Canine emergencies happen all the time. If you’ve never experienced an emergency with your dog, count yourself as one of the lucky ones. Before you revel in those blessings too long, it may be a fitting time to get schooled on a few common emergencies, where care from you can mean life for your dog until professional help is obtained.
While every pet isn’t exposed to the same hazards and environments, here are a few of the most common canine emergencies and what you can do until you can get your dog to a nearby veterinarian.
Overheating in dogs is as serious as overheating and heat stroke in humans. Knowing the symptoms of overheating in dogs is essential to identifying this life-threatening emergency. Some symptoms are staggering, confusion, excessive panting; inability to drink water, excessive saliva or excessive panting with little saliva. A dog that has become overheated is a critical situation. Because of the inability to consume water, he has lost the ability to cool himself. Soak his paws in cool water. Apply water to the tongue, careful not to try to get him to drink, as he will in time. Training tip writer, George Hickox, suggests inserting ice cubes into his rectum as a means to reducing his body temperature. Any or all of these can save your dog’s life until he can get to a veterinarian’s office.
There are several situations that can cause shock in a dog, such as accident, trauma or illness. Dogs react and respond to shock differently depending on age and health. Regardless of these factors, dogs experiencing shock should be kept warm with blankets or other clothing until they can get to a veterinarian. Rubbing honey on your dog’s gums is one method of anti-shock treatment that is easy and beneficial.
Bones for your dog should be a no-no, no matter how big he is or how huge his teeth are. Knowing what your dog ingests will determine what treatment you can provide. In the event your dog has eaten bones and is now exhibiting unusual behavior such as lethargy, blood in the stool, whining or fever, the safest treatment is to get him to the veterinarian’s office as soon as possible. Bones can splinter and puncture vital organs, cause internal bleeding and carry an unfortunate outcome. A veterinarian can perform x-rays to determine if bones are an underlying issue and what method of treatment is necessary.
If you know that your pet has been exposed to poison, inducing vomiting may cause more damage, depending on what type of poison he has ingested. Some poisons upon regurgitation cause toxic gases. While there may or may not be immediate treatment that you can provide for your pet if he has gotten into poison, discuss poison exposure with your veterinarian to determine the best protocol to follow.
Snakebite may not be an issue for everyone depending on the area in which you live and other risk factors for your dog; however, bee stings are quite common. Benadryl is the best method of immediate treatment for both snakebite and bee stings. Talk to your veterinarian about the proper dosage to administer for your dog as it will vary depending on age, weight and whether you are treating a bite or sting. Many vets have injectable benadryl which is convenient to carry and administer. Just be aware of expiration dates and know when to toss and replace with new.