What to Do in a “Dog Emergency”

dog-emergencyPet owners everywhere know about all the little worries that come with having a canine family member in the house. “What would happen if…?” is always at the corner of our minds when it comes to having medical or health-related concerns about our four-legged friends. Dogs have a way of getting into trouble that other pets just don’t seem to have trouble with – fights with a neighbor’s dog, eating items other than food, jumping over fences, trying to climb up trees or structures, exploring nature in the backyard and just in-general rough play can all lead to a trip to the local veterinarian’s office.

While some of these dangers might just end up in a simple boo-boo that can be treated at home by cleaning and disinfecting a cut or scrape, others require quick and immediate veterinary attention that could potentially be life-threatening. This article will give you some basic tips that you can use in the event of a serious dog emergency that will help you get your dog to the vet as quickly and carefully as possible to receive treatment. While not rocket science, learning these basic and very common sense skills can help you when you need it the most.

Be Prepared in Advance of an Emergency
The first and best step you can take to ensure that your dog gets immediate veterinary attention when needed is to be prepared ahead of time. In many cases, the quick-thinking actions of pet owners can make the difference between life and death. Here are some things you can do today to help prepare you for anything that might happen in the future:

  • POST the number to Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth in a handy spot, such as the refrigerator, near the phone charger, by the kitchen door, etc.
  • INCLUDE the number to the local animal poison control center.
  • KEEP a well-stocked kit of first aid items and store them when you can easily get to them in case of an emergency, including an instant ice pack and bandages.
  • THINK about transporting your pet safely, a board or a blanket that can be used as a stretcher based on the size/weight of your dog or a carrier, if possible, to soothe and cradle smaller dogs.
  • PLAN for natural disasters as you would for the humans in your family by having a well-planned course of action, including pet food, medications and other survival supplies and a detailed evacuation plan.

Learn the Basics of Canine First Aid
First Aid is the treatment that you can give to your dog immediately following an accident or incident. The goal here is to stabilize and comfort your pet momentarily until you can get your dog to the vet. While some injuries are minor enough to just warrant home care, it is always best to contact your local veterinarian office to make sure it won’t require an office visit or a trip to the local animal hospital in Dartmouth.

Consider taking a course about canine first aid and CPR. Speak with your vet for more information or to get recommendations on local educational programs available for dog owners. It is important to note that CPR should only be given if you have been trained and know what you are doing. Doing it wrong can lead to other potential dangers for your pet. While the best course of action is to get your dog to the vet as quickly as possible, the more your know about basic canine first aid, the better!

When a “Dog Emergency” Happens…
This is the time when all of your preparation, training and education will come into play. You staying calm and focusing on taking care of your dog will go a long way toward controlling the situation in an emergency. Your dog will feel your emotions and react or respond to them right away, so staying calm and not being stressed out or worried will really help your dog stay calm too. If you need it, take a few seconds to breathe and gain composure before you do anything.

Some of the incidents that are commonly seen at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth include dogs that have been hit by a car or attached by another animal, as well as dogs who have ingested something dangerous or poisonous. These can be very difficult situations for a loving pet owner to handle, but it is important to calm your dog as best as you can. If you dog looks like he might bite or snap at you out of fear or pain, make sure to restrain and/or muzzle him if necessary to protect you both.

If you spot any scrapes, cuts or other signs of injury, get your dog immediate veterinary attention at your local veterinary office or 24-hour animal hospital in Dartmouth. Speak with your vet about checking for vital signs, taking a resting heart beat, counting breaths per minute and learn how to take a proper rectal temperature, if possible. Your vet can give you tips on how to do this in an emergency and give you advice on normal temperatures, counts and rates for you to compare them to when you take them.

Tips for Geting Your Dog to the Vet
Remember your preparations and carefully carry your dog to the car, if necessary, using a board, blanket or transportation carrier to ensure his safety. Assess the situation and decide whether or not your dog needs to be immobilized. Again, speak with your local veterinarian office for tips on how to safely do this, depending on your dogs size/weight.

Knowing whether or not to split a broken bone will depend on the fracture. However, if you aren’t sure, simply place a clean bandage over your dog’s injuries and gently ease him onto a stretcher to get your dog to the vet as quickly as possible. Paralysis, even partial, can indicate a spinal fracture, so it is important to not lift your dog or move him. Instead, contact the animal hospital in Dartmouth and someone will walk you through transportation over the phone.

Emergency Pet Care at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth
Residents of Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island have trusted the veterinary team at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth for nearly 40 years. Their mission is provide their patients with top quality preventative veterinary care, medicine, treatment and surgery, using the latest techniques and technology available.

Their very friendly staff will help you and your pet feel at ease, whether you are coming in for a check-up or seeking immediate veterinary attention for an emergency. You can trust Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth to take care of your pet, whether you have a dog, a cat, a small mammal or an exotic pet. Call 508-996-3731 to set up an appointment today!