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Pet 911 - What You Need To Know

  • It is important to know what is normal for a pet so you will know if there is a problem. A normal pet’s temperature is 100-102*5F, typical breathing rate at rest is less than 35 breaths per minute and heart rate for dogs is 70-130 bpm (beats per minute) and cats is 130-200 bpm. It is important to check their gum color (pink is good) and make sure gums are moist (not tacky or dry which could mean dehydration).
  • A common emergency is dietary indiscretion. If your pet eats something it shouldn’t, what do you do? You can induce vomiting if: it was recently ingested and is not a caustic or abrasive substance. Hydrogen peroxide can be given orally at 1ml/kg (or ~1 tsp per 10lbs) to induce vomiting. This dose can be repeated in 10 minutes if no vomiting and then call your veterinarian. Common household toxins are prescription medications, rat poison, and chocolate. If you suspect your pet has eaten a toy or something similar, it is best to call your veterinarian first.
  • If your pet is bleeding or has a cut, you can apply direct pressure to the affected area and wrap if possible. Elevating the area if possible can also help to slow the bleeding. If it is a torn nail (or cut too close during a nail trim), you can apply pressure as discussed or use flour or a bar of soap to seal the area. Do not give any other-the-counter pain medicine, especially to cats!
  • If you think your pet is having an allergic reaction (possible insect bite or sting), you can give Benadryl (diphenhydramine) at 1mg/lb by mouth. You can remove a stinger if present using tweezers or a credit card and you can apply a cool compress to the area.
  • If your pet is suffering from heat stroke, wet the coat down with water and apply a fan. You can apply rubbing alcohol to the paw pads. No ice, as this can constrict the vessels and delay cooling. Take your pet to the veterinarian immediately to be stabilized as this can truly be life-threatening.
  • A good first aid kit to have on hand is: latex gloves, adhesive tape, gauze pads and roll, non-adherent pads, scissors, leash, towel or blanket, Benadryl, hydrogen peroxide, thermometer, sterile eye wash, and emergency phone numbers.

- Dr. Gaither

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