It’s a scary thing when your pet is sick or injured. The best course of action is to contact your regular vet clinic or a 24 hour facility if your clinic is closed. But is there anything you can do at home in the meantime? Here are some common scenarios and what you can do to help your pet.
First off, try to remain calm. Pets sense fear and will react by becoming more fearful themselves. Speaking to your pet in a soothing tone may help calm both of you.
Also any pet that is conscious may bite out of pain or fear, regardless of who is on the receiving end! Please be careful and muzzle the pet if needed. You can use a nylon muzzle, or tie the mouth shut with nylon stockings, a belt, a necktie, or a length of gauze or rope. Once the mouth is shut, secure the loose ends behind the dog’s head to keep the makeshift muzzle from falling off.
If you can, try to organize mentally or on paper the following notes:
- What happened?
- Where on the body is the trauma, especially in the case of being hit by a car?
- When did it happen?
- What has your pet eaten in the past 24 hours?
Hit by Car
Control any external bleeding by putting pressure on the wound. In the case of life-threatening bleeding on a limb, you can use a tourniquet, being careful to loosen it every 15 seconds and then re-tying it.
There may be internal bleeding or broken bones, so try to keep the pet as still as possible when moving out of the road and into a. Use a board or tarp, being careful to keep the neck steady.
Even if your pet shows no signs of broken bones or external bleeding, shock can result from unseen internal bleeding. Be sure to get to a veterinarian immediately for a full assessment.
First check the mouth and throat for any obstructions. Remove them, if safe to do so.
Lay the pet on its right side and feel for a heart rate. You will be able to feel it just behind the left armpit through the chest wall. If the heart is not beating grasp the chest between your thumb and fingers and start compressing the chest wall.
For cats, you will need to do 120 compressions per minute, and 100 compressions per minute for dogs. For larger dogs you will need to press firmly on the chest with both hands – one hand on top of the other (similar to chest compressions in a human).
Continue with compressions until a natural heart rate resumes, then concentrate on breathing for your pet. Do this by placing your mouth on your pet’s nose and blowing until you see the chest rise. Give 12-20 breaths per minute for a larger dog, or 20-25 breaths per minute for a small dog or cat.
While breathing for your pet, continue to check for a heart rate every 15 seconds.
Get to a vet clinic as soon as possible, so that the vet can establish a clear airway and use medications to attempt to keep the heart beating.
Do not leave your pet in a parked vehicle, even with a window cracked as the vehicle’s temperature can climb to dangerous levels very quickly.
A pet suffering from heatstroke will pant heavily, drool (and then have dry gums as the heatstroke progresses), weakness, confusion, and vomiting or diarrhea. Bathe your dog in cool (NOT COLD) water until you can get to a veterinarian. At the clinic, your vet can continue cool water baths, as well as monitor for symptoms of shock and use medications to help bring the temperature down.
Many things are toxic to pets – chemicals, plants, even some foods that are safe for people. If you suspect that your pet has ingested something dangerous DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MAKE IT VOMIT. Some toxins should be neutralized in the stomach, because they can cause more damage to the esophagus during vomiting. If appropriate, your vet can use a medication to cause immediate vomiting in a safe environment.
Bring the packaging of any chemicals to the clinic with you. This will tell the vet what the active ingredients are and how to counteract them.
***The information in this article is not intended to replace the medical opinion of your veterinarian. Every pet and situation is unique. Please consult with your veterinarian to ensure proper and complete treatment for your pet.***