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Dog Health Emergencies: What Will You Do?

   By: Joel Walsh

Sure, you may be a master of human First Aid. But do you know what to do in a dog health emergency?

Approaching Dog Health Emergencies: Two Steps

1. In any dog health emergency, stay calm and think.

2. Approach the dog cautiously. The dog may become aggressive because of fear or pain. You can’t help the dog if you’re hurt yourself.

Dog Emergency 1: Traffic Accident:

1. If possible, do not move the dog.

2. Call the nearest Humane Society or ASPCA office.

3. If the animal workers can’t or won’t come and you must move the dog, slide a blanket under the animal. Lift the animal to safety with the help of another person.

4. Check for a heartbeat and bleeding. Try to stop the excessive loss of blood by holding a clean cloth or pad over the wound and securing it tightly with a makeshift bandage.

5. Take the dog to the nearest vet, calling ahead to prepare them for the emergency.

Dog Heathcare Emergency 2: Burns

1. Immerse the burned body part in cold running water for as long as possible.

2. If the burn is from a caustic substance, wash it off.

3. Call the vet.

Canine Health Emergency 3: Heat stroke

Warning signs: The dog is overheated and without sufficient air. The dog might be panting, vomiting, frothing at the mouth, or already collapsed.

1. Remove the froth,

2. Place or douse the dog with cold water to lower body temperature.

3. Take the dog immediately to the veterinarian for treatment. Treatment usually consists of more cold water, drugs and observation.

Emergency 4: Dog Poisoning

Warning signs: Look for muscular twitching, vomiting, bleeding, convulsion or collapse.

1. Don't wait to see what happens. While it may be nothing, you have to take action immediately in case it is poisoning. Any delay could be fatal.

2. Call the vet. (Don't know the vet's number by heart? Right now, make sure you have put the vet's number by every telephone in your house, and in your mobile phone contacts.)

3. Follow the vet's advice. Different poisoning cases sometimes have to be treated differently.

4. If you know what the poison is, take some of it with you to the vet’s office.

5. If you cannot reach the vet, call the ASPCA's animal poison control center: 1-888-4ANIHELP (1-888-426-4435). Put this number by your home telephones and in your mobile phone contacts right now. A $50 fee per incident applies for this nonprofit service--it's worth it. If you don't have a credit card, they can charge the fee to your telephone bill.

Emergency 5: Dog Choking

1. Open the dog’s mouth carefully and try to see what is causing the problem. It could be anything: a small ball, bone, stick, meat wrapping.

2. Pump the chest by pressing down on the ribs and releasing immediately at 5-second intervals.

3. If this doesn’t dislodge the object within a few moments, rush the dog to the nearest animal hospital to have the foreign object removed under anesthetic.

Dog Emergency 6: Drowning

1. Remove the dog from the water.

2. Try to get the water out of the dog's lungs as soon as possible by pumping the chest as for choking (see above).

3. Take the dog to the vet to be checked out.

Hopefully, you will never have to handle any of these emergencies. But if you do, you have the dog health advice that you need.

About the Author: Joel Walsh suggests you start here to find more information on protecting dog health: [Web publication requirement: create live link for the URL/web address using "dog health" as visible link text/anchor text.]

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