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Capturing and Restraining in Dogs

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Capturing a roaming injured dog can be difficult. Though injured, some can still run quite fast. Unfortunately, some dogs will run away and not be found. If you notice a collar, especially if there is a tag, remember to keep this with the animal. If the collar is broken and the animal is being transported to another location, take the collar and tag so someone can contact the owner.

For those pets that try to get away from you but stay nearby, here are some suggestions on how to catch them and offer care:

  • If you have a leash, make a loop out of the leash by passing the end that would normally attach to the leash through the handle loop.
  • Stand along side or just behind the injured animal.
  • Loop the converted leash over his head and gently tighten.
  • Be prepared for some struggling, especially if the pet is normally a stray dog that has never been leashed.

    If you do not have a leash or the leash technique is not working, a large towel or blanket can also work. This technique also works well for small dogs if you are unable to use a leash.

  • Drop the blanket or towel over the pet.
  • Be aware of the animal's position under the blanket so you don't go near the mouth.
  • Wrap the blanket around the animal and scoop him into your arms. Be aware of where the mouth and claws are. Some animals can be very determined and will bite through thick blankets.

    Some dogs that are used to pet carriers will crawl into an empty box. After inside the box, the animal can be easily transported. Make sure the lid is securely fastened, but still allows air to flow.

    The most important thing you need to do is place a muzzle on the mouth. Even your own sweet dog may bite if frightened or in severe pain. There are several methods to muzzle a dog. However, never muzzle an animal that is vomiting, having difficulty breathing or is coughing.

    Muzzles can be purchased from pet stores or veterinary clinics in a variety of sizes. Having a muzzle to fit your own pet should be included in your pet first aid kit.

    If you do not have a manufactured muzzle, you can make a temporary muzzle out of tape, nylon stocking, neckties, thick string, belts or strips of fabric.

    For tape, fold the tape lengthwise so there are sticky edges.

  • Tie a knot in the middle of the material.
  • Make a large loop in the material.
  • While standing behind or alongside the animal, slip the loop over the animal's nose.
  • Once the loop is over the nose, quickly and snugly tie the loop on top of the nose.
  • Take the 2 material ends alongside the nose and twist one time underneath the nose.
  • Take the 2 ends and pass each behind an ear and tie behind the head.
  • For breeds with short noses, you may need to take an extra piece of material and tie a connection between the loop over the nose and the tie behind the head.

    Make sure the muzzle is snug. Be prepared for the animal to struggle against the muzzle. Some animals will even be able to get out of the muzzle. If the animal develops breathing problems or appears to be trying to vomit, remove the muzzle immediately. Once muzzled, you may need to further restrain the animal.

    For dogs, there are two popular methods of restraint: the standing headlock, and restraint while lying down. Both of these methods are used to allow one person to hold the animal and another to administer treatment. If you are alone, these restraint techniques will not be too helpful and you may want to consider placing a muzzle and then transporting the dog to an animal shelter or veterinary clinic.

    Standing Headlock

  • With the dog standing, kneel down alongside the dog.
  • Place your forearm around the dog's neck and snugly hold the head still.
  • Make sure you are facing the rear of the dog to prevent injuries to yourself.
  • Place your other arm over the back or under the belly and hold firmly. This arm should be holding an area in front of the back legs.

    Lying Down Restraint

  • Stand alongside the dog with the front of your body along the side of the dog.
  • Reach both arms over and around the top of the dog.
  • Grasp the front leg and rear leg that is closest to you, (those against your body).
  • Grab the legs in a manner so that the free front and rear legs are in between your arms.
  • Have someone grab and guide the dog's head.
  • Gently pull the legs toward you.
  • Be prepared for some struggling.
  • When the dog is lying on his side, do not let go of the legs. This will allow the dog to immediately stand again.
  • After the dog is lying down, use the elbow of the arm near the dog's neck to apply firm pressure to prevent the dog from lifting his head.

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