"Your dog may have snuck out the door and gotten hit by a car, or maybe you were hiking and your dog slipped and was injured. Even if you do all the right things - keep your dog on a leash and in a fenced-in backyard when he's outside - accidents do happen."
Cindy was walking her black Labrador Retriever, Shadow, when the stray dogs came from nowhere. She yelled at the dogs and threw whatever she could find, but the strays attacked Shadow anyway. The dogs finally ran away when a Good Samaritan passing by in his car got out to help her. Shadow was down, whining and shaking on the sidewalk, his leg punctured and bleeding. It hung limply as though a bone was broken.
This nightmare is all too familiar to many pet owners. The injury may not have been from an attack. Your dog may have snuck out the door and gotten hit by a car, or maybe you were hiking and your dog slipped and was injured. Even if you do all the right things - keep your dog on a leash and in a fenced-in backyard when he's outside - accidents do happen. Do you know what to do if your dog is injured?
- First, be prepared to get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. That means having the closest emergency veterinarian's office number on speed dial and entered into your cell phone. If you're out of town, call 1888 HomeAgain to be connected to 24/7 emergency medical support. Other potential resources are cabbies, the yellow pages, or hotel concierges.
- Assess the damage. What are the injuries? You'll need to be able to tell the veterinarian what injuries you have noticed.
- If your dog doesn't have a pulse, you should know how to perform CPR. If your dog isn't breathing, you'll have to resuscitate him. Your veterinarian can show you how to do this properly. Ask your veterinarian about canine CPR before you have an emergency. There are also DVDs and videos on canine CPR available on the market.
- Injured dogs often don't want to be handled, and may bite if you approach. If your dog won't let you touch him, you'll have to muzzle him. Even the gentlest dogs will bite when in pain. It's not your dog's fault - it's just a natural instinct.
- In a pinch, a leash, belt, or tie can act as a temporary muzzle. Start at the top of the dog's muzzle and place the tie under the jaw and the knot it in the middle. Then take the two ends of the tie and knot them behind the dog's head snugly. Warning: Do not muzzle the dog if he is having trouble breathing or if there is a sucking chest wound.
- If there are obvious broken bones, try to slip something sturdy under the dog to act as a stretcher. If there isn't something sturdy, you may be able to create a makeshift stretcher from blankets.
- If you notice arterial bleeding (squirting blood), apply pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding. Use bandages or cloth, whatever is handy.
- Get your dog to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.
- In other situations where you are far away from a clinic, you may have to take care of your dog yourself. Have your veterinarian tell you how to put together a first aid kit and show you how to use the equipment properly.