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Archive for the ‘Dog First Aid’ Category

Skunks and Dogs

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Skunks and dogs make a combination about as appealing to me as catching a whiff of a baby’s dirty diaper.

Summertime brings freely roaming skunks in some parts of the country. And it isn’t limited to the countryside either. My own dog has been sprayed twice in the last three years by skunks roaming around residential areas where we walk, and these neighborhoods haven’t seen rural countryside in years.

If your dog is unfortunate enough to be sprayed by a skunk you need to know what steps to take immediately. If your dog is lucky enough not to have been the unfortunate recipient of a skunk’s natural defense system, you’ll know what to do should it happen.

You may have heard of home-made skunk odor remedies using tomato juice or vinegar to wash off a dog who has been sprayed, but all these treatments do is cover up the odor. There is a way to remove the odor from your dog using common household items, and for this you can thank chemist Paul Krebaum who developed the recipe in 1993. Skunk spray is very oily and contains sulfur (the source of the stench), and this recipe causes a chemical reaction that breaks up those oils and neutralizes the odor.

Here’s what to do after a skunk sprays your dog:

1. If you weren’t present when your dog was attacked by the skunk, first check for bites or scratches and check the eyes for redness or discharge. If you find that your dog has been injured, you should contact your veterinarian before undertaking any de-skunking procedure.

2. Time is of the essence here – the longer you wait to begin the procedure, the harder it will be to remove the stench. You’ll want to bathe your dog outdoors or in an easy to clean area of your home like a laundry room or bathroom. If the bathing is to take place indoors, open a window to save your nose!

3. Apply 1-2 drops of mineral oil to your dog’s eyes. This will help protect your dog in case any of the de-skunking solution splashes or drips in its eyes.

4. In a large plastic container or bucket, combine 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid soap. Add lukewarm water if more solution is needed for larger dogs. Mix all the ingredients, being sure to stir long enough so everything is mixed together well. The solution will fizz, due to the chemical reaction of the ingredients. Use the solution immediately as it cannot be stored and saved for later use.

5. Don’t soak your dog with water prior to the de-skunking. As soon as the solution is ready, start bathing the affected areas thoroughly, massaging the solution deep into your dog’s coat. Use a sponge or washcloth for easier application. Avoid getting the solution in your dog’s eyes, ears or mouth.

6. Allow the solution to soak into your dog’s hair for at least five minutes, keeping it on longer if a strong odor is still noticeable.

7. Next rinse your dog well with lukewarm water. Repeat steps 3-5 as necessary until the odor is completely gone.

8. Dry your dog well.

NEVER place the solution in a closed container or spray bottle, as the pressure will build up and the container could burst causing serious injury to you and your dog.

Don’t use higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or substitute the baking soda with a similar product. The altered chemical reaction could cause severe injury to you and your dog.

Skunks and dogs just don’t make a pleasant smelling combination so you might want to print this post and save it in a place where you can easily find it if your dog ever becomes the unfortunate victim of a skunk attack.

Why Dogs Vomit Blood

Monday, September 21st, 2015

When a dog vomits blood it is suffering from a condition known as hematemesis. Hematemesis could be a temporary condition or a sign of chronic gastrointestinal illness.

The most common reasons why dogs vomit blood are: (1) a small amount of bright red blood indicating an injury in the mouth or throat, (2) a significant amount of dark, clotted blood indicating a serious gastrointestinal condition.

Some symptoms that may accompany a dog’s vomiting of blood include: rapid weight loss, bloating, excessive thirst (this can also be a symptom of diabetes in a dog), or darkened stools.

There are some acute illnesses a vet will need to test for and exclude before the possibility of a chronic condition can be diagnosed. These include poisoning of the animal, swallowing of a foreign object, parasites in the gastrointestinal tract, or bad reactions to prescribed medications.

There are some serious chronic gastrointestinal illnesses and diseases than can also cause a dog to vomit blood, including kidney disease, tumors, bowel obstructions, or liver disease.

When a dog vomits blood, it should be considered just as serious as if it were a human vomiting blood. A responsible pet owner will call their vet for an emergency visit should their dog begin vomiting blood.

Don’t take a chance that it’s nothing serious or that the problem will go away on its own. Your pet deserves better treatment than that.

Why Dogs Vomit

Monday, May 11th, 2015

There are many reasons why dogs vomit so if you find your dog vomiting, don’t automatically assume that your dog has an illness.

    The most common reasons why dogs vomit include the following:

(1) Eating foreign objects or plant material. If your dog has swallowed a solid object of some kind it will often vomit it back up. If the foreign object is small enough, it can pass through the intestinal system and you’ll see it in your dog’s stool. If it’s too large or has sharp edges, your dog will continue to suffer and an emergency visit to the vet for x-rays will become a necessary life-saving action.

If you believe your dog may have eaten leaves or berries from a bush, you need to be sure the plant is not poisonous. The easiest way to check is to go online to the ASPCA poison control website at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control. There you’ll find a list of toxic and non-toxic plants, the 17 most common poisonous plants, and animal poison control FAQs.

(2) An allergy to certain foods.
If you have recently started your dog on a new diet and the vomiting began shortly thereafter, you might try mixing half of its old food with half of the new food and watch closely for changes in behavior or lingering illness. It’s possible that an intolerance or aversion to ingredients in the new food may be causing the vomiting. If you suspect this may be the cause, you can continue changing the ratio of old food to the new food to see if the vomiting goes away.

(3) Eating greasy foods or foods higher in fat content.
Table scraps or desserts can easily cause intestinal distress and vomiting in any dog. Their systems were not designed to digest rich, fatty foods that many humans eat on a daily basis. These types of food are often not healthy for us, let alone for our dogs. If your dog vomits soon after scarfing down something from your table, it’s a clear indication that you need to avoid giving it any types of food you normally eat.

Causes of vomiting that require a visit to the vet for diagnosis and treatment:
(4) Infection with parasites, viruses or bacteria can cause gastrointestinal infections also known as viral gastroenteritis. Diarrhea and vomiting are the most obvious symptoms. Many different types of bacteria and parasites can also cause GI infections and diarrhea but most of these are not serious and will go away on their own after a few days; however, others can be serious.

(5) Ulcers which can be caused by anti-inflammatory medications prescribed for skin conditions, arthritis, or other chronic health problems. Pain relief medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen inhibit a hormone-like substance that acts as a protection for a dog’s stomach lining. Prolonged use of these medications can cause severe stomach ulcers in dogs. Another less common cause of canine stomach ulcers is a mast cell cancer in the dog’s skin. Mast cell cancers release histamine which leads to stomach ulcers.

(6) Kidney Failure.
Early signs of kidney failure in dogs are increased water consumption and increased urine output. Signs of more advanced kidney failure include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting and diarrhea.

(7) Cancers.
Some possible signs of cancer that warrant a visit to your veterinarian include any new lump or bump; a change in size, shape, or consistency of an existing lump; a runny nose, especially if bloody; difficulty urinating or bloody urine; limping or a change in gait; foul breath and lethargy.

(8) Inflammatory bowel disease.
The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is unknown. Genetics, nutrition, infectious agents, and abnormalities of the immune system may all play a role. The most common signs of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs are vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Vomiting is more common when the stomach or upper portion of the small intestine are affected and diarrhea is more common when the colon is involved. There is an increase in the frequency of defecation, but less stool is produced each time. There is often increased mucous or some blood in the stool. Sometimes stools become loose. Many times the diarrhea and vomiting may be irregular.

(9) Liver disease.
The early signs of liver disease include chronic intermittent vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting is more common than diarrhea, loss of appetite, or weight loss. Drinking and urinating more often than normal may be the first signs, and a key reason for visiting the vet.

Whenever your dog continues to display any of these symptoms and the cause is not readily apparent, you should schedule an exam with your vet. Your pet’s health and life may depend upon it.

Pet Emergencies Needing a Vet

Monday, November 24th, 2014

An emergency trip to the veterinarian can be very stressful and result in a large bill, and there are some pet emergencies that absolutely require an immediate visit to the vet.

Deciding if your dog’s health problem is so serious that it needs immediate vet care can be a difficult decision that means the difference between spending thousands of dollars versus hundreds of dollars if you can schedule an appointment during regular hospital hours. However, it can also mean the difference between life and death for your dog.

    These are symptoms of problems that require immediate emergency veterinary care:

The most common health problems requiring an emergency visit to the pet hospital are open wounds, serious burns, and broken bones. If your dog has been hit by a car, has been in a fight with another animal, or has fallen victim to some other accident, take it to the emergency vet immediately.

White, blue or pale gums are signs of low blood pressure, poor circulation, anemia, internal bleeding, or shock. These symptoms are a clear sign that something is seriously wrong with your dog.

If you think your dog has ingested a toxic item like chocolates, pesticides, onions, or alcohol, take it to the emergency vet immediately.

If your dog seems lethargic you should take its body temperature. Normal body temperature for dogs ranges between 101 and 102 degrees. If your dog’s temperature is noticeably outside these ranges you need to seek immediate medical attention.

Abnormal and loud cries may indicate your dog is suffering from severe pain even if there are no external symptoms.

Irregular and excessive coughing can be a sign of an infection or possible problems with the trachea, or even the dog’s heart, and will require immediate attention.

A bloated abdomen may indicate serious abdominal trouble and restricted blood flow and may be accompanied by unusual vomiting. If left untreated, this condition can lead to death.

If your dog has heavy or labored breathing it could be attributed to overheating or a respiratory problem, but also could be caused by stress or obesity.

Another serious pet emergency needing a vet visit, is a seizure or unconsciousness. If this happens to your dog, take it to the pet hospital immediately.

To save yourself a needless and costly emergency trip to the vet, call the vet first and describe your dog’s symptoms before going to the pet hospital. The vet may recommend a regular scheduled appointment if he or she doesn’t think the dog’s problem is too serious.

Pet CPR and First Aid

Monday, November 10th, 2014

There could come a time when knowing how to administer CPR and first aid to your dog may mean the difference between saving its life or not.

If your pet is involved in an accident and has been seriously injured, one of the first things you should do is make sure your dog is still breathing. To check its breathing, gently tap your dog, call its name, and watch for up and down movement of its chest so you know if it’s still breathing. Listen carefully to its breathing and try to feel the breath on your cheek or the back of your hand.

If your dog is not breathing, pull its tongue out a little bit, close its mouth and tilt its head slightly to open its airway. Give the dog 4 to 5 breaths from your mouth to its nose. This is called Mouth-to-Snout resuscitation as opposed to Mouth-to-Mouth given to humans. Give the dog just enough air to make its chest rise. Big dogs will need more air than little dogs.

You must check for a pulse. A Femoral Pulse is the easiest to check. This pulse point is located inside the rear leg towards the top of the leg. If your dog has a pulse but is still not breathing, give it Mouth-to-Snout resuscitation and check again for a Femoral Pulse.

If there is still no pulse, place the dog on the ground or a hard surface with its right side facing down. Take its left front leg and bend it at the elbow, rotating the leg at its shoulder. The point where the dog’s elbow touches the body is where you place your hands for compressions. Put one hand on top of the other and clasp your fingers together. Lock your elbows and start performing compressions. Push approximately 2 to 3 inches deep as you compress. Follow this with Mouth-to-Snout resuscitation. After 1 minute check for a pulse. If there is no response start the compressions again, continuing until the dog starts breathing on its own.

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