What if, one day, you get home and find your pet has stopped breathing, is in the middle of a seizure, or is injured and bleeding? These are scary scenarios, but possible. Would you know what to do in the event of an emergency? October is National Animal Protection Safety Month and National Pet Wellness Month, so there is no better time to learn what to do should disaster strike.
As a responsible dog owner, you need to know how to administer first aid and CPR, as well as have the numbers of your vet, poison control center, and emergency hospital saved on your phone or written on a piece of paper that can be easily seen. If your dog is a large breed, you should have a method of moving him in case he gets injured or unconscious.
If you would like to learn how to perform pet CPR, the American Red Cross and other organizations provide training on this practice. Mouth-to-snout resuscitation is very similar to the conventional mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for humans; the only difference is that the person administering the procedure will have to close the dog’s mouth and breathe into the dog’s nose. Some people may find this funny or even unpleasant, but mouth-to-snout resuscitation can actually save a pet’s life.
Aside from mouth-to-snout resuscitation, chest compressions can also be performed in case a dog’s heart stops. The importance of knowing how to do these procedures cannot be emphasized enough, and several organizations that previously taught traditional CPR only are now teaching pet CPR as well. Your local Red Cross may offer training on pet CPR, so give them a call if you’re interested and ask them when the next class will begin. You never know when this knowledge may be useful, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
If you haven’t developed a pet emergency plan yet, now is the best time to do so. Prepare a first aid kit and a notebook with essential information such as instructions on what to do in case of a seizure or injury, medicine dosage, and important phone numbers. If you have a big dog, a ramp is helpful for transporting purposes.