. If you see or feel the object, remove it if you can do this without causing throat trauma.

If you can't clear the airway or the dog is struggling, hold the dog upside down by his back legs if you can. Or use a Heimlich-type maneuver and push up with your fist held under the dog's belly, just behind the ribcage. Do not apply too much force or you can injure the dog. Go to the vet ASAP.

* Drowning:

To resuscitate, place your dog on a flat surface, open his mouth, pull the tongue forward, and clear away any debris in his mouth. If he is still in distress, hold him by his hind legs and gently swing him back and forth in an attempt to clear the water from his lungs and stomach. If the dog is too large to lift, place him on his side and press upward on his midsection or abdomen. If necessary, perform the Heimlich-like maneuver described in the "Choking" section, and take him to the nearest vet. Click here to see the dog CPR chart.

* Electrocution:

Signs include panting, breathing difficulty, a burn across the lips and tongue, and/or unconscious. It can happen if the dog chews on a power cord. Before touching the dog, turn off power to the outlet and then unplug the cord. Next, if the dog is conscious, rinse his mouth with cold water. Perform rescue breathing using mouth-to-snout resuscitation if the dog is not breathing but does have a pulse...or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if he is not breathing and has no pulse.
Wrap the dog in a blanket to help prevent shock, and take him to the vet immediately (you could perform resuscitation in the car if someone else drives). Go to the vet even if your dog seems OK, since electrocution can lead to serious internal problems that may not be evident for awhile. Also, check the mouth for lesions for 3 weeks.

* The ABC's -- Airway, Breathing, Circulation:

If your dog is not breathing but does have a pulse, you need to perform rescue breathing using mouth-to-snout resuscitation immediately. If your dog is not breathing and has no pulse, you must perform CPR immediately.

* Insect Bites and Stings:

Remove stinger with tweezers or by gently scraping away with a plastic card. Bathe the area with a solution of baking soda and water, then apply ice packs (lined with a towel or cloth) for 5 minutes at a time. Some people treat stings with Benadryl. Typical dosages: for cats and dogs less than 30 pounds, give 10 mg. Dogs 30 to 50 pounds, give 25 mg. Dogs over 50 pounds, give 50 mg. For more Insect/Skin Remedies, see the link listed at the end.

Stings and bites can cause severe reactions. If there is major swelling, or the dog seems disoriented, sick or has trouble moving or breathing, go to the vet immediately.

Benadryl is good for bee stings, insect bites and other allergic reactions. Use plain Benadryl, not the other formulas.

* Itching, Poison Ivy, Rashes:

A good tip for soothing human as well as pet skin is to apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the affected areas. Also, mix 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt in 2 cups of warm water to bathe itchy paws and skin.

* Foxtails:

These barbed seeds from dried grasses and weeds can be easily inhaled by dogs. They can lodge between toes and in ears, eyes, nostrils, mouth and throat, and can even travel through orifices deeper into body, causing infections and abscesses. Check your dog thoroughly after hiking for foxtails, ticks, etc. If your dog is frantically pawing his nose, ears or eyes, shaking or rubbing his head, sneezing for long periods, biting at his anus or has blood coming from his nose, take him to a vet.

* Shock:

Symptoms include irregular breathing and dilated pupils. Shock can occur due to a serious injury or fright. Keep the dogl gently restrained, quiet and warm, with the lower body elevated. Call your veterinarian immediately.

* Heat Stroke Prevention and Treatment:

Heat stroke can be brought on by activity as well as confinement outside in the heat, and the effects can be devastating. Be aware of the signs of heat stroke:

** Excessive panting

** Labored breathing that may signal upper airway obstruction

** Bright red mucous membranes in the gums or eyes and/or bright red tongue

** Lethargy and weakness

** High body temperature

** Collapsing and seizures, even coma

If you notice any of these signs, get your dog inside and place a cool, wet towel over him or submerge him in cool or lukewarm water. Do not use ice, which can damage skin.

Take your dogs temperature using a rectal thermometer. If the animal's temperature exceeds 105 F, get medical attention at once. A dogs normal temperature is 101-102.

Provide drinking water, but do not force an animal to drink. You can apply rubbing alcohol on the skin as a cooling agent.

Dogs cool themselves by panting; this draws air over the moist membranes of the nose and tongue and cools by evaporation. But panting works only for short periods. Prolonged panting endangers the metabolic system. In addition, high humidity interferes with the ability of panting to cool the body.

* This information is not a substitute for veterinary care. Contact your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately for any potentially serious injury, condition or illness.
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