You should know this: Life-saving pet first aid

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Puppy first aid Can you give your pet emergency assistance until professional help is available? Do you know what to do for your pet in an emergency?

Every pet owner should have a comprehensive book on first aid for pets and keep it handy. Ask your veterinarian to recommend one.

Here are some tips for you:

VITAL Signs for Cats & Dogs

Normal heart rate ranges between 80 to 140 beats per minutes for a dog and between 120 and 180 for a cat. Find the heartbeat by placing your hands around the chest just behind the elbow and gently pressing.

Normal body temperature for a cat or dog is between 100.5 and 102.5 F. Apply lubricant to the bulb of a rectal thermometer and gently insert 2 inches into the rectum, holding the animal, its tail, and the thermometer steady. The reading can be taken after 1 or 2 minutes.

To check for respiration observe movement in the chest. Placing a thread or hair in front of the nose will detect even the slightest flow of air.

Mouth-to-Nose Respiration

Remove any mucus or foreign material from the mouth and pull the animal’s tongue forward.

Place your mouth over the animal’s nostrils and blow a steady stream of air for 2 to 3 seconds.

Remove your mouth for 2 to 3 seconds and allow air to exit the animal’s lungs.

Continue until normal breathing resumes which could take as long as an hour.

Check the heart throughout and apply external heart massage if the heartbeats stop.

Wrap in something warm and seek veterinary help.

Heimlich Maneuver

Hold the animal against you and clasp your hands around the upper abdomen; or lay the animal on a firm surface and place one hand on top of the other, with the heel of the bottom hand placed into the midline of the abdomen just below the rib cage.

Forcibly push or lift upward one or more times to dislodge the object.

If you have someone with you get them to open the animal’s mouth and hold its tongue and lower jaw. You remove the object with fingers or forceps.

A veterinarian should check the animal for injury.

If you suspect POISONING:

Always call a veterinarian or poison-control center immediately.

If you are told to give liquids, use a spoon or syringe or basting tube, hold the animal firmly, grasp the mouth and keep the head tilted back. For dogs, form a pocket by pulling the corner of the mouth away from the jaw. Keep the head elevated and stroke the throat to encourage swallowing. NEVER give liquids to an animal that is not alert.

Keep a 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide on hand to mix with water as an emetic.

Do not induce vomiting if a strong acid or alkali or a petroleum-based product has been ingested. Milk or water may be given in most cases to wash the esophagus.

Transporting an injured animal:

When approaching an injured animal, always remember that pain and fright may cause even the most mild-mannered pet to bite or scratch. Approach an injured animal calmly and slowly and never put your face in a vulnerable position as even a partially paralyzed animal may be able to lunge. If an injured animal appears too dangerous to handle on your own, then DON’T. Contact your local humane society or animal-control center for help.

USE A BLANKET: A blanket held at the four corners makes an effective stretcher. A smaller animal like a cat may be wrapped in a coat or towel and the placed in a box to keep quiet.

DOGS: If the dog is small and calm, it can be carefully lifted by scooping it up gently, keeping its back straight and level. If broken bones are suspected, support the dog’s trunk and let the affected limb dangle freely. Heavier dogs may be carried by pulling them onto a blanket or sturdy sheet. By holding tightly at the corners, you and a partner can use the blanket as a stretcher.

CATS: Lift a cat by firmly holding the scruff of the neck with one hand and supporting the underside of the body with the other. Fractious cats may be covered with a towel before being handled and placed in a sturdy box or carrier. Wear gloves while handling such a cat if at all possible.