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In case of an emergency…

As pet owners, we tend to spoil our pets with love, treats and attention.  Part of our normal routine may include taking our pet for walks, to the dog park, hiking and camping.  In most cases, this is uncomplicated and your pets get to reap the benefits.  So, what happens when the unexpected happens?  What do you do when there is an emergency?

We, at Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resort and Veterinary Center, have recently done a seminar to discuss emergency situations with the public, which was very successful.  If you were unable to attend our seminar, this is a compilation of information that will hopefully help you and your pet, in the unfortunate chance that you have an emergency.

There are an unlimited amount of emergency situations that one may encounter, but we will describe a few here, and what to do to help you keep control of the situation and get your pet the medical attention required.  The answer to most emergencies will be to take your pet to a veterinarian, but these tips will hopefully buy you and your pet some time until you get to the hospital.

Some of the most common emergencies are bites, lacerations and punctures.  These events can be painful for the pet, and scary for the owner.  The main thing to be concerned about with these situations is acting quickly.

The first step is to make sure that you will not be injured while trying to help your pet.  Remember, that an animal in pain may act out of character.  When a pet is painful, it is possible and even likely that they will bite, and even will bite an owner that has had the pet their entire life.  Always be cautious for your own safety.

Secondly, try to stop any bleeding.  Direct pressure works well, or if it is an extremity (limbs), you may use any article of clothing to act as a tourniquet combined with direct pressure.  You may use any articles of clothing or towels to apply pressure.  The materials you use do not need to be sterile, as any injuries like this are already exposed to bacteria.

The third step is to get your pet to a safe resting space.  If you are at a dog park or near other animals, they may react to your pet erratically.  Take your pet away from other animals and start making your way to a veterinary hospital.  These injuries will likely require further medical attention.

Most of us will have the instinct to try to keep our pets comfortable and eliminate pain.  It is very important to keep in mind that pets cannot take the same medications as people.  The most common thing that people will try to give their pets is Ibuprofen, Advil or Tylenol.  These are all toxic to pets, and should never be given.  Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe a medication that is safe for your pet and can alleviate pain.

Another common emergency in dogs are allergic reactions.  Frequently, with an allergic reaction, you may notice facial swelling, change in respiratory rate, and these can lead to a more critical situation called anaphylactic shock.  This would be categorized by pale gums, profuse watery diarrhea, and respiratory distress, and can lead to death.  If you notice the early signs of an allergic reaction, Benadryl can be given to dogs.  The dose of Benadryl for a dog is approximately 1mg per pound of body weight and is taken orally.  If you notice the early signs of an allergic reaction, Benadryl may buy you and your pet some time as you make your way to the veterinary hospital.  Allergic reactions should be closely monitored for progression to anaphylactic shock.  Your veterinarian, or the veterinarians at Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resort and Veterinary Center, can further discuss your pet’s condition in more detail.

Lastly, a common event that we tend to see during the transition to summer or the unexpected hot days of summer is heat stroke.  It is vital to always provide your pet with shade and water at all times.  The most common cases when heat stroke is an issue are when a pet is left in a car.  The temperature in the car can frequently increase exponentially, and there can easily be unexpected delays which can lead your pet’s temperature to increase rapidly.  Signs of heat stroke include lethargy, profuse diarrhea, and respiratory distress.  The main thing that you can do for heat stroke is to keep your pet calm and provide a cool environment.  Heat stroke is another condition that will require further monitoring for progression to other life threatening illnesses.

We all try to avoid situations in which your pet’s health is in jeopardy, but sometimes the unexpected happens when dogs are dogs.  If you find yourself in an emergency situation, remember to try to stay calm, keep you and your pet safe, and take a deep breath.

The best answer to most scenarios is to take your pet to the closest veterinary hospital or emergency hospital.  If you are ever unfortunate enough to find yourself and pet in an emergency situation, and are unsure of what to do, call us at Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resort and Veterinary Center, and we will do our best to talk you through those emergencies, while you make your way in to seek medical attention.

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