Paw prints: Pet first aid

Community Columnist

Treatment of your pet is best handled by a veterinarian, but there are some circumstances that may require immediate action to save your pet’s life.

If your pet is choking, carefully look in the mouth. If you see an object, try to remove it but be careful not to push it deeper into the throat.

If your pet collapses and you know there is an object lodged in the throat, lay the dog on its side and strike the rib cage firmly until the object dislodges.

In a smaller pet, place one hand on each side of the rib cage and apply quick firm pressure.

If your pet has a seizure, do not attempt to hold or restrain it. Keep a seizing animal away from stairs or any object that could cause harm. Time the seizure. Once it has stopped, maintain a quiet environment around the animal and contact the vet.

If your pet ingests a toxin, contact Animal Poison Control or your veterinarian as soon as possible for guidance. Take the package which contained the toxin with you to the animal hospital.

If your pet stops breathing and does not have a pulse, resuscitation can be attempted.

First, pull the animals tongue forward, out of the mouth to open his airway and check for a foreign object.

If there is no visible object, give a rescue breath by holding the mouth closed and blowing directly into the nose until you see the chest rise. A breath can be given every five seconds.

If there is no pulse, alternate rescue breathing with chest compressions.

Lay the animal on its right side. The heart is located on the lower aspect of the chest on the left side near the elbow. Apply compressions at a rate of about 100 beats per minute for a dog. For a smaller pet 150 beats per minute.

For cats and very small dogs, cradle your hand around the chest and squeeze with your thumb and fingers. Alternate chest compressions with rescue breaths until you arrive at the animal hospital.

Hopefully, you will never have to use the above information, but if the worst does happen, being prepared may save your pet’s life.

Any first aid should be immediately followed by veterinary care.

Dr. Anne Weiskotten Galton is a veterinarian at Cazenovia Animal Hospital. She can be reached at 655-3409 or agalton28@yahoo.com.

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