Category Archives: dog first aid

Steps to Take in a Common Canine Emergency

By Langley Cornwell

At one point or another during life with your dog, you’ll likely encounter some type of canine emergency. And if you are fortunate enough to have a dog that behaves well enough to get out and about with you, it may happen more frequently. When minor predicaments occur, it’s good to know what action to take. Here are three common canine emergencies and what you should do when they strike.

Dog Bites

Dog bites happen. Sometimes it’s because a new dog acts up at the dog park or because a dog slips his lead during a walk. Regardless of how or why it happened, it’s time for you to take action. Clean the wound thoroughly but gently and investigate it. If the skin is broken but the bite does not seem to require stitches, you can avoid a trip to the vet.

Place sterile cotton pads against the clean wound and wrap it all with sterile gauze. Be careful not to wrap the area too tightly because you don’t want to constrict the blood flow. Then put some type of inflatable or cone recovery collar on your dog so he won’t aggravate the area. Change the bandage every day and scrutinize the area for signs of infection. If you notice additional redness, warmth, swelling, oozing or increased sensitivity, then make an appointment with your vet to get it looked at.

Skunk Sprays

This is one area that I have personal experience with. Well, not me exactly (thankfully) but my dog. When I lived up north, I had a Spitz mix who was an escape artist. Every time she got out, she seemed to head straight to her favorite skunk’s house. I’m telling you, this happened several times a month. At the time I thought tomato juice was the antidote so I soaked her in it. Not only did the smell linger, but she ended up looking like a golden retriever most of the time. That juice stained her white hair orange. It was a constant mess.

Skunk spray contains oils that help it stick, so you need a solution that will cut through it. Bathing your dog with a mixture of one quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, a quarter cup of baking soda, and a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap (with grease cutting action) is what some “skunk experts” recommend. The recipe may need to be doubled for large or extra-hairy dogs. If your dog gets hit with a blast of skunk spray and you don’t have those ingredients on hand, white vinegar diluted with water will suffice. Whatever solution you choose, take care to protect your dog’s eyes. You’ll also want to follow up with a bath using your dog’s regular shampoo, and everything should be back to normal.

Bee Stings

For most dogs, bee stings are uncomfortable but manageable; you should remove the stinger and then apply cold compresses to reduce swelling and inflammation. Be extra cautious if your dog is stung in the face or around the mouth area, especially if your dog happens to be a brachycephalic breed like a Bulldog, Pekingese, Pug, Boston Terrier, etc. These dog’s airways are already restricted, so any additional swelling can be serious. You should seek veterinary care in this instance.

It is widely agreed that administering a low dose of anti-histamine like regular Benadryl (not “non-drowsy”) is okay in a bee sting situation for dogs other than the short-nosed breeds. The recommended dose is 25 mg for smaller dogs and 50 mg for larger dogs, but please call your vet to confirm.

After a bee sting, if your dog acts confused, has labored breathing, excess swelling or hives or if he is vomiting or has diarrhea, then go straight to an animal hospital.

We can provide our dogs love and shelter, and feed them premium pet food like CANIDAE grain free PURE, but sometimes things happen that are beyond our control.  Dogs can get into all kinds of mischief, so it’s good to know what steps to take in a common canine emergency.

Top photo by Michelle Tribe/Flickr
Bottom photo by Owen Parrish/Flickr

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

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Ten Practical iPhone Apps for Pet Lovers

By Linda Cole

New technology is always fun, especially when it’s in a phone. Today’s iPhone has apps for pretty much anything a phone user could want. And if you’re a pet lover, there are apps especially for you. If you need to find the nearest dog park or just want to catch up on the latest pet news, there’s an app for that. The following apps are all compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Pet Acoustics: this app gives you streaming music designed especially for your dog, cat or horse. For pets that are afraid of thunderstorms, firework or other loud noises, this app plays soothing music to help keep them relaxed. Helps relieve stress while you wait at the vet’s office as well. Requires iOS 3.1.2 or later. $1.99.

Pet Notebook gives you one place to keep your pet’s important information like birth dates, medications, vet number, ID information and microchip number. It can store information for multiple pets. Requires iOS 3.0 or later. $.99.

PetMD Pet Services Finder helps you locate pet friendly hotels, dog parks, emergency clinics, veterinarians and more. Requires iOS 2.2.1 or later. Free.


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What to Do if Your Dog is Bleeding


By Ruthie Bently

If you discover that your dog has an injury, try to stay as calm as you can. By staying calm you can keep your dog calm as well. They can sense your stress, and the most important thing is to keep them calm. The next thing to do is to determine where the blood is coming from. For example, a dog can cut their paw and it may bleed profusely, though it may not be a serious injury. Check them all over from nose to tail to find out where they are bleeding. By finding the source of the bleeding, you can determine how serious the wound is and proceed from there.

The color of the blood can help you determine if it comes from an artery or a vein. Venous blood will be a dark red color and may ooze from a wound, and arterial blood will be bright red because of its oxygen content. If there is a lot of blood and the wound has stopped bleeding and begun to clot, do not attempt to remove the clot, as this can make the wound begin to bleed again. Wrap the wound in a clean towel or several layers of gauze and tape the wound well but not too tightly, as this can cause swelling in the affected area. This is called a pressure bandage.

If the bleeding is severe and you can’t get the wound to stop bleeding or it is bleeding sluggishly, again apply a pressure bandage and get your dog to the vet or emergency clinic as soon as you can. This situation can be life threatening and time is of the essence. Another way to stop the bleeding is to use a tourniquet, but do not use this method unless advised by your veterinarian, because cutting off the blood flow completely can damage tissue in the surrounding area.

If it is a cut on your dog’s foot, it could be from a foreign object they stepped on outside. The capillaries in a dog’s foot are very close to the surface and they can bleed profusely even if the wound is minor. Carefully examine their foot to find the source of the bleeding. If you don’t see a foreign body lodged in their foot and the bleeding is minimal you can clean it with a mixture of 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% water. If it is the webbed tissue between their pads, it may not stop on its own and may require stitches.

The most important things about a cut on your dog are to get the bleeding stopped and prevent infection. If the cut is a laceration of an inch or more and has any amount of depth to it, it may require stitches. Any cut may become infected, and you should contact your vet about using an antibiotic to keep infection at bay.

My AmStaff, Skye, had an accident that happened when she walked through a broken glass jar one of the cats had knocked off my kitchen shelf. She nicked her right leg, which required two stitches. Her left leg was a more serious injury. She cut the ulnar artery (one of the two in her leg) and cut through two tendons, and the blood was bright red. I don’t tell you this to scare you or gross you out; I just want you to be aware that no matter how careful you are in your own house, accidents can happen when you least expect them, and you need to be prepared.

Because of my quick action, the vet’s prognosis of her regaining the full use of her leg and foot are good. We have a first aid kit for our animals, as every responsible pet owner should. If you want to make one, read Linda Cole’s June article for a list of basic first aid supplies.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Heat Stroke and Your Dog: What are the Signs


By Linda Cole

Heat stroke is a serious medical condition for man and beast. Dogs are just as susceptible to summer heat as we are. Cool spring breezes will usher in summer winds, and we are once again reminded how a hot summer sun affects us and our pets.

A black haired animal has a definite disadvantage under a sweltering summer sun. A darker coat will absorb more of the sun’s rays. A white or lighter colored coat will repel those same rays. However, all dogs, regardless of what color their coat, should have a watchful eye kept on them during outside activities and throughout the sizzling days of summer.

Dogs regulate their body temperature by panting. It works by evaporating water in the mouth and on the tongue. Built up heat in their body is transformed into vapor and expelled through their mouth as they pant. The only area of your dog’s body that does sweat is their foot pads and nose.

Just like us, dogs and cats can suffer from heat stroke. Imagine wearing your winter coat in 80 or 90 degree weather. We can cool down with a cold glass of water or by sitting in front of an air conditioner or fan. Tail waggers that are kept outside don’t have that luxury.

Dogs react to high humidity in the same way we do. So shade and a water bowl full of cool water may not be enough to keep them from overheating. If your pup spends a lot of time outside, try setting up a kiddie pool out of the sun for them to lounge in – with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pool. Keep the water in the pool clean and fresh. Standing water is a haven for mosquito larva, and you certainly don’t want to provide a home for those little blood suckers in your backyard.

Knowing the signs of heat stroke in dogs could save your pet’s life. It is a real emergency that is preventable. It’s up to you as the care taker of your dog to pay close attention to your buddy during periods of excessive heat, especially if you live in an area of the country that also has high humidity. Don’t assume that a full water bowl and a shady tree is enough to protect your dog. Dogs will dehydrate faster in the heat of the day than we will.

If you notice that your dog is wildly panting, has blood red gums, is vomiting, dizzy or staggering, appears to be confused, or has a thick saliva, they are showing signs of heatstroke. If you call them and they appear unable to stand or refuse to move at all, you need to move fast to get them cooled down asap. If they are unconscious, they need to be taken immediately to the vet.

Never use ice on any dog you suspect may be suffering from heat stroke. They need to cool down slowly to avoid constricting the blood vessels which will only make their temperature rise. Get them out of the sun and place cool wet wash rags around their head and on their foot pads. Call your vet for an exam to make sure there has been no internal damage.

The best course of action is to prevent heat stroke before it happens. Each summer, we witness some poor dog locked inside a car in a mall parking lot with a couple of windows cracked for air flow. How would you like to sit in an oven while those who claim they love you are shopping inside an air conditioned store and all you have are a few inches for fresh air to enter your confines? Leave your pooch at home. Even in lower temperatures, a car can heat up quickly for your pet.

Avoid engaging in strenuous outdoor activities during extreme temperatures. Make sure your dog always has plenty of fresh water, both at home and on the go. Know your pet. Some dogs have a harder time with heat than others. Certain breeds with short noses like the bulldog, and dogs who have been in the treat “cookie jar” too many times need to be closely watched for signs of heat stroke.

Common sense along with plenty of fresh water and quality shade can prevent heat stroke from happening. Each summer, hundreds of dogs succumb to overheating but it is so preventable. Keep your furry buddy in mind when you are sweating through the dog days of summer. If that air conditioner or fan feels good on you, just think how good it would feel on your pet.

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.