What is an Emergency Vet?

Pet owners commonly wonder what is an emergency vet and what would happen if they had to take their pet to an emergency vet clinic. First, let’s look at what is an emergency vet?

An emergency vet is a veterinarian that focuses their work on veterinary emergencies. Some emergency vets work full time at an emergency clinic while, others do emergency work at their hospitals nights and weekends, and some work emergency shifts as a second job.

In addition to veterinarians that focus their work on emergencies, there are veterinarians that specialize in emergency and critical care. This means that after completing veterinary school, they continue training for 4 to 5 years to obtain this specialized degree. Veterinarians that are board-certified in emergency and critical care commonly have the initials DACVECC after their DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) degree. DACVECC means Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. For example, a veterinarian that is board certified in veterinary emergency and critical care would be John Smith, DVM, DACVECC.

How Do You See an Emergency Vet?

There are two common ways pet owners have their pets emergencies treated.

The first is that your family veterinarian takes calls and emergencies on weekends and nights. Occasionally a veterinarian may also do house calls however the most common practice is for dog and cat owners to take their pet to the veterinary hospital.

The second way pet owners have their pet’s emergencies treated is through a veterinary emergency hospital. Most large cities have one or several veterinary emergency clinics. Some emergency clinics operate just nights and weekends (basically they are open when the regular vet clinics close) and others are open 24/7/365. Some emergencies clinics are associated with specialty hospitals that offer expertise in cardiology, dermatology, surgery, internal medicine, oncology, avian and exotic, anesthesiology, radiology, critical care, rehabilitation, dentistry, and more.

What are Common Dogs and Cats Emergencies?

There are literally thousands of reasons dogs and cats can end up at emergency vet clinics. They can range from being hit by a car, lacerations, ingestion of toxins, as well as common problems such as itching, ear infections, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The most common reasons dogs present to emergency rooms are as follows:

The most common reasons cats present to emergency rooms are as follows:

What is the Best Way to See an Emergency Vet?

The best way to see an emergency vet will depend on you, your pets needs, and what services your family vet offers. In many cases, the least expensive way to have your pet treated is by your family veterinarian.

Some veterinary clinics do not provide emergency services and refer all their after-hour calls to a local emergency clinic, some see emergencies on an outpatient basis, and others provide 24/7 emergency care and have the staffing to support pets all night. Veterinary clinics that see emergencies on an outpatient basis may refer serious or life-threatening problems to a 24-hour facility that has an around-the-clock nursing staff to monitor and care for your dog or cat.

If your family vet is closed or your pet needs more intensive 24-hour care than your veterinarian can provide, the best option may be to go to an emergency vet clinic.

Do you wonder when you should go to or call the emergency vet? Go to: When Should You Call the Emergency Vet Hotline? This article identifies the most common emergency situations including a list of foods and toxins that should prompt a call.

How Do Emergency Vet Clinics Work?

An emergency vet clinic operates similarly to human emergency rooms and urgent care clinics. You don’t need an appointment and can go any hours they are open.

Emergency vet clinics practice triage. Triage is a method that identifies the most critical patients to ensure they receive attention and treatment the soonest in an effort to save the most lives. This means that a dog hit by a car that is having trouble breathing and bleeding will get priority over a dog that has been limping for two days. Learn more about the Day in the Life of an Emergency Veterinarian.

What Should You Expect from an Emergency Vet?

If your dog or cat is severely ill or injured, it is ideal to call ahead and let the veterinary staff know you are coming and provide any information you have about your pet’s condition. For example, if your dog is having trouble breathing, they will likely prepare by setting up an oxygen cage in advance. They may also organize an intravenous (IV) fluid set up that will allow them to quickly insert an IV and deliver life-saving fluid therapy and drug treatments.

When Should You Call the Emergency Vet Hotline?

It can be very scary when your pet has a medical problem or emergency and your veterinarian is closed. Maybe it is a holiday, after-hours, or a weekend. Many pet owners want to know when they should call the emergency vet hotline. On one hand you don’t want to call too soon and bother them but on the other hand, you don’t want to wait too long. Here are tips to help you decide when to call.

First, what is an emergency? As an emergency veterinarian, I tell my clients an emergency is literally anything that causes you concern about your pet. You know your dog and cat best. You know when there is something wrong. If you are worried about something, then call. I’d rather pet owners’ call and ask. Maybe I can alleviate their concerns over the phone. Or maybe I can get the pet in sooner and more effectively treat the pet’s problem or even save their life.

The 3 Most Common Reasons Dog and Cat Owners Call the Emergency Vet Hotline

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of emergencies that can occur to dogs and cats. The links in the articles below can help you understand more about these common problems and what the problems may cost. The most common emergencies are as follows:

52 Reasons to Call the Emergency Vet Hotline

It is important to know when to call the emergency vet hotline. Below are reasons to call.

Toxins, Insecticides and Medications Ingestion

A big category of reasons to call is a pet that eats something they shouldn’t. Some items are extremely dangerous and toxic when ingested. Some items can be fatal. Some toxins can be effectively treated if your veterinarian knows about them immediately.

Call the emergency vet hotline if your pet ingests any of the following toxins or medications:

  • Rat Poison of any kind or baits such as Metaldehyde (common snail and slug bait). These can be extremely dangerous. If you catch it early, you vet may induce vomiting.
  • Ingestion of any kind of cleaning chemicals such as Bathroom Cleaners, Bleach, Lysol and Other Corrosives.
  • Ingestion of Antifreeze can cause kidney failure and be life-threatening.
  • Any over-the-counter medications such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil), Naproxen, or Acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • All prescription human medications including blood pressure medications, amphetamines (commonly used diet pills or mood elevators), estrogen medications, and more.
  • Nicotine. Nicotine can be toxic. It is found in a variety of sources, primarily cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, nicotine gum, and nicotine patches.
  • Exposure to Illicit drugs such as Cocaine, Ecstasy, Heroin, Marijuana and any other.
  • Ingestion of vitamins. Some vitamins can be toxic in high doses.
  • Ant traps are generally not toxic but the plastic can cause a foreign body problem. Call to be sure.
  • Licking or eating Potpourri. The liquid variety can be very caustic and be extremely dangerous.
  • Lead can be toxic.
  • Ingestion of coins can not only cause a foreign body and get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract but some coins contain zinc and can cause life-threatening zinc toxicity.
  • Exposure to insecticides that were not prescribed for your specific pet such as carbamate insecticides, organophosphate insecticides, and/or pyrethrin and permethrin insecticides. Amitraz is an insecticide used in some brands of dog tick collars and topical solutions that can also be toxic. Using dog products on cats can be highly toxic and deadly.
  • Overdoses of a pet’s regular medication can be dangerous such as ivermectin, carprofen (Rimadyl) or any other medication. Flavored medications can be especially attractive to dogs.

Just as it is important to know what is toxic, this article is also helpful to know what is nontoxic. Go to: Non-toxic Items Commonly Eaten by Dogs.

Dangerous Food Ingestion

Call the emergency vet hotline if your pet ingests any of the following foods:

  • Chocolate ingestion. Some types of chocolate are more toxic than others.
  • Corncobs can become lodged in the intestine and require surgery to remove.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Grape and Raisins.
  • Bread dough.
  • Food with mold.
  • Onions.
  • Bones can be dangerous to dogs.
  • Chewing gum or other baked goods that contain xylitol.
  • Peanut butter that contains xylitol.

Learn more about dangerous foods in this very good article.

Trauma and Accidents

The following problems can be life-threatening. Please call your veterinarian or veterinary emergency hotline if your pet suffers from any of the following:

  • Hit by a moving vehicle such
  • Bite wounds
  • Lacerations or punctures
  • Exposure to heat such as closed in car or sun

Things that Can’t be Digested

Ingestion of anything plastic, metal, rock or fabric density that cannot be digested can become lodged in the stomach or intestines.

Dangerous Symptoms

The following symptoms can be life-threatening and can quickly lead to death. Please call your veterinarian or veterinary emergency hotline if you see the following problems with your pet:

  1. Unproductive vomiting or retching
  2. Seizures
  3. Trouble breathing
  4. New onset coughing
  5. Lethargy
  6. Trouble walking
  7. Inability to use the back legs or walk
  8. Falling over to one side
  9. Pale mucous membranes
  10. Straining to urinate or nonproductive urinations
  11. Straining to defecate
  12. Blood in the urine
  13. Blood in the vomit
  14. Blood in the feces
  15. Open wounds such as lacerations
  16. Vomiting and diarrhea
  17. Disorientation or other changes in mental awareness
  18. Pain
  19. Lameness or trouble walking
  20. Fever
  21. Hives or swellings
  22. Decreased appetite or anorexia
  23. Excessive itching

What Number Do You Call for the Emergency Vet Hotline

The best number to call when you have a dog or cat emergency is your veterinarian. If your vet is available or open, they may see you immediately. If not, their answering machine generally guides you to the best place to go in your area.

How Dogs Are Affected By Hurricanes

The hurricane season of 2017 was a devastating one, with significant storms hitting land in Puerto Rico, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. When a hurricane makes land, the toll it takes on people is significant. Fatalities, injuries, damaged property, displacement, loss of energy, food shortage, road closures. While the price people pay is steep, hurricanes also affect pets. Especially for dogs and young puppies.

Without the introduction of fierce winds and heavy rainfall, there are already a large number of dogs that are either stray or occupying shelters and rescues throughout the United States. Animal homelessness is a sad and devastating problem in the United States, and once you throw a natural disaster on top of that the problem gets even worse.

Keep reading to understand how animals are affected by hurricanes, and how you can help organizations in their efforts to assist animals affected by hurricanes.

Animal Homelessness

Animal homelessness is an issue that simply doesn’t get enough attention. The stats on animal homelessness are striking. For every homeless person in the US, there are 5 homeless animals. Even more tragic, only about 1 in 10 dogs that are born find a permanent home.  What causes animal homelessness? There are a few different reasons animal homelessness has gotten so bad in the United States, but one of the biggest contributors is unplanned or accidental pregnancies. When pet owners don’t spay or neuter their puppies, pregnancies are bound to happen. It’s always recommended that pet owners get their puppies spayed or neutered at around six months of age.l,

What Happens to Dogs During Hurricanes?

When severe hurricanes make landfall, people are forced to leave them homes and seek shelter away from the storm. Some pet owners are able to take their pets with them when they evacuate, but other pets are left behind to fend for themselves. While it may seem foolish to leave your pet behind during a storm, it’s important to remember that some pet owners have no choice. Some don’t have the room in their vehicles for their pets or are staying in hotels that don’t allow pets. Sometimes pet owners even refuse to evacuate because they want to stay behind and ride out the storm with their pets, putting themselves and their pets in danger. A Washington Post poll in 2006 found that 44% of people who did not evacuate Hurricane Katrina did so because they did not want to abandon their pets.

During the hash hurricane conditions, many pets fall victim to flooding, or have to leave their homes to escape rising water levels. With the high winds and flooding, dogs and cats become disoriented and struggle to find their way home. In the tragic event that their owner passes away during the storm, dogs are left without an owner to take care of them after a hurricane.

When lost pets or orphaned dogs and cats are found and brought into shelters and rescues, they join an already overloaded roster of lost pets. These already overworked and crowded shelters and rescues simply don’t have the space and resources to care for all of the newly admitted pets the hurricane made homeless. Hurricane Harvey alone caused thousands of dogs and cats to become lost or orphaned.

How Puppies Are Affected By Hurricanes

As we discussed in the previous section, it can be a challenge for people to evacuate with their dogs. That challenge becomes even more difficult if a dog recently gave birth to some puppies. Puppies need to be with their mothers when they’re young, and with a litter of five or six puppies, pet owners face a significant logistical problem in evacuating the mother and her brood of pups.  Breeders face the same issue during a hurricane. Dog breeders care for dozens of dogs at a time, and often have very young puppies to look after. If the location of their breeding property is within the reach of the storm, evacuating all of the dogs and puppies safely is difficult.

How Can You Help Dogs Affected by Hurricanes?

While the hardships that animals face during hurricanes are sad, there are a tremendous number of groups and organizations that are dedicating their passion for animals, compassionate hearts, and time to helping animals affected by hurricanes either return to their families or find new homes.

Do you want to join the fight to help out the affected animals? Here is a list of organizations we recommend volunteering your time to help or donating money to assist funding their important work.

First Aid for Fido: How to Be Prepared for Any Dog-Related Emergency

Don’t panic, protect yourself from injury, and prepare in advance — those are three keys to managing any emergency with your dog.

When faced with an injured or severely ill dog, it is important that you spend a moment assessing the situation. Determine if the dog needs to be moved immediately. Decide if there is a danger of further injury to the dog or to first aid givers. For example, great care must be used before assisting a dog injured on a busy roadway. It may be safest to call for help so that traffic can be diverted before anyone provides first aid.

You must also ensure that you won’t be injured yourself — either by the surroundings or by the injured animal.

Prepare in advance by knowing the location and numbers of emergency animal care facilities.

Here are some more tips that will ensure you’re prepared for any dog-related emergency.

Approaching an Injured Dog

If you encounter a dog who is in need or injured in some way, your first reaction may be to run to help. That’s a common reaction — most people don’t want to see an animal in pain. But, it’s important to remember that even the sweetest dog may bite if he is frightened or in pain. If the animal shows signs of fear or aggression, muzzling him is essential before helping.

As you approach the animal, pay attention to his body language and any sounds he is making. Use a soft, gentle, calming voice. Avoid direct eye contact with an injured dog since some will perceive this as a confrontation or threat. A wagging tail is irrelevant. Some dogs will wag their tail throughout an attack.

If the dog you are trying to help is aggressive and there is a risk that you may get injured, do not try to administer treatment. Call a local animal shelter, humane society, veterinary clinic, animal control officer, or police department. Try to stay nearby to watch where the animal goes and to assist when help arrives. If necessary, direct traffic away from the injured animal until further help arrives.

Always use common sense, and remember that your safety comes first. If the dog is covered in a toxic substance, do not touch him unless you are wearing protective gloves or can cover him with plastic (or some other protective material). Likewise, if he is covered in blood, do not touch him without protective gloves. Even though there are few diseases you can get from animal blood, there is no guarantee that human blood is not mixed in from someone else. That person’s blood may have spilled onto the animal, and with the threat of HIV, hepatitis, or other illnesses, exposure to any blood is not recommended.

 

Administering CPR

CPR is an emergency technique used to help someone whose heart and/or breathing has stopped. Although somewhat modified, the same techniques used for people — rescue breathing and chest compressions — can be used to help treat an animal in distress.

The first thing to know about CPR is that it doesn’t restart a stopped heart. The purpose of CPR, in both humans and animals, is to keep them alive until the heart begins beating on its own or a cardiac defibrillator can be used. In people, about 15 percent of those getting CPR actually survive. In animals, CPR is frequently unsuccessful, even if performed by a trained veterinarian. Even so, attempting CPR will give your pet a fighting chance.

In both humans and dogs, you must follow the ABCs: airway, breathing, and circulation, in that order. If you suspect your pet is in distress, immediately look at his posture. Note the presence of blood, vomit, or feces; his breathing pattern and other bodily sounds; and any materials, such as possible poisons, around him.

It is vital to know for sure that your pet isn’t breathing or doesn’t have a pulse before beginning CPR; it is dangerous to apply CPR to an animal (or a person, for that matter) if he is breathing normally and has a pulse.

Look for the chest rising and falling or place a mirror in front of his nose and watch for condensation. When checking for a pulse, remember that animals do not have a distinct carotid (neck) pulse. To determine if the heart is still beating, place your hand on the left side of the chest.

Performing the Heimlich Maneuver

Before administering any first aid, make absolutely certain your pet is actually choking. Many people confuse difficulty breathing with choking. If you witness your pet ingesting an item and then immediately begin pawinging at the face or the throat, acting frantic, trying to cough and having difficulty breathing, only then should the Heimlich maneuver be considered. If your pet is not really choking, the Heimlich can cause serious injury.

Feline First Aid: How to Keep Your Cat Safe

Don’t panic, protect yourself from injury, and prepare in advance — those are three keys to managing any emergency with your cat.

When faced with an injured or severely ill cat, it is important that you spend a moment assessing the situation. Determine if the cat needs to be moved immediately. Decide if there is a danger of further injury to the cat or to first aid givers.

For example, great care must be used before assisting a cat injured on a busy roadway. It may be safest to call for help so that traffic can be diverted before anyone provides first aid.

You must also ensure that you won’t be injured yourself — either by the surroundings or by the injured animal.

Prepare in advance by knowing the location and numbers of emergency animal care facilities.

Here are some more tips that will ensure you’re prepared for any cat-related emergency.

Approaching an Injured Cat

If you encounter a cat who is in need or injured in some way, your first reaction may be to run to help. That’s a common reaction — most people don’t want to see an animal in pain. But, it’s important to remember that even the sweetest cat in the world may bite or scratch if he is frightened or in pain.

As you approach the cat, pay attention to his body language and any sounds he is making. Use a soft, gentle, calming voice. Avoid direct eye contact with an injured cat since some will perceive this as a confrontation or threat.

If the cat you are trying to help is aggressive and there is a risk that you may get injured, do not try to administer treatment. Call a local animal shelter, humane society, veterinary clinic, animal control officer, or police department. Try to stay nearby to watch where the cat goes and to assist when help arrives. If necessary, direct traffic away from the injured cat until further help arrives.

Always use common sense, and remember that your safety comes first. For instance, if the cat is in the middle of the road, watch for traffic before going to assist. If there is a house fire, do not enter the house until the fire department has eliminated the danger — it’s very likely firefighters will rescue the pet. Or, if the cat has fallen, make sure no items are ready to fall on the cat or yourself.

If the cat is covered in a toxic substance, do not touch her unless you are wearing protective gloves or can cover her with plastic (or some other protective material). The same goes if you notice blood on the cat. Even though there are few diseases you can get from animal blood, there is no guarantee that human blood is not mixed in from someone else. That person’s blood may have spilled onto the cat, and with the threat of HIV, hepatitis, or other illnesses, exposure to any blood is not recommended.

 

Administering CPR

CPR is an emergency technique used to help someone whose heart and/or breathing has stopped. Although somewhat modified, the same techniques used for people — rescue breathing and chest compressions — can be used to help treat an animal in distress.

The first lesson to learn about CPR is that it doesn’t restart a stopped heart. The purpose of CPR, in both humans and animals, is to keep them alive until the heart begins beating on its own or a cardiac defibrillator can be used. In people, about 15 percent of those getting CPR actually survive. In animals, CPR is frequently unsuccessful, even if performed by a trained veterinarian. Even so, attempting CPR will give your pet a fighting chance.

In both humans and cats, you must follow the ABCs: airway, breathing, and circulation, in that order. If you suspect your pet is in distress, immediately look at his posture. Note the presence of blood, vomit, or feces; his breathing pattern and other bodily sounds; and any materials, such as possible poisons, around him.

It is vital to know for sure that your pet isn’t breathing or doesn’t have a pulse before beginning CPR; it is dangerous to apply CPR to an animal (or a person, for that matter) if he is breathing normally and has a pulse.

Look for the chest rising and falling or place a mirror in front of his nose and watch for condensation. When checking for a pulse, remember that animals do not have a distinct carotid (neck) pulse. To determine if the heart is still beating, place your hand on the left side of the chest.

How to Do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on Dogs

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for Dogs

As much as we try to protect our dogs, accidents do happen. So, it is important to be as prepared as reasonably possible. One way to be prepared is to know how to give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

CPR is an emergency technique used to help someone whose heart and/or breathing has stopped. Although somewhat modified, the same techniques used for people – rescue breathing and chest compressions – can be used to help treat an animal in distress.

The first lesson to know about CPR is that it doesn’t restart a stopped heart. The purpose of CPR, in both humans and animals, is to keep them alive until the heart begins beating on its own or a cardiac defibrillator can be used. In people, about 15 percent of those getting CPR actually survive. In animals, CPR is frequently unsuccessful, even if performed by a trained veterinarian. Even so, attempting CPR will give your pet a fighting chance.

The ABCs of CPR for Dogs

In both humans and dogs, you must follow the ABCs: airway, breathing and circulation, in that order. If you suspect your pet is in distress, immediately look at his posture. Note the presence of blood, vomit or feces; his breathing pattern and other bodily sounds; and any materials, such as possible poisons, around him.

It is vital to know for sure that your pet isn’t breathing or doesn’t have a pulse before beginning CPR; it is dangerous to apply CPR to an animal (or a person, for that matter) if he is breathing normally and has a pulse.

Look for the chest rising and falling or place a mirror in front of his nose and watch for condensation. When checking for a pulse, remember that animals do not have a distinct carotid (neck) pulse. To determine if the heart is still beating, place your hand on the left side of the chest.

How to Do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on Dogs

Click on the video below to see the demonstration on how to perform CPR on your dog.

Airway

If your dog has stopped breathing, check to see if the throat and mouth are clear of foreign objects. Be careful about placing your fingers inside the mouth. An unresponsive dog may bite on instinct. If the airway is blocked, do the following:

  • Lay your pet down on his side.
  • Gently tilt the head slightly back to extend the neck and head, but be very careful: Do not overextend the neck in cases of neck trauma.
  • Pull the tongue out of your pet’s mouth.
  • Carefully use your fingers to sweep for any foreign material or vomit from the mouth. Unlike CPR for humans, you can reach into the airway to remove foreign objects.
  • If necessary, perform the Heimlich maneuver.

 

Breathing

If your dog is breathing, allow him to assume the position most comfortable for him. If he isn’t breathing, make sure the airway is open, and begin rescue breathing. Again, remember that even an unresponsive dog may bite on instinct.

  • Make sure the neck is straight without overextending.
  • For medium to large dogs, you will be performing mouth-to-nose breathing. Close the mouth and lips by placing your hand around the lips and holding the muzzle closed.
  • Place your mouth over the dog’s nose. For dogs under 30 pounds, cover the mouth and lips with your mouth. Your mouth will form a seal.
  • Exhale forcefully. Give four or five breaths quickly.
  • Check to see if breathing has resumed normally. If breathing hasn’t begun or is shallow, begin rescue breathing again.
  • For dogs over 30 pounds, give 20 breaths per minute.
  • For dogs less than 30 pounds, give 20 to 30 breathes per minute.

    Now check for a heartbeat. If no heartbeat is detected, begin cardiac compressions with rescue breathing.

 

Circulation

For most dogs, chest compressions are best done with the animal lying on his side on a hard surface. For barrel-chested dogs such as bulldogs and pugs, CPR is best done with the animal on his back.

Make sure your dog is on a hard surface. The sidewalk or ground should work. If the animal is on a soft area, chest compressions will not be as effective.

For small dogs (less than 30 pounds)

  • Place your palm or fingertips over the ribs at the point where the raised elbow meets the chest.
  • Kneel down next to the dog with the chest near you.
  • Compress the chest about 1 inch at a rate of twice per second. (Small animals have higher heart rates than people so compressions need to be more rapid.)
  • Begin 5 compressions for each breath. After 1 minute, stop and check for a heartbeat. Continue if the beat has not resumed.

How to Do the Heimlich on Your Dog

How to Do the Heimlich on Your Dog

Before administering any first aid, make absolutely certain your pet is actually choking. Many people confuse difficulty breathing with choking. If you witness your pet ingesting an item and then immediately begin pawing at the face, the throat, acting frantic, trying to cough and having difficulty breathing, only then should the Heimlich maneuver be considered. If your pet is not really choking, the Heimlich can cause serious injury.

What Happens If a Dog is Choking?

After determining that your pet is choking, remove any item that may be constricting the neck. Examine inside the mouth and remove any foreign object you see. Do not blindly place your hand down your pet’s throat and pull any object you feel. Dogs have small bones that support the base of their tongues. Owners probing the throat for a foreign object have mistaken these for chicken bones. Do not attempt to remove an object unless you can see and identify it.

If your pet is small and you cannot easily remove the object, lift and suspend him with the head pointed down. For larger animals, lift the rear legs so the head is tilted down. This can help dislodge an item stuck in the throat.

Another method is to administer a sharp blow with the palm of your hand between the shoulder blades. This can sometimes dislodge an object. If this does not work, a modified Heimlich maneuver can be attempted.

  • Grasp the animal around the waist so that the rear is nearest to you, similar to a bear hug.
  • Place a fist just behind the ribs.
  • Compress the abdomen several times (usually 3-5 times) with quick pushes.
  • Check the mouth to see if the foreign object has been removed.
  • This maneuver can be repeated one to two times but if not successful on the first attempt, make arrangements to immediately take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital.

    Even if you are successful in removing a foreign object, veterinary examination is recommended. Internal injury could have occurred that you may not realize.

 

How to Perform The Heimlich Maneuver in a Dog

Click on the video below to see the demonstration on how to perfom the Heimlich Manuver on your dog

Is Pet Insurance Right for you?

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As one of the first pet insurance providers in the U.S., PetPartners has been offering affordable, comprehensive pet health insurance to dogs and cats in all 50 states since 2002. Trusted as the exclusive pet insurance provider for the American Kennel Club and the Cat Fanciers’ Association, PetPartners highly customizable options allow pet owners to create a plan that fits their individual needs and budget — so you’re not paying for added coverage you don’t necessarily need or want. Visit www.PetPartners.com today to see if pet insurance is right for you and your family.”)


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Create a First Aid Kit that Could Save Your Dogs Life

How to Make a First Aid Kit for Your Dog

Take some time out and create your own doggy first aid kit. If they could thank you, they would.

Chances are, your family knows exactly which cabinet to turn to at the sight of a runny nose, a splinter, blood, or tummy ache. But when your dog is in need of more than a scratch behind the ears, are you ready? Proper preparation is the best tool to arm yourself with in case of a pet emergency. A pet first aid kit is a smart, personalized, easily created resource that will prepare you to think quickly and logically.

Below, the Animal Medical Center in New York shares what should be readily available now to aid in quick thinking for the future.

 

Dog First Aid Kit

It’s a good idea to put everything related to your pet’s health issues in one, easily accessible bag. A clear, plastic tote is a smart option; you can place emergency numbers on the inside facing out for quick retrieval, and the flexible bag makes storage easier than a rigid box.

Reaching Out – When the First Aid Kit Needs Backup

The most vital emergencies are the ones where you’ll need outside assistance. Make sure that essential emergency numbers are the easiest to find. If you don’t already have an emergency card number, write the following on an index card:

  • Animal Poison Control Contact Info
  • Your dog’s regular veterinarian
  • Local Veterinary Emergency Animal Hospital Information
  • Emergency Pet Taxis (for urban areas…many taxis don’t allow animals)
  • Pet’s health records in case your vet is not available
  • Your dog sitter or boarding facility
  • Your dogs microchip number

 

The Prep Work

You may be able to lessen the impact of an emergency by simply being well prepared. Start by buying a book on dogs… the knowledge you’ll gain from this information may help when you really need it.

First, pay special attention to the list of substances commonly found in your home which are toxic to your pet. Keeping a “thumbs down” list handy will allow swift action in case of accidental ingestion.

Secondly, travelers should make a copy of their pet’s medical records that stay with the animal at all times, in case the vet or sitter isn’t as familiar with your pet as your family. Additionally, a blanket or large towel can be a lifesaver for a cold pet, a transporter for a large dog, or a bandage for an injured or bleeding leg.

Lastly, make sure you have leashes available by each door so that you can control your dog if needed or an emergency arises.

 

Dr. Mom for Dogs

Many minor injuries can be self-treated with proper knowledge and equipment. These supplies can be used to help in a pinch until you can get to a veterinarian. For example, if your dog has a laceration, a temporary bandage can help control bleeding until you get to your vet.

  • Tweezers: For splinter or foreign object removal
  • Nail trimmer: Ask your local pet supply store for the style of trimmer right for your pet.
  • Scissors: Handy for hair clumps and foreign object tangles. Take special care not to cut the skin – this can be accidentally done.
  • Betadine Sponges: For cleaning of cuts and wounds, to be used with an antibacterial cleanser
  • Sterile Vaseline for eyes: If you’re bathing your pet, this will prevent soap and water from getting in their eyes
  • Saline Solution: Regular human contact lens saline solution can be used to flush out dirt, sand, or other irritant – just gently squeeze the contents directly into the eye.
  • Peroxide: To only be used to induce vomiting when Animal Poison Control says to do so. You should call Animal Poison Control when your dog or cat has consumed something from the “no” list. Not to be used for cleaning wounds.
  • Triple antibiotic ointment: To place directly on a cut
  • Sterile telpha pads (no stick): Sticky bandages and fur don’t mix. Wrap the wound with the nonadherent pads before placing on the bandage.
  • Bandages

    Remember, proper immediate first-aid is only the first step in the treatment of a dog injury or emergency. While your intervention may prevent serious harm, you must always seek veterinary care as soon as possible to assure the best outcome for your companion.

    Is Pet Insurance Right for you?

    The best pet insurance offers coverage that’s broad enough for whatever care your pet needs and with enough options to get the perfect coverage for you and your pet.

First Aid – Top 10 Things to Know for Dogs

Top 10 First Aid Things to Know for Dogs

There are three keys to managing any emergency with your dog: don’t panic, protect yourself from injury, and prepare in advance.

When faced with an injured or severely ill dog, it is important that you spend a moment to assess the situation. Determine if the dog needs to be moved immediately. Decide if there is a danger of further injury to the dog or to first aid givers. For example, great care must be used before assisting a dog injured on a busy roadway. It may be safest to call for help so that traffic can be diverted before anyone provides first aid. You must insure that you won’t be injured yourself – either by the surroundings or by the injured animal. Prepare in advance by knowing the location and numbers of emergency animal care facilities. These guidelines should help.

1. Behavior Knowledge. Understanding how to approach an injured pet safely is critical. Animals may respond to fear and pain instinctively, even if they know you well. You cannot assume that your own pet won’t bite you, because pain or fear may provoke even a docile animal to aggression. Preventing a bite to yourself or other assistants must be your first goal.

Towels can be used to cover the pet’s head to help “blind him” and make him feel safer while you transport him. Hand made muzzles are also very helpful in deterring bites.

2. Veterinary Telephone Number and Address. Keep the name and phone number of your family veterinarian and local veterinary emergency facility handy. This simple guideline can help save the life of your pet. Most veterinarians are open during normal business hours – 8 am to 5 pm. Determine how your veterinarian handles emergency calls. Some have emergency pagers, and in larger metropolitan cities, many contribute to or use an emergency facility for after-hour emergency calls. Calling first can often answer simple questions or prevent a trip in the wrong direction. Even in situations that are not apparently life-threatening, your questions or concerns may be best considered by a professional who can advise you whether or not to come in.

3. Name and Telephone Number of a Friend. If possible, have a friend assist you, especially if your pet needs to be hospitalized. In the car, it is best to have one person keep the pet calm or settled while the other drives to the emergency clinic or veterinary hospital.

4. CPR. Be familiar with animal cardiopulmonary resuscitation. There are classes offered in pet CPR and this knowledge can be important when faced with a life-threatening situation.

5. Heimlich Maneuver. Though not a commonly used or needed skill, knowing how to perform the Heimlich maneuver for your dog can be a life-saving skill. Only perform the Heimlich if you are absolutely certain your pet is choking on a solid object (such as a toy), and you have been properly trained in the technique. Improperly used, the Heimlich can cause injury to your pet.

6. Bandaging. A bandage helps to cover or apply pressure to a wound to protect or control hemorrhage. Bandages can be fabricated from towels, washcloths, paper towels, or just about any piece of fabric.

7. Stopping Bleeding. If there is an obvious source of bleeding, apply pressure to control the hemorrhage. Pressure is best applied with a clean cloth or towel applied directly to the wound.
8. Towels or Blankets. Blankets and towels can aid in picking up an injured pet or to control bleeding. You can use a towel to wrap a frightened pet or cover a wound. Frightened pets are often relieved by the dark calm enclosure of a blanket.

9. Board, Stretcher or Strong Blanket. Strong sturdy instruments are important to help move or transport severely injured pets that are unable to walk. A small board, a sturdy wool blanket, a piece of canvas or a hammock can be used. Gently roll or move the pet onto the device. Typically, two people are needed to pick up and move the pet when using a stretcher. Be careful as this procedure may cause pain to an injured pet, and exposes the helpers to the risk of bite injury.

10. Finances. Probably the last thing people think about during an emergency is how to pay the bill. Emergency clinics and veterinary practices are no different than other small businesses, and they need to pay their own bills to survive. Expect to leave a deposit when admitting a pet and be prepared to pay for services rendered. Veterinary insurance can be most beneficial in these situations; however, often the veterinary clinic will require that you pay the bill and the insurance company will reimburse you after the invoice is submitted. Most veterinary clinics do accept major credit cards, and there are some veterinary clinics that offer other financial alternatives through banks.

Capturing and Restraining Dogs

How to Capture and Restrain a Dogs

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.

How to Catch a Feral Injured Dog

For those dogs 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 dog.
  • Be aware of the animal’s position under the blanket so you don’t go near the mouth.
  • Wrap the blanket around the dog and scoop him into your arms. Be aware of where the mouth and claws are. Some dogs 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.

    After the Dog Is Captured/Restrained

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.

How to Restrain a Dog

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.