Knowledge of basic first aid for your dog could easily make the difference between life and death this spring and summer as your outdoor activities rise with the warmer temperatures. Learn to recognize a medical emergency and familiarize yourself with at least the basics so that you will be prepared if something does happen to your dog.This knowledge will help you to remain calm and to be able to act quickly and effectively in case of an emergency.
Here are a few tips to remember that will help assure that you and your dogs have an enjoyable and safe summer:
- Put together a basic first aid kit that includes items that you can use on your dog and keep it with you whenever you go out.
- Keep the phone numbers of area veterinarians in your phone. If you travel, look up emergency vet offices as well as regular vet offices in the areas where you will be, just in case you may need them.
- Train your dog to have a solid recall and familiarize him with many different areas and situations so that he won’t potentially spook in a new environment and become lost. (Read our blog Introduction to Clicker Training to learn how to develop a solid recall.)
- If you do travel and you plan on being out in the country, make sure you are aware of any potential dangers such as poisonous snakes, bears or cougars, in those areas that you will be. When possible, train your dog to avoid them, or keep him leashed.
- Be aware of hazards such as cliffs and ledges that the dog may chase a rabbit over.
- Be aware of waterways that are swollen from heavy spring melt off. Also be aware of potential floods from summer rain storms, especially if you are in the canyon areas of the southwest.
- During the hot, dry season, be aware of any forest fire danger if you are out in the back country. It is a good idea to be in the habit of checking the horizon for any smoke.
MOST COMMON RISKS TO BE AWARE OF
Be aware of possible insect bites and stings that may cause an allergic reaction.While Benadryl can be used for minor irritations, severe reactions need to be addressed by a veterinarian immediately.
Always be aware of your surroundings and the dangers they may have in store for your dog. Just like raising a small child, make sure that the toys and other items that the dog has access to are not potential choke hazards. Also, know your dog and what he may get into or play with that is not as obvious to you. Make it a point to learn artificial respiration, heart massage and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, especially if you are out in the country away from immediate assistance frequently. Be prepared for an emergency so that you can remain calm when your dog needs you the most. Knowledge will be a tremendous help for this. Even if you never have to use it, it is better to be prepared than to find yourself in a situation where your dog is relying on you and you do not know what to do.