A home first – aid kit is essential for patching up minor injuries. More serious emergencies are thankfully much less common, but with an understanding of basic principles and techniques such as artificial respiration and cardiac massage, you could save your dog’s life.
First – Aid Principles and Basic Equipment:
The fundaments of human first aid also apply to dogs. Your objectives are to preserve life, prevent further injury, control damage, minimize pain and distress, promote healing, and get your safely to a veterinarian for professional care. Have a fully – stocked first – aid kit handy and use it to treat minor wounds, once you are certain there are no more serious, life – threatening problems to deal with.
How to Assess an Unconscious Dog:
Causes of Unconsciousness include choking, electrocution, and blood loss, near – drowning, poisoning, concussion, shock, fainting, smoke inhalation, diabetes, and heart failure. If you find your dog apparently unconscious, call its name to see if it responds. Pinch hard between the toes, while checking the eyes for blinking. Pull on a limb – does your dog pull back? Put your hand firmly on its chest and feel for a heartbeat. Life the lip and look at the color of the gums. If they are pink and when you squeeze the pinkness out it comes back immediately, your dog’s heart is beating. If the gums are pale or blue, cardiac massage may be required to restore circulation.
Artificial Respiration and Cardiac Massage:
Do not attempt to give artificial respiration or heart massage unless your dog is unconscious and will die without your help. If your dog has been pulled from water, suspend it by its hind legs for at least 30 seconds to drain the air passages. If it has been electrocuted, do not touch it until the electricity is turned off. If is has choked, press forcefully over the ribs to dislodge the object. Never put yourself at risk; if possible share first – aid procedures with some one else or have them telephone nearest veterinarian and arrange transport.
1. Place your dog on its side, ideally with its head slightly lower than the rest of its body – elevation of the hindquarters sends more blood to the brain. Clear the airway by straightening the neck, pulling the tongue fully forwards, and sweeping the mouth with two fingers to remove any excess saliva or obstructions. Also ensure that the nose is not clogged with mucus or debris. If you cannot hear the heart, start cardiac massage at once.
2. Close the mouth, hold the muzzle with both hands, and place your mouth around the nose. Blow in until you see the chest expand, and then let the lungs naturally deflate. Repeat this 10 – 20 times per minute, checking the pulse every 10 seconds to make sure the heart is beating.
3. If the heart has stopped, begin cardiac massage immediately. Place the heel of one hand on the left side of the chest just behind the elbows, then the hell of your other hand on top. Press vigorously down and forwards, pumping 80 – 100 times per minute. Alternate 20 – 25 cardiac massages with 10 seconds of mouth – to – nose respiration until the heart beats, restoring color to the gums. Continue resuscitation until breathing starts. A very fat Labrador should be laid on its back and pressed on the chest for cardiac massage.
Always look for Shock:
Shock is a potentially life – endangering condition which occurs when the body’s circulation fails. It can be caused by vomiting, diarrhea, poisons, animal bites, a twisted stomach, bleeding, and may other illness or accidents, and onset may not be apparent for several hours. The signs include pale or blue gums, rapid breathing, a faint or quickened pulse, cold extremities, and general weakness. Treating shock takes precedence over other injuries, including fractures. Your priorities are to control any bleeding, maintain body heat, and support vital functions. Unless shock is the result of heatstroke. Wrap your dog loosely in a warm blanket, elevate its hindquarters, stabilize breathing an the heart if necessary using mouth – to – nose resuscitation and cardiac massage, and seek urgent medical advice.