Archive for the ‘Emergency First Aid for Canines’ Category

That title sounds angrier than I intend it to be, but I feel the need to discuss something that persists among my German Shepherd family and Friends…It’s dangerous for your dog, and serves no purpose to you.  What is it?

Stop worrying that your German Shepherd needs to gain weight and be the biggest canine on the block!!!!  Stop trying to find a dog-food that will pack on weight!!!!  Chances are GREAT that your 6 month old puppy is growing at a natural rate!!!!  Your Veterinarian is the best judge of your dogs  weight and growth.  (I know it’s fashionable in some circles to scoff at Veterinarians advice, but please don’t fall into that trend.  That’s another rant, totally.)

It feels great to shout that out to the world, but I wish that more people would listen to the advice.  I know that some won’t, but if I can help anyone to understand this I will be pleased.

This rant, and make no mistake, it is a rant, (Bordering dangerously on becoming an episode of pure Raving.)  has a greater purpose.  Stop making the German shepherd something he was never intended to be!  Von Stephanitz developed a working dog that needed to move well, and do so all day!  Bigger dogs begin to fall short of these traits!

When a Veterinarian looks at your German Shepherd during an examination, he or she expects to see a male  dog between 23 and 26 inches at the shoulder.  He or she also anticipates a standing weight of between 65 and 80 pounds.  (For the metric world that’s 60 cm to 65cm in height, and 30 to 40 kg in weight)  For Females 21 to 24 inches high (55cm to 60 cm) and 50 to 70 pounds weight (22 kg – 50 pounds)  Some dogs are bred to parents that may be taller in stature, by 2 or 3 inches.  A small deviation in weight is normal.  But breaking the 100 pound mark is unnecessary!!!

And then there is that foolish game called “My Dogs Bigger than your dog!”  I’m sure it happens in many of the large breeds as well, but many German Shepherd people are definitely guilty of it.  If you went to a grade school on the first day of a kindergarten class, and all the new parents were standing by comparing their children’s weight, we’d be horrified.

“Hey! There’s my son Brandon…he’s already at 88 pounds and he’s only 5!  His mother and I wanted a big boy, and we sure got him!”

 “Oh yeah?  Well there’s my Susie over there, and she’s over 100 pounds already!  She’s an eating machine!”

Yes, that’s what it sounds like when people get on Facebook or Twitter and start railing on about how “Big” their puppy is already!  The German shepherd should be judged on it’s athleticism, it’s stamina,  it’s lithe and strong frame wrapped in muscles like steel cables.  Not on what I call, “Fat-Assery”.   I’m coming on strong here I know.  But too many finely bred dogs are under-exercised, over-fed, and condemned to shortened lifespans because so many believe they can create a larger dog.  You dog will become whatever genetics has bequeathed to him or her.  Let that make your dog whatever it will be, and stop making size the end- all-be-all.  If you believe that size alone will be impressive, or a deterrent to bad people, you are wrong.  Most dogs that do protective work, or patrol work, are lean, strong, and agile.  “Fat-Assery” is the polar-opposite.  German shepherds are not Middle Linebackers.  They’re Defensive Ends and Wide-receivers.  Strong and fast.  For a short time, at about 18 months old, my GSD “Hans” was at 105 pounds.  I noticed that he was struggling thru practices and callouts.  I realized that it was my fault for believing that my dog needed to be large.  He wasn’t Unfit, but he needed to be exceptionally fit.  We took immediate action, and I now keep him at 85 pounds, which is truly “Rocky Balboa” fit for his height.  When my dog keeps going strong, and larger GSD’s are falling off the trail because they’re too heavy, he’s King of the World.

While I have lost the URL of the below information, I have retained the author’s name so that he can have  proper credit for the work.  I believe it was from the Purina website at one time, but that has been lost to me.  Read it please, and understand that this is for the good of your dog…

Effects of obesity in dogs – by Tom Osterkamp

Studies and experience have determined that the negative impacts of obesity on dogs include:

1. A compromised immune function

2. Abnormal glucose tolerance

3. Acute pancreatitis

4. Greater risk for anesthetic and surgical complications

5. Heat and exercise intolerance

6. Cardiovascular disease

7. Greater risk for osteoarthritis

8. Decreased median life span

Of particular interest is that by restricting caloric intake and maintaining a lean body condition we can increase median life span and prevent the manifestation of chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis. In overweight dogs, osteoarthritis changes appear earlier in life, are more severe, and require more medication compared with their restricted-fed siblings (Mlacnik et al., 2006). Since osteoarthritis is one of the primary reasons for retiring working dogs, these results indicate that it may be possible to extend the working life of our search dogs significantly (perhaps 1 to 2 years) by restricting caloric intake and by providing sufficient exercise to keep the dogs fit.

Take the time now to look at a chart I’m sure you’ve seen before.  These are of course, meant to indicate an Adult dog.  Please consult with your veterinary professional for sub-adult and puppies.

That’s the end of this ranting for now, please accept it as friendly advice and for the benefit of your four-legged buddy.  Do Your Best For Your Dog, And He’ll Always Give You His Best In Return!!!!

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“German Shepherd Adventures” was first published on the ubiquitous Facebook.  As my posts became longer, and more photo-centric, I moved into the wonderful world of WordPress.  I love my online home here, and I am ever so thankful that this well-run, and easy to use site exists.  WordPress you are THE BEST!!!

Recently, as Facebook has become more of a mind to make as much cash as possible, or gather as much  information about its users as possible, they are making it more and more difficult to publicize and share my blog there.  At times, I have received messages from FB stating that I am writing SPAM, and will be prevented from posting for as much as 15 days at a time.  I do NOT sell anything on “German Shepherd Adventures”, I do not espouse political or religious views, but rather, I write a very positive blog that most dog lovers seem to enjoy.  Why “German Shepherd Adventures” has suddenly been branded  as SPAM by the FB people is beyond my understanding.  I can no longer depend on them as a conduit to spread information that helps people and their dogs.  It’s apparently okay to spread other “unsavory” sites featuring puking, drunkenness, violence, and foul language, but not stories and information about German Shepherds.  So be it.

That’s why I’d like to invite as many of you as would like to Subscribe to “German Shepherd Adventures” by hitting the “Follow” button at the top of the page.  If you don’t like my posts, you don’t have to do anything.  I suspect that perhaps someone on FB has labeled “GSA” as Spam enough times to make some computer somewhere take this action.  If you don’t want to read something you disagree with, I’ve never forced you to do so.  I’ve survived other attacks on FB over training methods, and perhaps one of those knuckle-draggers has something to do with this.  I don’t know…

So, please, if you enjoy my blog, come on over and subscribe.  I promise you it will be free, and I’ll continue to do my best to entertain, enthuse, inspire, and help you out with every post!   Thanks for your support!!   Robert Vaughan

It’s just another day out with your dog.  Not a care in the world.  But suddenly, your dog collapses for reasons you don’t understand…Maybe he takes a fall, steps on something sharp, overheats, maybe he is drowning, maybe the dog has a seizure, perhaps takes a tumble while training.  A Thousand possibilities exist…What do you do?  A FAST reaction can save your dogs life.  Panic and ignorance are sure killers.  It takes effort and planning to be prepared.  You will need to do some reading, you will need to spend some money, you will need to push what you think you can handle in an emergency.  The good news is that, “It won’t kill you, and it might save your dogs life.”

Your Dog Depends On You To Be Prepared…

Your most important and vital tool in emergency situations is your CELL-PHONE.  Is your Vets phone number programmed into your phone?  As emergency back-up, also include 2 or 3 other nearby Veterinary hospitals as back-up.  Do it NOW.

BE PREPARED/BE CALM/HAVE A PLAN/HAVE YOUR PHONE READY!

Procedures:

Thoroughly assess situation before reacting.  REMAIN CALM, your dog will feed off your reaction.  Be FIRM, but Gentle.  Assess whether or not you will need to muzzle the dog.  Is the dog lethargic or hyperactive?

Is the dog breathing properly?  (Panting may be normal.)  Is the Airway clear?

Check for heartbeat.  (Tips of fingers under the chest wall and thumb opposing.  Attempt CPR         ONLY  IF NECESSARY.

Recognizing SHOCK. – Shock is a failure of circulation of blood.

*Check the Capillary Refill time in the gums.

* refill time after pressure is normally 1 to 2 seconds.

* Push finger against upper gum line.

* Count seconds until color of gum returns to normal.

* What color is the mucus membrane?  Pale? Purple? Deep Purple?

* CHECK BREATHING:  Rate of breathing…Depth of Breathing…Ease of Breathing.

* Dogs Mental condition:  Anxious?   In Obvious pain?  Depressed or withdrawn, hiding?

* Heart rate and Pulse STRENGTH. ( Strong? Weak? Thready?  Difficult to locate?)

* Temperature extremes- Over heated?  Frozen?

* Obvious EXTERNAL bleeding.  Where?  Flowing or Pulsing?  Dark and arterial, or bright and superficial?  Bubbles(Lung puncture)

* Check for Abdominal pain, obstruction, fluid.   Is the stomach wall hard?  Is it pliable?  Palpate very carefully in examination.

*  Disturbance of Circulation (SHOCK) can follow ANY serious injury.  Dog will have white to pale to grey Coloration in the gums.  Capillary refill time will be prolonged or absent.  A dazed or semi-conscious attitude in the dog will be apparent.  Weak, Rapid, or Thready pulse.  Shallow respirations.  Grunting may be present at end of In Breathing.  Head may be extended to facilitate breathing.  Breathing will be choked and difficult.  Weakness and or collapse may occur.

*What is the dogs LEVEL of Consciousness?

TREATMENT FOR SHOCK:

Arrange transport to Veterinary help immediately.

Keep the dog as quiet as possible, avoiding panic.

Utilize something that will serve as a stretcher for transport

Clear dogs mouth of foreign debris or mucus, vomitus.

If possible and necessary, perform CPR or Artificial respiration.

Unless the problem is heat related, cover with a blanket.

No fluids should be administered orally at this time.  Choking is  a possibility.

Keep HEAD at HEART level.

TREATMENT FOR EXTERNAL BLEEDING:

Leg wounds can bleed fiercely!  A makeshift muzzle may be needed. Demonstrate.

Rapid flush with Saline or clean water.

Apply firm, steady pressure directly over wound.

Heavy gauze is best, but any clean, soft material, can be used as pressure bandage.

Before  applying permanent bandaging, lift pressure bandage to re-check blood flow.

If possible flush wound with saline or clean, cool  water.

If available, apply Celox or other coagulant.

Re apply pressure bandage.

Wrap stretch gauze around pressure bandage to secure.

Bandage may stay in place 1 to 2 hours.  Transport Dog as soon as possible to Veterinarian.

If the entire limb is NOT bandaged, circulation must be restored every 25minutes. Repeat

above  procedures with clean materials.

If bleeding is deep and PUMPING, DIRECT  PRESSURE is best treatment.

In The Event of a puncture wound that may have entered the lung or heart, check whether or not air is flowing freely thru the hole.  If NOT, Do Not Attempt to Remove the object.  If air IS flowing, pinch off the exit wound tightly and  transport ASAP.

TREATMENT AND RECOGNITION OF INTERNAL BLEEDING:

Always suspect internal bleeding after any Blunt force trauma.  External indication may be masked for some time by your dog.  Look for these behaviors:

Anxiety or restlessness

Rapid, thread pulse

Pale Gums

Nausea

Vomiting

Excessive Thirst

Blood coming from any  body orifice.

Soft tissues may become hard to the touch.

Weakness

If Internal bleeding is suspected, you need to transport the dog ASAP.  The dog should be lying down, with rear legs slightly above front,

Make the dog as comfortable as possible.  If applicable, cover the dog lightly with blanket or towel.

Stay focused and calm, imparting your confidence to the dog.

Remember, the dog is probably shocky as well, treat as such.

Call the Vet and give a heads up that you are en route.

CPR and Artificial Respiration:

Cardio Pulmonary resuscitation can do great harm and should be a last resort.  Dog should show no sign or indication of heartbeat.

Lay dog on it’s Right side.

Check the dogs mouth and throat for obstruction.  Tongue may need to be retracted.

Best position for you is at the dogs back.

Without bending the elbows, place your left palm over heart region of the dog (SHOW) with right palm on top of left.  Press, do not slam, the ribcage into compression.

Compress for a count of ONE, release for a count of ONE.  Approximately 30 to 60 compressions per minute.

Every 10 compressions should be followed by ONE breath of Artificial respiration.  Close dogs muzzle and breath into nostrils slowly but with determination.  Look for lungs to inflate.

If another capable individual is close, perform ONE breath every TWO chest compressions.

10 minutes is the longest that you should attempt this.  Anything longer is futile.  And you will be near physical exhaustion anyway.

This should be a last resort.  CPR on canines has a depressingly low positive outcome.

FRACTURES:       Most fractures are caused by accidents of varying types.  Preparation and use of protocols for shock and bleeding should coincide with treatment.  Stay alert for other symptoms that will take priority over broken bones, such as No Breathing or Heart stoppage.

Most commonly broken bones in canines are femurs, pelvis, skull, jaw, and spine.  If a fracture has broken thru epidermal layer (skin) it becomes a Compound fracture, with great risk of infection.  Treat the wound for cleanliness as your priority, create as sterile an environment as possible

Take precaution regarding being bitten by the dog.  Apply a muzzle if available, or jury-rig one with shirt, towel, sock or belt.

Open wounds should be treated as soon as all symptoms have been triaged.

Splinting a fracture can relieve pain, shock, and further damage, but must be prepared for before you need this skill.  Improper splinting can cause more damage to the injury.  Simply put, you are NOT Re-setting the bone here by manipulating the bone. You are preventing a broken limb from swinging freely and causing more damage.

If the dog resists, let the limb alone, but do your best to keep the dog as still as possible.  Remain Calm!

Never move the limb, but splint it in the shape you find it.

Found objects that can be used as splints on fractures of the legs are magazines, paperback books, boards, newspapers.

Splints may be tie off, but not to tightly with string, wire, neckties, strips of material etc.

Difficult to splint areas should be left alone, and the dog transported lying down on a stiff mode of transport.

Head injuries and Spinal cord involved injuries require special care.  Utilize your cellphone before attempting any of the following.

SKULL FRACTURES:  Such fractures can be subtle (hidden) or gross (bloody, with skull mishapening)    Contusions may be apparent with or without Loss of Consciousness.  Dog will be dazed.  Keep the dog calm and prone if possible.

If the dog is unconscious, or was, then always suspect CONCUSSION.

Always Treat for SHOCK with above Protocols as priority before worrying about the fractures.

Be certain that the dog is breathing and CAN breath.  Check airway for obstruction.

Handle the dog with great care, and remain calm.  Feeling panic from you will excite and exacerbate the dogs injuries and mental condition.

Control bleeding as described before.

Devise a suitable flat stretcher for transport.  Do NOT LIFT the dog onto the stretcher, but slide it Under the dog following grain of the dogs hair.  Take this procedure slowly!!!  Take this procedure slowly!!!  Be observant for the dogs indications of pain or discomfort.

Observe and record signs of alertness from beginning of treatment thru to arrival at hospital.  Observe level of consciousness, eye movement, breathing, pupil reactions, and breathing.  Info vital to attending Veterinarian.

Transport dog with HEAD Higher than rear end, so as to alleviate cranial pressure.

Make note of any seizure activity.

Duct tape, with cloth underlay can sometimes be utilized to prevent thrashing of the dog.

SPINAL INJURIES:  Protocols for Spinal injuries are similar to Skull fractures in that EXTREME care must be taken into consideration.  As with every injury, use your Cellular Phone and contact the Veterinarian before attempting any procedure you are not comfortable with…Most important is to limit the dogs range of motion during transport.

BURN TREATMENT:  Burns can occur from many sources including chemicals, (internal and external)  Automobile exhausts, and other parts, hot pavement tar, fires in fireplaces, grass or campfires.  It is vital that you be aware of you’re your dogs curious nature, and guide him from situations that can lead to burns of any sort.

Before treatment, always prioritize the dogs symptoms into what is most vital.  Shock, Airway, Breathing always take precedent!

Any and all burns are best treated immediately with cool, running, clean water.  Submergence is acceptable if the temperature is not cold.

Do not attempt to administer any creams or ointments to the initial burn.

Do not burst any blisters that may form as a result of burn.

CHOKING:  (Referring specifically to foreign objects lodged in the mouth or throat)

Is the dog breathing?  Salivating?  Coughing?

Is an object visible and graspable?  If not, attempt to determine what may be lodged in the throat/larynx.  (Look around for bones, cloth, rope, etc.

Check the dogs tongue for proper position.

DO NOT Poke any visible obstruction, as forcing it further will complicate.

Lay dog on its side, and employ a helper to hold the dog in position.  If possible, have the obstruction in an outward and down position, allowing gravity to assist you in removal.  A pair of forceps or needle-nose pliers in you kit can be a great asset.  If manual removal is not possible:

Canine Heimlich Manuever:  Approach the dog from the rear, and place your arms around the dog.  Your fists should be placed into the sternum gap located at the bottom of the rib-cage.  Compress the body with a single upward thrust.  If the initial thrust is unsuccessful, repeat 4 or 5 times in succession.  You are forcing air up the larynx, which will usually dislodge the object.

If the object dislodges by your actions, observe the dog for bleeding, continued retching, fainting.

Dog should then be transported for veterinary examination.

If your attempts do not stop the choking, be sure that the dog is breathing at least adequately, and transport immediately.  Remain Calm…

Remember, your dog can also breathe thru his nose, but this is still an EMERGENCY situation.

FROSTBITE:

Dogs will often not show that they are frostbitten!  You MUST be mindful of this in conditions that cause it.  Be especially aware that the tail, ear tips, foot-pads, and scrotum are especially vulnerable to frost-bite damage.

Frost-bitten skin will be pale white (dead looking) or blue in color.  If circulation returns, the skin will be deep red and swollen, perhaps badly.  Uncirculating will cause the skin to turn black and necrotic.

Treatment:  Apply warm not Hot water soaks to the affected area.  Using a towel is a best practice.  As the skin changes color, you may begin to return the dog to normal heat inside.  DO NOT RUB OR MASSAGE the affected area as damage can be done to the skin.  Follow up with a Veterinarian.

Be aware that as sensation returns, the affected area can be quite painful to the touch.  You may need to restrain the dog from biting or licking.

HEAT STROKE: (HYPERTHERMIA)

Dogs do not sweat, and therefore cannot tolerate HOT Atmospheric conditions.  PANTING is the dogs only means of naturally lowering their own core temperature, and when the ambient air temperature approaches their natural body temperature, (100 to 102.5 f. for adults, 97 to 99 for puppies) panting becomes an inefficient system.

PREVENTION-  A) Don’t leave a dog in a closed car even at lower temps of 50 degrees or more.  B) Curtail strenuous exercise during warm weather.  C) Play in water is a great alternative in warm weather  D) Always provide shade and fresh water to your dog whether inside or out.

INDICATIONS OF HEAT STROKE-  Heavy Panting or Labored breathing.   Dogs mouth, tongue, and gums will be BRIGHT RED.  Dogs saliva will become thick and viscous, and vomiting will occur.  Rectal temp will climb to 104 to 110.   Shock may set in, (See SHOCK protocols)  Seizures, collapse, and sudden expiring can occur.

TREATMENT- Emergency COOLING (a gradual, not SUDDEN process) is necessitated.  Move dog into an air-conditioned room first.  Monitor temperature rectally if possible.  Mild condition will quickly resolve itself.  If rectal temperature exceeds 103, dog should be cooled with cool water from a hose, bucket, or other device.  COOL Water, not COLD!  Too rapid a change can induce shock.  It may also work to place a wet dog in front of a Fan.  After a Heatstroke event, a Veterinary check-up for after effects is highly recommended.  Cardiac Arrythmia, kidney failure, and seizures are possible effects.

DROWNING :

Treatment- Flush as much water from dogs lungs as possible.  Turn dog with mouth and nose down and allow gravity to help.

Check for pulse and breathing.  If absent, place dog on its RIGHT side and begin Mouth-to-Nose breathing.

Dogs from cold water can be revived! Don’t give up!

ELECTRICAL SHOCK:

May occur when a dog bites or chews and electrical cord.

Do not allow dog to urinate on Holiday lights, yard lights, or path marker lights!

A Shocked dog may be found unconscious near an electrical source.

Heartbeat will be irregular heartbeat, followed by Cardiac Arrest.

Shock also may damage the capillaries of the Lungs.  Fluid can build up, causing pulmonary edema.

Remember that if your dog has bitten thru a wire, he may be UNABLE to let the wire go.  You will need to help him immediately!!

TREATMENT:  NEVER  touch a dog or person that you suspect may still be in contact with the electrical source!!!  Examine the scene thoroughly but quickly, assessing positively that the source is gone or deactivated.  If the source is still ALIVE, either find a way to  turn off the power first, or remove the contact with your dog by using a NON_CONDUCTIVE material…(Rope, Towel, Leather Leash, hose material)

CPR Protocols shall now be followed

PREVENTION:  COVER OR HIDE ALL ELECTRICAL SOURCES AND CORDS.

EYE INJURIES:

Foreign body in the eye requires an assistant to steady the dog.

A muzzle or towel may be needed to prevent biting.

Fresh water or saline is needed.  A small squirt bottle will work best for flushing.

Demonstrate opening the eye for flushing with water.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE TWEEZERS OR OTHER TOOLS TO REMOVE ANYTHING!  DAMAGE CAN BE MADE MUCH WORSE

In an emergency situation, only flushing the eye should be attempted.  Transport the dog NOW!

INGESTION OF CHOCOLATE:

Caused by  METHYLXANTHINES which are toxic to dogs but not people.

Large dogs can be effected by as little as 16 ounces of BAKING chocolates.  Brownies or chocolate cake are reason for alarm.

Symptoms include Excitability, uncontrolled urination, diarrhea, rapid breathing, weakness, seizures, or coma.

If dog has not yet vomited, induce vomiting: A)  Use HYDROGEN PEROXIDE One (1) TEASPOON per 10 pounds of body weight.  Repeat at 15 minute intervals until dog vomits.  DO NOT USE SYRUP OF IPECAC!!!!

AFTER Dog has vomited, compressed activated charcoal  can be administered.  These are 5 gram tablets, one (1) tablet per 10 pounds of weight.  This will arrest further poison absorption.  YOU SHOULD HAVE THESE IN YOUR KIT!

GENERAL PROTOCOLS IN POISONING:

Put this number in your phone:  (800) 548-2423   or   (900) 680-0000   These are the National Animal Poison Control Center.  Again, also have your Vets number close and available by putting it in your cell phone!!!

First priority is finding out what the dog has ingested.  Collect a sample if substance is unknown, or known, and bring it with you!!

Be PREPARED to induce vomiting if you are instructed to do so by your phone call.

If the container of the substance says “Do Not Induce Vomiting”,    DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING.

General rule of thumb: Do Not Induce Vomiting if:

Dog has already vomited

Dog is unconscious ,suffering seizures, or having breathing difficulty

If the dog has ingested  ACID, ALKALI, CLEANING SOLUTIONS, PETROLEUM PRODUCTS.

If the dog has swallowed a SHARP or POINTED object.

I wholeheartedly beg you to research what is considered POISON to your dog, including plants, foods, and chemicals.  Poisoning is a top reason that dogs die en route to veterinary care.  Forewarned is forearmed.

This is by no means a compendium of every situation that can arise.  However, in my experience as a First Responder, its enough for anyone to get your dog to professional help quickly and still alive.  Take the time to read it, make a copy of it, and PRACTICE.  Gathering a few items will prove worth the time if something happens.  Find someone in your area that teaches a Canine First-Aid course, and complete it.  Look into Dog Day care centers, Groomers, or even your Vets office for such a class.

I sincerely hope that you NEVER need this knowledge, but chances are good that you will use at least some of it.  You have your assignment…Your dog is counting on YOU!!!! 

I’m not  your “New-Agey, Touchy-Feely, Transcendant Being”, kind of guy.  I like beer, beef jerky, and hunting.  I’m happiest in Wild Places miles from Cable TV, Cell-phone coverage, World News anything, and batteries.  I like eating broiled meat off the tip of my belt knife (which I may have scratched my back with only moments ago), and drinking coffee from a pot that has egg shells in it, from over an open fire.  And I love eating bacon from a cast iron skillet that also has trout merrily frying away in it.  I like chain saws, and double-bitted axes, and campfires that overlook blue water in deep, boreal forests.

With that manly and testosterone injected disclosure, I approach the subject at hand with an enthusiasm that shocks even me.  I have seen the benefits, the connections and the results of Massage for my Dogs.

Hopefully, your dog works hard, plays hard, and spends his days burning calories and fulfilling his need for activity.  Whether he is practicing  Agility, Schutzhund, Trieball, catching bad-guys, playing fetch, or shredding your $2000.00 leather sofa, he gets tired and in need of relaxation.  It’s also a great bonding between you and your dog.  That’s right, this is not about getting a massage for your dog, but about Giving your dog a massage yourself.  Strengthening the bond between you…

The Internet has a great variety of sites dedicated to Massage Therapy for Dogs…as per usual, some of them are just crazy.  Place hot rocks on a dog’s body?  Yeah that’ll be real successful.  Not that this treatment doesn’t feel GREAT to a human!  Dogs just don’t sit still for such goings-on lightly.  One other site asks you to help your dog “Meditate”.  Riiiggghhhhttt…The deepest thought on most dogs mind is, “Hey…I pooped in the middle of the yard…”    (Use THAT as a mantra!!!)

But, in the middle of all the chaff, are a couple of wheat stalks.  These are the benefits that I’ve gathered regarding Canine Massage:

Dog massage therapy promotes and improves the physical and mental health of our canine partners. This non-invasive technique of hands-on deep tissue massage can enhance the health and performance of our four-legged friends by:

  • relieving tension
  • relaxing muscle spasms
  • lengthening connective tissue
  • improving muscle tone
  • improving circulation
  • increasing flexibility
  • accelerating recovery time

I gathered this litany from a site found here.  http://canine-massagetherapy.com/Home_Page.html   This is a business that will do the job for you, near Point Pleasant, New Jersey.  I like this site for the tone it takes.  They treat this as a Physical treatment for pain, strength building, health, and welfare of your dog.  It’s a Doctors practice, not a voodoo hut, or Pixie-dust dispensary.  While it doesn’t teach you to do the job, it explains the benefits very nicely.

Each of my dogs react differently to massage treatments.  My 3-year-old working GSD Hans, becomes a big lump of soft-serve German Shepherd, and often ends up asleep before we finish.  On the other hand, it seems to energize our year and a half old female GSD.  We have learned that doing massage before practice or competition, fires her up!  Holly also enjoys a heating pad (set on LOW, and NEVER without supervision!!!)

My technique follows no rules that I know of from the professionals.  I just observe what the dog enjoys, and they gladly communicate too me what they enjoy.  I have however, made canine anatomy an area of intense study.  The muscles, nerves, and bone structure of the dog is important to understand, as attempting to extrapolate knowledge about YOUR own anatomy on to the dog is impossible. In other words,what feels good to you, might not be so good to your dog.  My advice is to find a good book on Anatomy, and give it more than a cursory read.  Here are a couple of  good examples that are not crazy expensive.  http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Anatomy-Coloring-Robert-Kainer/dp/1893441172/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353256641&sr=1-1&keywords=canine+anatomy

http://www.amazon.com/Canine-Muscular-Anatomy-Anatomical-Company/dp/1587795043/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353256641&sr=1-12&keywords=canine+anatomy

and, finally, a Massage Specific book:  http://www.amazon.com/Canine-Massage-Complete-Reference-Manual/dp/1929242085/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353256641&sr=1-11&keywords=canine+anatomy

A brief description of how I massage my dogs will be a starting point for you.  I highly recommend that you do some research for yourself, and your dog …

First, I make sure that I am calm.  This also guides the  dog to be in a calm state of mind.  I will sit in a straight-backed chair and put the dog in a Sit, facing me.  I first begin by gently stroking the dogs snout in small, circular motions with fingers only, above the upper tooth line, externally.  Take your time, and work this all the way to the top of his head until you feel a “crest” on the cranium, up the center of the skull.  At this point, begin to widen the circles outward, until you are behind the dogs ears.  Then, move forward on the skull, following the contour of the ear bases, and then down the jaw line.  Work this area, and don’t forget to rub gently around the eye-socket.  Facial massage feels good too many dogs, as long as it is slow and gentle.  Use this time to lift the jowls of the dog to inspect his teeth as well.  (While I recommend that you BRUSH YOUR DOGS TEETH daily, don’t interrupt his massage.)

Now begin working backwards towards the dogs upper neck.  Work your way in circular motions to the topline just behind the cranium.  Work your way down the neck to the upper shoulder.  Then begin working your way forward lower on the sides of the dog’s neck to the chest area.  By the time I reach this stage, my dogs are trying to lie down.  If so, allow the dog to do so.  If not, work the dog’s neck and jaw line a bit more, in a firm but very gentle manner.  Depending on his level of relaxation, it may seem that your dog wants to collapse…Success!!!  Now that your furry friend is lying down, (either side is acceptable),  give the dog long strokes down the dogs side, in the mid-line.  Go slowly!!  The idea is to straighten out the dog’s body and put the muscles in a relaxed position, as well as the skeletal frame.  Give this time to happen, say 5 minutes of gentle stroking…Then begin working forward to the dogs front chest region.  It’s okay to give the dog a fingertip scratch in this area, because they are unable to reach the area, and it feels very good to them.  Don’t dig in, but do scratch the area for 1 or 2 minutes.  Too much time spent here might cause the dog to attempt rising, so if he begins moving, move to the next area.

I now begin moving down the dogs leg structure, starting at the scapula.  Small. circular motions!!  Then I will grasp the leg in both hands and begin massaging downward towards the joint.  As I reach the joint, I will watch closely as the dog will react to any pain he may feel in the joint.  Remember: This is about communicating with the dog…IF you detect any pain in the joint, STOP!  Concentrate on holding the joint between your hands, providing warmth.  In older dogs, this is common.  Please consult your Veterinarian for chronic joint pain, or that which may come from an injury.

Now we reach my dogs favorite part:  His foot rub.  Before massaging, I will gently inspect the toes, webs, and pads for anything stuck there, or small lacerations or blisters.  Remove anything stuck to the toenails, and watch for what can be considered “Nail snags”.  I massage the feet with “Tuff-Foot” if the pads appear sensitive, or one of several other creams that treat the pad and keep them supple.

I concentrate on rubbing each toe-pad softly, and then move to the webbing between the toes, taking my time.  This usually has my 3-year-old “Hans” stretched out on the floor and doing his best cat impersonation.  If he was properly equipped, he’s PURR…

After a few moments of focusing on his feet and ankles, I’ll roll the dog onto his back and give him a brief belly scritching as a break.  This puts him into a position where its possible to inspect his underside for bug bites, lumps, lacerations, or anything out of sorts.  It’s very important to look and feel for these sorts of things for the sake of your dogs health.  Be observant, and thorough.

I finish the treatment by rubbing down the sides of the dogs spine.  Flat handed, circular motions from shoulder to base of the tail, finally checking the hips and knees of his hind quarters.  By this time, the dog is usually quite relaxed.  It takes less than 15 minutes to carry out this massage, and I have found that it provides a bond with the dog.  It also aids your Veterinarian when he or she has to examine your dog, as the dog is accustomed to physical touch, and not fearful.

Before I wrap up this post, I want it to be clear that this post is about a “Relaxing Massage”.  Before competition, or practice, I do a more aggressive warmup massage, designed to get the blood flowing.  That will be another post, allied with thoughts on getting the dog ready for strenuous activity…

For now, try developing a program of massage with your dog.  Do a little homework about where all the parts are, and get started.  You will find that this contact will deepen the relationship you have with your dog.  Start with whatever the dog will allow you to do.  Try focusing on one region at a time, perhaps the head and neck, or the feet and ankles…Whatever seems to please the dog most.

Enjoy the time together, speak calmly, and feed your dog calm soothing energy.  Try it, and see the benefits for both of you…

“After my massage, please draw my bath…”

  Medical emergencies can happen to your dog at any time.  Are you prepared? 

Your most important and vital tool in emergency situations is your CELL-PHONE.  Is your Vets phone number programmed into your phone?  As emergency back-up, also include 2 or 3 other nearby Veterinary hospitals as back-up.  Do it NOW.  (Go on…I’ll be here when you get back!)

Welcome back!  Now, you are halfway to being prepared for a medical veterinary emergency.  I’m not going to kid you and say that what follows is a complete plan to aid you if your dog is injured or takes ill suddenly.  But it is enough to keep you level-headed and thinking ahead, Before an emergency happens. 

BE PREPARED/BE CALM/HAVE A PLAN/HAVE YOUR PHONE READY!

“Don’t worry…this won’t hurt me a bit…”

Procedures: 

Thoroughly assess situation before reacting.  REMAIN CALM, your dog will feed off your reaction.  Be FIRM, but Gentle.  Assess whether or not you will need to muzzle the dog. Then, begin to assess bu answering these questions:

Is the dog lethargic or hyperactive?

Is the dog breathing properly?  (Panting may be normal.)  Is the Airway clear?

Check for heartbeat.  (Tips of fingers under the chest wall and thumb opposing.  Attempt CPR  (See below instructions or seek specific training in Canine CPR)       ONLY  IF NECESSARY.  Truth be told, CPR in canines is not highly successful.  It is a last ditch effort.

Recognizing SHOCK. – Shock is a failure of circulation of blood.

     *Check the Capillary Refill time in the gums.

     * refill time after pressure is normally 1 to 2 seconds.

     * Push finger against upper gum line.

     * Count seconds until color of gum returns to normal.

     * What color is the mucus membrane?  Pale? Purple? Deep Purple?

     * CHECK BREATHING:  Rate of breathing…Depth of Breathing…Ease of Breathing.

     * Dogs Mental condition:  Anxious?   In Obvious pain?  Depressed or withdrawn, hiding?

     * Heart rate and Pulse STRENGTH. ( Strong? Weak? Thready?  Difficult to locate?)

     * Temperature extremes- Over heated?  Frozen?

     * Obvious EXTERNAL bleeding.  Where?  Flowing or Pulsing?  Dark and arterial, or bright and superficial?  Bubbles(Lung puncture)

     * Check for Abdominal pain, obstruction, fluid.   Is the stomach wall hard?  Is it pliable?  Palpate very carefully in examination.

    *  Disturbance of Circulation (SHOCK) can follow ANY serious injury.  Dog will have white to pale to grey Coloration in the gums.  Capillary refill time will be prolonged or absent.  A dazed or semi-conscious attitude in the dog will be apparent.  Weak, Rapid, or Thready pulse.  Shallow respirations.  Grunting may be present at end of In Breathing.  Head may be extended to facilitate breathing.  Breathing will be choked and difficult.  Weakness and or collapse may occur.

    *What is the dogs LEVEL of Consciousness?

TREATMENT FOR SHOCK: 

 Arrange transport to Veterinary help immediately.

 Keep the dog as quiet as possible, avoiding panic.

 utilize something that will serve as a stretcher for transport

 Clear dogs mouth of foreign debris  mucus,  or vomitus.

 If possible and necessary, perform CPR or Artificial respiration.

 Unless the problem is heat related, cover with a blanket.

 No fluids should be administered orally at this time.  Choking is  a possibility.

 Keep HEAD at HEART level.

TREATMENT FOR EXTERNAL BLEEDING: 

Leg wounds can bleed fiercely!  A makeshift muzzle may be needed. Demonstrate.

Rapid flush with Saline or clean water.

Apply firm, steady pressure directly over wound.

Heavy gauze is best, but any clean, soft material, can be used as pressure bandage.

 Before  applying permanent bandaging, lift pressure bandage to re-check blood flow.

 If possible flush wound with saline or clean, cool  water.

  If available, apply Celox or other coagulant.

  Re apply pressure bandage.

  Wrap stretch gauze around pressure bandage to secure.

Bandage may stay in place 1 to 2 hours.  Transport Dog as soon as possible to Veterinarian.

If the entire limb is NOT bandaged, circulation must be restored every 25 minutes. Repeat  

        above  procedures with clean materials.

If bleeding is deep and PUMPING, DIRECT  PRESSURE is best treatment.

       In The Event of a puncture wound that may have entered the lung or heart, check whether or not air is flowing freely thru the hole.  If NOT, Do Not Attempt to Remove the object.  If air IS flowing, pinch off the exit wound tightly and  transport ASAP.

TREATMENT AND RECOGNITION OF INTERNAL BLEEDING:

Always suspect internal bleeding after any Blunt force trauma.  External indication may be masked for some time by your dog.  Look for these behaviors:

Anxiety or restlessness

Rapid, thread pulse

Pale Gums

Nausea

Vomiting 

Excessive Thirst  

Blood coming from any  body orifice.

 Soft tissues may become hard to the touch.

Weakness

If Internal bleeding is suspected, you need to transport the dog ASAP.  The dog should be lying down, with rear legs slightly above front,

Make the dog as comfortable as possible.  If applicable, cover the dog lightly with blanket or towel.

Stay focused and calm, imparting your confidence to the dog.

Remember, the dog is probably shocky as well, treat as such.

Call the Vet and give a heads up that you are en route.

CPR and Artificial Respiration:                     

Cardio Pulmonary resuscitation can do great harm and should be a last resort.  Dog should show no sign or indication of heartbeat.

Lay dog on it’s Right side.

Check the dogs mouth and throat for obstruction.  Tongue may need to be retracted.

Best position for you is at the dogs back.

Without bending the elbows, place your left palm over heart region of the dog (SHOW) with right palm on top of left.  Press, do not slam, the ribcage into compression.

Compress for a count of ONE, release for a count of ONE.  Approximately 30 to 60 compressions per minute.

Every 10 compressions should be followed by ONE breath of Artificial respiration.  Close dogs muzzle and breath into nostrils slowly but with determination.  Look for lungs to inflate.

If another capable individual is close, perform ONE breath every TWO chest compressions.

10 minutes is the longest that you should attempt this.  Anything longer is futile.  And you will be near physical exhaustion anyway.

This should be a last resort.  CPR on canines has a depressingly low positive outcome.

FRACTURES:   

    Most fractures are caused by accidents of varying types.  Preparation and use of protocols for shock and bleeding should coincide with treatment.  Stay alert for other symptoms that will take priority over broken bones, such as No Breathing or Heart stoppage.

   Most commonly broken bones in canines are femurs, pelvis, skull, jaw, and spine.  If a fracture has broken thru epidermal layer (skin) it becomes a Compound fracture, with great risk of infection.  Treat the wound for cleanliness as your priority, create as sterile an environment as possible

Take precaution regarding being bitten by the dog.  Apply a muzzle if available, or jury-rig one with shirt, towel, sock or belt.

Open wounds should be treated as soon as all symptoms have been triaged.

Splinting a fracture can relieve pain, shock, and further damage, but must be prepared for before you need this skill.  Improper splinting can cause more damage to the injury.  Simply put, you are NOT Re-setting the bone here by manipulating the bone. You are preventing a broken limb from swinging freely and causing more damage.

If the dog resists, let the limb alone, but do your best to keep the dog as still as possible.  Remain Calm!

Never move the limb, but splint it in the shape you find it. 

Found objects that can be used as splints on fractures of the legs are magazines, paperback books, boards, newspapers.

Splints may be tie off, but not to tightly with string, wire, neckties, strips of material etc.

Difficult to splint areas should be left alone, and the dog transported lying down on a stiff mode of transport.

Head injuries and Spinal cord involved injuries require special care.  Utilize your cellphone before attempting any of the following.

SKULL FRACTURES: 

Such fractures can be subtle (hidden) or gross (bloody, with skull mishapening)    Contusions may be apparent with or without Loss of Consciousness.  Dog will be dazed.  Keep the dog calm and prone if possible.

  If the dog is unconscious, or was, then always suspect CONCUSSION.

Always Treat for SHOCK with above Protocols as priority before worrying about the fractures.

Be certain that the dog is breathing and CAN breath.  Check airway for obstruction.

Handle the dog with great care, and remain calm.  Feeling panic from you will excite and exacerbate the dogs injuries and mental condition. 

Control bleeding as described before.

Devise a suitable flat stretcher for transport.  Do NOT LIFT the dog onto the stretcher, but slide it Under the dog following grain of the dogs hair.  Take this procedure slowly!!!  Take this procedure slowly!!!  Be observant for the dogs indications of pain or discomfort.

Observe and record signs of alertness from beginning of treatment thru to arrival at hospital.  Observe level of consciousness, eye movement, breathing, pupil reactions, and breathing.  Info vital to attending Veterinarian.

Transport dog with HEAD Higher than rear end, so as to alleviate cranial pressure.

Make note of any seizure activity.

Duct tape, with cloth underlay can sometimes be utilized to prevent thrashing of the dog. 

SPINAL INJURIES: 

Protocols for Spinal injuries are similar to Skull fractures in that EXTREME care must be taken into consideration.  As with every injury, use your Cellular Phone and contact the Veterinarian before attempting any procedure you are not comfortable with…Most important is to limit the dogs range of motion during transport.

BURN TREATMENT: 

Burns can occur from many sources including chemicals, (internal and external)  Automobile exhausts, and other parts, hot pavement tar, fires in fireplaces, grass or campfires.  It is vital that you be aware of you’re your dogs curious nature, and guide him from situations that can lead to burns of any sort.    

Before treatment, always prioritize the dogs symptoms into what is most vital.  Shock, Airway, Breathing always take precedent!

Any and all burns are best treated immediately with cool, running, clean water.  Submergence is acceptable if the temperature is not cold.

Do not attempt to administer any creams or ointments to the initial burn.

Do not burst any blisters that may form as a result of burn.

CHOKING: 

(Referring specifically to foreign objects lodged in the mouth or throat)

 Is the dog breathing?  Salivating?  Coughing?

Is an object visible and graspable?  If not, attempt to determine what may be lodged in the throat/larynx.  (Look around for bones, cloth, rope, etc.

Check the dogs tongue for proper position.

DO NOT Poke any visible obstruction, as forcing it further will complicate.

Lay dog on its side, and employ a helper to hold the dog in position.  If possible, have the obstruction in an outward and down position, allowing gravity to assist you in removal.  A pair of forceps or needle-nose pliers in you kit can be a great asset.  If manual removal is not possible:

Canine Heimlich Manuever: 

Approach the dog from the rear, and place your arms around the dog.  Your fists should be placed into the sternum gap located at the bottom of the rib-cage.  Compress the body with a single upward thrust.  If the initial thrust is unsuccessful, repeat 4 or 5 times in succession.  You are forcing air up the larynx, which will usually dislodge the object.

If the object dislodges by your actions, observe the dog for bleeding, continued retching, fainting.

Dog should then be transported for veterinary examination.

If your attempts do not stop the choking, be sure that the dog is breathing at least adequately, and transport immediately.  Remain Calm…

 Remember, your dog can also breathe thru his nose, but this is still an EMERGENCY situation.

FROSTBITE:  

Dogs will often not reveal that they are frostbitten!  You MUST be mindful of this in conditions that cause it.  Be especially aware that the tail, ear tips, foot-pads, and scrotum are especially vulnerable to frost-bite damage.

Frost-bitten skin will be pale white (dead looking) or blue in color.  If circulation returns, the skin will be deep red and swollen, perhaps badly.  Uncirculating will cause the skin to turn black and necrotic.

Treatment:  Apply warm not Hot water soaks to the affected area.  Using a towel is a best practice.  As the skin changes color, you may begin to return the dog to normal heat inside.  DO NOT RUB OR MASSAGE the affected area as damage can be done to the skin.  Follow up with a Veterinarian.

Be aware that as sensation returns, the affected area can be quite painful to the touch.  You may need to restrain the dog from biting or licking.

HEAT STROKE: (HYPERTHERMIA)

Dogs do not sweat, and therefore cannot tolerate HOT Atmospheric conditions.  PANTING is the dogs only means of naturally lowering their own core temperature, and when the ambient air temperature approaches their natural body temperature, (100 to 102.5 f. for adults, 97 to 99 for puppies) panting becomes an inefficient system.

PREVENTION- 

A) Don’t leave a dog in a closed car even at lower temps of 50 degrees or more. 

B) Curtail strenuous exercise during warm weather.  

C) Play in water is a great alternative in warm weather 

D) Always provide shade and fresh water to your dog whether inside or out.

INDICATIONS OF HEAT STROKE-  Heavy Panting or Labored breathing.   Dogs mouth, tongue, and gums will be BRIGHT RED.  Dogs saliva will become thick and viscous, and vomiting will occur.  Rectal temp will climb to 104 to 110.   Shock may set in, (See SHOCK protocols)  Seizures, collapse, and sudden expiring can occur.

TREATMENT

Emergency COOLING (a gradual, not SUDDEN process) is necessitated.  Move dog into an air-conditioned room first.  Monitor temperature rectally if possible.  Mild condition will quickly resolve itself.  If rectal temperature exceeds 103, dog should be cooled with cool water from a hose, bucket, or other device.  COOL Water, not COLD!  Too rapid a change can induce shock.  It may also work to place a wet dog in front of a Fan.  After a Heatstroke event, a Veterinary check-up for after effects is highly recommended.  Cardiac Arrythmia, kidney failure, and seizures are possible affects.

DROWNING :

TreatmentFlush as much water from dogs lungs as possible.  Turn dog with mouth and nose down and allow gravity to help.

Check for pulse and breathing.  If absent, place dog on its RIGHT side and begin Mouth-to-Nose breathing.

Dogs from cold water can be revived! Don’t give up!

ELECTRICAL SHOCK: 

May occur when a dog bites or chews and electrical cord.

Do not allow dog to urinate on Holiday lights, yard lights, or path marker lights!

A Shocked dog may be found unconscious near an electrical source.

Heartbeat will be irregular heartbeat, followed by Cardiac Arrest.

Shock also may damage the capillaries of the Lungs.  Fluid can build up, causing pulmonary edema.

Remember that if your dog has bitten thru a wire, he may be UNABLE to let the wire go.  You will need to help him immediately!!

  TREATMENT: 

NEVER  touch a dog or person that you suspect may still be in contact with the electrical source!!!  Examine the scene thoroughly but quickly, assessing positively that the source is gone or deactivated.  If the source is still ALIVE, either find a way to  turn off the power first, or remove the contact with your dog by using a NON_CONDUCTIVE material…(Rope, Towel, Leather Leash, hose material)

CPR Protocols shall now be followed

PREVENTION:  COVER OR HIDE ALL ELECTRICAL SOURCES AND CORDS.

EYE INJURIES:

Foreign body in the eye requires an assistant to steady the dog. 

A muzzle or towel may be needed to prevent biting.

Fresh water or saline is needed.  A small squirt bottle will work best for flushing.

Demonstrate opening the eye for flushing with water.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE TWEEZERS OR OTHER TOOLS TO REMOVE ANYTHING!  DAMAGE CAN BE MADE MUCH WORSE

In an emergency situation, only flushing the eye should be attempted.  Transport the dog NOW!

INGESTION OF CHOCOLATE:

Caused by  METHYLXANTHINES which are toxic to dogs but not people.

Large dogs can be effected by as little as 16 ounces of BAKING chocolates.  Brownies or chocolate cake are reason for alarm.

Symptoms include Excitability, uncontrolled urination, diarrhea, rapid breathing, weakness, seizures, or coma.

If dog has not yet vomited, induce vomiting:

 Use HYDROGEN PEROXIDE One (1) TEASPOON per 10 pounds of body weight.  Repeat at 15 minute intervals until dog vomits.  DO NOT USE SYRUP OF IPECAC!!!!

AFTER Dog has vomited, compressed activated charcoal  can be administered.  These are 5 gram tablets, one (1) tablet per 10 pounds of weight.  This will arrest further poison absorption.  YOU SHOULD HAVE THESE IN YOUR KIT!

GENERAL PROTOCOLS IN POISONING:

   Put this number in your phone:  (800) 548-2423   or   (900) 680-0000   These are the National Animal Poison Control Center.  Again, also have your Vets number close and available by putting it in your cell phone!!!

First priority is finding out what the dog has ingested.  Collect a sample if substance is unknown, or known, and bring it with you!!

Be PREPARED to induce vomiting if you are instructed to do so by your phone call.

If the container of the substance says “Do Not Induce Vomiting”,    DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING.

General rule of thumb: Do Not Induce Vomiting if:

Dog has already vomited

Dog is unconscious ,suffering seizures, or having breathing difficulty

If the dog has ingested  ACID, ALKALI, CLEANING SOLUTIONS, PETROLEUM PRODUCTS.

If the dog has swallowed a SHARP or POINTED object.

I wholeheartedly beg you to research what is considered POISON to your dog, including plants, foods, and chemicals.  Poisoning is a top reason that dogs die en route to veterinary care.  Forewarned is forearmed.

  This is far from a complete list of emergency procedures.  They WILL get you and your dog to the Veterinarian, where more complete care can be administered.  Above all, this small preparation will keep YOU calm and able to respond to your dogs distress.  For further advice on building a first-aid kit, see my earlier blog entry here:  https://germanshepherdadventures.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/your-personal-canine-first-aid-kit/

  Thanks for reading, and stay CALM!!!

It’s pleasing to me that some of my readers are asking questions about First-Aid/Trauma kits specifically for their dogs.  Their are a number of ways to build a kit, or buy one complete.  Both ways will cost between $25 and $500.00, depending on your needs and ability.  Fortunately, most will need to spend under $50.00, to be well equipped, and prepared for anything short of major trauma.

I AM NOW GOING TO PUBLISHED A LIST FOR YOUR CANINE FIRST-AID KIT.  THIS DOES NOT REPLACE YOUR VETERINARIAN IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM.  CANINE FIRST-RESPONSE IS DESIGNED TO GET YOUR DOG TO THE VETERINARIAN ALIVE AND REASONABLY CALM.  NOT REPLACE SUCH CARE.

Important Phone Numbers
Veterinary clinic phone number and directions to the clinic
Emergency clinic phone number and directions
Poison control center phone numbers
Equipment and Supplies
Muzzle
Magnifying glass
Scissors
Tweezers
Nail clippers and metal nail file
Styptic powder or sticks, Kwik Stop, or cornstarch. I recommend  CELOX!!!
Penlight
Nylon slip leash
Eye dropper or oral syringe
Cotton swabs
Cotton balls
Clean towels – cloth and paper
Rectal thermometer
Lubricant such as mineral oil or KY Jelly (without spermicide)  Trust me on this.
Disposable Prophylactic gloves
Syringes of various sizes. W/O needles!
Needle-nose pliers or hemostats
Grease-cutting dish soap
Bitter Apple or other product to discourage licking
Pet carrier
Towel or blanket to use as a stretcher, another to keep your dog warm during transport (some pharmacies and camping outlets carry a thermal blanket)
Cold packs and heat packs (wrap in towel before using)
Stethoscope
Bandaging Materials
Square gauze of various sizes – some sterile.  some should be large-12″ x 12″
Non-stick pads. Steri-strips.
First aid tape/also a roll of Athletic Tape
Bandage rolls – gauze and Vetwrap
Band-Aids (for humans)
Nutritional Support
Rehydrating solution such as Gatorade or Pedialyte
Nutritional supplement such as Nutri-Cal, Vitacal, or Nutristat
High sugar source: Karo syrup
Medicines*
Wound disinfectant such as Betadine or Nolvasan.  Saline water.
Triple antibiotic ointment for skin
Antibiotic ophthalmic ointment for eyes, e.g., Terramycin
Eye wash solution
Sterile saline
Antidiarrheal medicine such as Pet Pectate
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for allergic reactions (obtain dose from your veterinarian)
Cortisone spray or cream, such as Itch Stop
Ear cleaning solution
Hydrogen peroxide (used to make a dog vomit – only use as directed by a veterinarian)
Activated charcoal to absorb ingested poisons (consult your veterinarian before using)
*Watch the expiration dates on any medication, and replace as needed.

You do not need to buy this list in it’s entirety all at once.  BUILD your kit starting with items that STOP BLEEDING.  Gauze, pads, saline water, and a coagulant such as Celox, described here. http://www.elitek9.com/Celox-8-x-8-Gauze/productinfo/F051/ .   And even more info. can be found here.  http://celoxmedical.com/wherebuy_veterinary.htm.

Education is the most important part of your Kit.  And confidence in your ability to help, and not PANICKING.  I’ll address that next.

Here is an outstanding kit that is available from Elite-K-9.  $99.00 can bring you alot of peace of mind….Next post will cover EDUCATION for YOU!

When you live, play, and work with a dog, knowledge is a protection for both of you.  Dogs, like children, will not go thru life without the occasional cut, scrape, laceration, broken tooth, torn nail, bee sting, road rash, or sundry other non-catastophic injuries…Learning to deal with them effectively will save you both money, worry, and discomfort.  With that in mind, I am going to start a series of articles here involving canine (emphasis on German Shepherds) anatomy, and first-responder type first aid for your dog.  This is NOT intended to replace regular and comprehensive Veterinary care, but rather, treatment that will get you to your Vet when injury or sickness occur.  Please build a relationship with a good veterinarian for both you and your dog…We will delve into PROACTIVE treatment as well, an example of which begins below with a consideration of canine teeth and dental care.  It’s vital to your dogs health and well-being.  I appreciate your feedback, suggestions, and personal experiences, so feel free to respond!  Thanks for reading “German Shepherd Adventures”.

 

Hey Mister, Does your Dog Bite?

I hear that question every time I’m in public with my dog…My standard answer to that question usually takes fellow dog-owners by surprise, because I use that time to preach the gospel of “BRUSHING YOUR DOG’S TEETH”.  My veterinarian, (Dr. J. Nowery) and I are especially proud of the dentition that my black German Shepherd, “Hans”, carries around in his mouth.  They are sparkling white, strong, and complete.  The gumline is deeply colored, tight, and free of debris and tartar.  From 8 weeks of age, we have given him regular (daily!) tooth care, and monitor that care with an almost obsessive diligence. It’s NOT difficult, and it may well extend your four-legged buddy’s good health and longevity.  IT DOES REQUIRE a bit of time.  But PLEASE, try to do your best…

Imagine that you decide for whatever hair-brained reason to stop brushing your own teeth, or allowing your children to run amuck and go to bed without brushing their own for a month or two.  Do I even NEED to describe what the results of THAT would be?  I didn’t think so…Well, the sad fact is that MOST dogs do just that every day.  The results WILL be bad, if not sooner, then definitely later.  I’m going to give you some knowledge first, about the development of your dogs teeth, and how to start his care from the very beginning.  You are going to find it necessary to put your (CLEAN & sanitized, followed by thorough rinsing in clean running water) fingers into puppies mouth.  This will,  A) Insure that you KEEP your fingers as puppy grows, and B) Acclimate him to having his teeth cleaned.

Puppies get their baby teeth (28 Total) between the ages of three and six weeks. Because there is little need for the grinding of food at this age, puppies do not have molars.  Puppy teeth begin to shed and be replaced by permanent adult teeth at about four months of age. Although there is some variation in breeds, most adult dogs have 42 teeth, with the molars coming last, at about six or seven months.

The order of tooth replacement is incisors first, then canines (fangs), and finally premolars. The teething period can be frustrating; the puppy clamps his mouth on everything he can reach, from body parts to your $100.00 sneakers, in an attempt to relieve the discomfort. Teething can be accompanied by drooling, irritability, and fluctuations in appetite.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

When you bring puppy home, make it a habit to GENTLY rub a finger over his little gums.  It will feel good to him…also use “PUPPY” specific chew toys which are soft, and forgiving.  A product that I have found is made by PETRODEX.  These are prophylactic brushes that roll onto your finger, and have bristles that clean the teeth very thoroughly when used properly.  Let me emphasize “…used properly.”  The reason that most humans don’t properly brush their teeth, involves how much time you spend brushing your teeth.  Same thing goes for your dog.  30 seconds of random brushing does NOT fulfill the needs of YOUR teeth, let alone your dogs teeth.  Spend the time…if you miss 10 minutes of that “Two and a Half Men” re-run because you were brushing teeth, you will not suffer permanent damage.  You adopted this puppy, so please give him the best care possible!.

There are various canine toothpastes available, (DON’T USE YOUR HUMAN INTENDED COLGATE!!)  Find one that your dog likes, and use it.  The difference is this: Human toothpaste is not meant to be swallowed, but rinsed out.  Canine toothpaste is digestible.(When very young, be sure that your toothpaste is puppy safe.  Fresh water Only may be advisable until 3 or 4 months of age)

As you have acclimated your puppy to having your finger in his mouth, rub the toothpaste on every surface of his teeth, examining his gumline for blood, impacted food, and yes, SLIVERS of wood.  Your puppy will eventually find a stick, chew it, and end up with a sliver in his mouth.  Be gentle, and observant…Be gentle and observant.  Be gentle and observant.  There, I’ve emphasized it.  You may also find other remnants of whatever he has chewed.

One warning.  During this process, remain CALM and Quiet.  At some point, you will get a bit more pressure than you find comfortable from your dog clamping down on your finger.  Correct him, and he will understand that this behavior is bad.  Practice makes perfect.

In the next installment, we’ll go into more detail on Adult teeth!  Thanks for reading, and taking great care of your puppies teeth!!!

Clean my teeth! Please!