Dogs and puppies are extremely dynamic animals, which is why as a pet owner, you need to know how to handle dog emergencies that may pop up. Since it’s difficult to make rational decisions during stressful situations, it’s important to have emergency plan in place before you actually need one. It’s important to know what a dog emergency looks like and what can you do to help your dog.
What is a dog emergency?
An emergency is anything that puts your dog’s life at risk. This means anything that can lead to death if not treated by a professional on time. Examples of emergencies that can come up when raising a puppy or dog include:
- Wounds that are bleeding severely
- Choking and/or difficulty breathing
- Persistent coughing or gagging
- Blood coming from the nose, mouth, rectum, or urine
- Injury to an eye
- Eating something poisonous
- Broken bones or not being able to move legs
- Signs of severe pain or anxiety
If you see your dog showing any of these signs, it’s time to act fast. Shoudl the situation come up, consider the instructions in this post and get your dog to an emergency service provider as soon as possible.
Preparing for a dog emergency
One of the most effective ways to prepare for an emegency is to purchase a first aid kit specifically for dogs or you can prepare your own. While some items in veterinary first aid kits may be similar to ones for humans, there are a few differences which is why the two should be kept separate.
Common items in veterinary first aid kits include:
- Milk of magnesia activated charcoal (to absorb poision)
- A “fever” thermometer because standard temperature scales don’t accomodate pets
- A muzzle for covering your dog’s head
Also, be sure to add an information card containing the phone number, clinic name, address of your veterinarian as well as local veterinary emergency clinics.
Some pet stores sell ready-made first aid kits but you can also prepare your own. If you have any questions about what are the right supplies to include, you can also talk to your vet. Besides helping you prepare the kit, your vet is the right person to help you prepare for a dog emergency.
Keep the first aid kit in an easy-to-reach spot. Don’t forget to bring it with you when you travel with your furry best bud. Another option is to have several first aid kits and keep them in different places. After having the kit set, remember to inspect it every few months. This is important to make sure it’s complete and organized and none of the supplies have expired.
You also should find a 24-hour emergency service provider that you can take your dog to in case of an emergency. You can ask your vet to see if the clinic has this service. If they don’t, they may have partners who provide round the clock emergency care. Once you find a reliable emergency service provider, keep their name, phone number, and address in a place that is easily accessible.
Another step to prepare for a dog emergency is to learn how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver and CPR on your dog. Videos are below:
How to perform the Heimlich Manuver on a dog
How to perform CPR on a dog
What to do when faced with a dog emergency
The first and most important thing you need to do when faced with a dog emergency is this: act fast but stay calm. Panicking won’t do anything for you and your dog. It’ll only make it worse and get in the way of you assisting your dog. Some dogs can become aggressive when they’re injured so it’s important that you keep yourself safe. Otherwise, there will be two of you in need of help and you won’t be of any use if you’re injured.
If your dog lets you get close without being aggressive, it’s time to assess its condition. Check for the following:
Now that you know what is going on, you’ll know what you can do to stabilize it. Call the emergency service and give them as much accurate information as possible. That way, they can be prepared to treat your dog as soon as you arrive and may give you instructions to follow.
Here are some things you can do to stabilize your dog and get ready for transportation:
- If your dog is breathing but bleeding severely: elevate the wound and apply pressure to it.
- If your dog is conscious but not breathing: see if you can remove whatever is causing the blockage by placing your fingers in your dog’s mouth. Otherwise, perform the Heimlich Maneuver using the informaiton outlined earlier.
- If your dog is unconscious and not breathing: perform CPR on your dog using the informaiton outlined earlier.
Once your dog’s condition is stable, it’s time to place it in something that can act as a stretcher. Be careful to support your dog’s neck and back in case there’s any spinal injury. Now that your dog is ready for transportation, go to an emergency service. Now you can let the professionals can take proper care of your pooch.
Making sense of it all
Having a clear plan of what you need to do when faced with a dog emergency can make a big difference and save your dog’s life. It will help you stay calm and act fast because you won’t need to figure out what you need to do at that time, you’ll already know.
So get that first aid kit and learn those life-saving maneuvers like the Heimlich and CPR. Your vet can also be your biggest ally when preparing for a situation like this so it’s important to also ask them for advice.