Spending more time outdoors increases the potential for injuries and accidents for all of us, including our dogs. Many first aid principles are the same for dogs as for humans but, not all. Having a pet first aid kit handy is essential but worthless if you don’t know how to use what’s inside.
Applying first aid techniques for humans TO dogs can sometimes be more dangerous than not doing any first aid measures. Instead, taking your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital may be the best or only action possible to help or save your dog’s life. First things first is to ALWAYS know the phone number, hours of operation, location and route you will travel to get to the nearest veterinary hospital- whether at home or travelling.
Thinking ahead, ie, being proactive, is your best insurance policy. You can make your own first aid kit for your dog. If you purchase a one, be sure to familiarize yourself with the contents. Read the basic first aid insert if one is included, otherwise, purchase a book today. Like people, dogs also suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, bee stings, sunburns, snake bites, swimming and boating accidents and more. And, of course, cuts, slips falls, puncture wounds, and more are bound to happen to your dog at least once in his or her life.
Unlike people, dogs drink and eat from nature’s table, the environment at large. Don’t let your dog drink from puddles…anywhere. Carry a collapsible water bowl with water from home. The rain water on the grass at your local park OR in your own yard! may be diluted with toxic or carcinogenic lawn chemicals. Water in puddles on the street can contain any number of potentially lethal (likely even in small amounts) chemical compounds from vehicles. Antifreeze is NOT the only acute toxin that our pets adn wildlife can consume that can lead to death within 48 hours.
When swimming, it’s impossbile to keep dogs from taking in water so it’s important to choose where you allow your dog to swim carefully.
Freshwater– If the pond or lake is one in which people swim, the water is likely tested regularly according to state laws. As the season progresses, both plant overgrowth and boating (fuel leaks) can significantly change the pH of the water and cause overgrowth of bacteria… AND, your dog may experience fallout as intestinal (diarhea) or skin irritations and more.
Ocean– Swallowing salt water while swimming can cause dogs to vomit and/or experience enema-like effects. If this happens to your dog, it is important to know that this purging can be a life thereatening situation as the salt concentration can overwhelm the kidneys. Many dogs are just fine after swimming in the ocean but it is prudent to monitor them closely afterward, especially the first time your dog goes to the beach.
Water safety rules apply to dogs too…When boating, dogs should also wear flotation vests. Dogs can drown too. Strong river currents, ocean undertows, exhaustion and falls from the shore causing head and other injuries. At home swimming pools create hazardous conditions for dogs too. Having an exit ramp for your dog is critical.
As with people, dogs have more accidents close to or at home. It’s important to know what your dog is doing at all times. Dogs exploring the house or yard can easily come in contact with many poisons, some obvious and others not so. There are a number of indoor and outdoor plants that dogs and cats should NOT consume.
A discussion about summer is never complete without mentioning BBQs and the Fourth of July and regarding dogs, thunderstorms. Dogs must be supervised around the grill, especially those that counter-surf! I’ve heard of just one very serious burn injury to a dog while helping herself to the open grill. With regard to the 4th of July celebrations, please be do not take your dog with you to the fireworks. In fact, if the fireworks can be heard from your home, you may want to have someone remain at home with your dog, OR, board your dog at a kennel far away from any fireworks. If your dog bothered by thunderstorms, please get help sooner rather than later as no matter how bad it is now, it can always get worse.
Accidents happen to all living beings. The possibilites are endless. I hope this list has been helpful! Have a great summer!