Pet Health and Safety

Snakebite Article

What To Do For A Poisoned Animal

Is It Safe To Vaccinate Older Pets

When Is It An Emergency?

Build Your Own Pet First Aid Kit

Clipping Toenails



U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Preparing Your Pets

American Red Cross

Animal Safety-Pets & Disaster

Pets: First Aid

Farm Animals: Preparedness

The Humane Society of the United States

Military Personnel:  Making Arrangements For Your Pets

The American Veterinary Medical Association

The Preparation for Disaster

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Missing Pet Network

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Pamphlet "Animals in Disaster"

"Are You Ready"


Hyperthermia, also known as Heat Prostration:

Early warning signs are:

1. Heavy panting and bright red (brick red) mucous membranes. Look at the gums and the conjunctival tissue around the eyes. These
areas should be pink but not red.

2. Anxiety and agitation.

3. Tachycardia (elevated heart rate).

4. Hyperthermia – normal body temp for a dog should be somewhere between 100 and 102 deg. Fahrenheit. Heat stroke or heat prostration usually develops with acute elevations of body temps over 106 deg. Fahrenheit.  Because our mean body temperature is lower than a dog’s, a dog will almost always feel warm or hot to the human touch. Use a thermometer to determine what the dog’s temperature actually is. By doing this it will also give you a good idea of how severe the problem is.

5. Stumbling and staggering.

If the condition persists and progresses the following signs will appear:

6. Severe respiratory distress and cyanosis (mucous membranes will become blue).

7. Stupor. The dog will appear very lifeless and
like it is drunk.

8. Hemorrhagic diarrhea and vomiting.

9. Seizures and coma.

10. Respiratory arrest.

The goal of therapy should be to attempt an immediate reversal of the hyperthermia and correction of shock and cerebral edema (buildup of fluid around the brain) and prevention or treatment of delayed complications such as renal failure.

Field treatment of hyperthermia is basically limited to the immediate cooling down of the dog. The primary goal should be to lower the dog’s temp. rapidly to 103 deg. Fahrenheit within 10 minutes. Several techniques can be used. First, move the dog to a cool area (in the shade or air-conditioned environment). Immerse the dog in COOL water not COLD. Another is to give the dog an alcohol bath (isopropyl alcohol – this means NO SMOKING). Alcohol will evaporate quickly and this evaporative effect will help to cool the dog down. Apply the alcohol to the dog’s groin and axillary (armpit) areas. Another good area to apply the alcohol to is the footpads. Use of a fan will enhance the evaporative cooling process. Wrapping the dog in a towel and then packing around him with ice packs can also be used. Concentrate the ice packs in the abdominal area. Once the body temperature reaches 103 deg. Fahrenheit, moderate the treatment accordingly and try to lower the temperature farther at a rate of approximately 1 degree per hour.  Do not attempt to lower the temperature too rapidly or Hypothermia could occur.

If you are unable to lower the temperature to 103 deg. Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes, you should be seeking veterinary care immediately. Use of ice water baths and cold water enemas should be employed only if the hyperthermia is unresponsive to previous therapy. A cold water enema can be given with the type of water/enema bottle combinations that can be purchased at many local pharmacies and stores like Wal Mart or K Mart.  Be sure when giving an enema that you let the water flow by gravity only. Don’t attempt to force the water in the dog’s rectum too rapidly.

If ice water baths or cold water enemas are required to lower the temperature, one should be seeking additional veterinary care as soon as possible. Appropriate IV therapy with multiple electrolyte solutions and short-acting corticosteroid therapy will probably then be administered for shock and to combat potential renal (kidney) and cerebral edema complications.

A field emergency kit for the treatment of heat prostration should consist of but may not be limited to the following:
    1. A digital rectal thermometer.
    2. Isopropyl Alcohol
    3. Sponges or cotton balls to administer the alcohol with.  Saturate the sponges or cotton balls with the alcohol and then squeeze it over the footpads, groin and axillary areas.
    4. A combination enema/water bottle kit. The water bottle can also be filled with cold water and packed against the dog’s abdomen or can be filled with cool water and used to give the dog an enema.
    5. Cold packs that can be activated by squeezing. These can be used to pack around the dog or even put in water if the hyperthermia is not responsive to more moderate treatments and an ice water bath is needed.

Prevention of heat prostration is not always easy to achieve when working your dog in extreme temperatures especially when dealing with dogs like retrievers who possess so much drive and desire. Watch your dog closely for changes in attitude such as restlessness and anxiety, or lack of drive. Excessive panting or salivating. Cool it down often when working in extreme temperatures. I recommend using electrolyte solutions for drinking water when working the dogs in extreme temperatures. Several electrolyte mixtures (Electramine, K-9 Bluelite, and Pedia-Sorb) are available for canines and usually come in small pouches that can be mixed with water. Mix the solution appropriately and freeze in ice cube trays and then periodically offer the dog water with the electrolyte ice cubes added to its drinking water or just give them the electrolyte ice cubes to lick on. Another good idea is to put ice packs of some kind in the dog’s crates for them to lie on and cool off during brief but regular breaks when training. Make sure the dog has access to cool water to drink. Keep the dogs, when crated, in the shade and don’t forget to check on them periodically.

Note:  This information is provided as is, consult your Veterinary Provider for additional concerns.  This article and others are available on the Working Retriever Central Web Site at


Pet CPR & First Aid

The following is a simple breakdown of dog & cat CPR.   It’s written for the average pet owner and in plain language.  It uses the common accepted approach to pet cardiopulmonary resuscitation according to excepted standards of   Pet First Aid courses throughout the United States.  Pet First Aid is not intended to take the place of professional veterinary care. It is recommended that you take a Pet First Aid course from a certified instructor.

(Airway, Breathing, Circulation)

Airway:  Probably
one of the most important things you can do after
is to make sure your dog or cat is breathing. To do this, you want to gently tap your dog or cat and call out their name to see if they move. Then (being careful not to get bitten or scratched) lean down close and LOOK, LISTEN AND FEEL for breathing.

  • Look: at the chest of the animal to see if it’s moving.

  • Listen: to see if you can hear them breathing.

  • Feel: on your cheek or back of your hand for a breath.

Breathing:    If your dog or cat is not breathing, pull their tongue just a little bit, close the mouth and tilt their head just a little to open their Airway. Give them 4 -5 breaths from your (guess what?) mouth to their nose! This is  Mouth-to-Snout resuscitation. You’ll want to give them just enough air to make the chest rise. Big dogs need more – little dogs or cats much less. Remember not to give too much air! You don’t want to hurt them.

This means you’re checking to see if their heart is working OK. To do that you must check for a heart beat which is called a pulse. There are pulse points located in various areas on your dog or cat. For a dog the best place to find the pulse is on the inside of the rear leg, towards the top of the leg. This is called the
Femoral Pulse.
For a cat the best place to find the pulse is on the outside of the left front leg, just behind the shoulder. This is called an
Apical Pulse.


Rescue Breathing

Rescue Breathing
is when you have to breath for your dog or cat because they are not breathing on their own. You do this when your dog or cat has a pulse but is not breathing.

Step 1:

First do your ABC’s,
don’t forget to LOOK, LISTEN, and FEEL
for breathing.

Step 2: 

not breathing, give 4-5 breaths using Mouth-to-Snout

Step 3:

 Check for pulse on the Femoral Artery
for dogs or check the Apical Pulse for
cats or really small dogs.

Step 4:

If there is a pulse, but no breathing start Mouth-to-Snout
giving 1 breath every 3
. For cats or really small dogs, give 1
breath every 2 seconds.

(cardiopulmonary resuscitation)

 First do your ABC’s,
don’t forget to LOOK,
for breathing.  CPR
can only be performed if your dog or cat is not breathing and
has no pulse.

Follow Steps 1,2,3 same
as in Rescue Breathing.

If there is no Pulse,
start CPR.

Step 4:
Place the dog on the ground or other hard surface with its right side down. Take it’s left front leg and bend at the elbow, rotating at the shoulder. The point where the elbow of the dog touches the body is where you place your hands for compressions. Put one hand on top of the other and clasp your fingers together. Lock your elbows and start performing compressions. Push approximately 2-3 inches /font>deep. Give compressions first then a breath. After 1 minute check for a pulse. repeat if there’s no response.


  • Giant Dogs = Give 1
    breath every 10 compressions.

  • Medium to large dogs
    = Give 1 breath every 5

  • Small Dogs = Give
    breath every 5

  • Cats or really small dogs =
    Place the animal flat on the ground. Then put your hands on either side of the
    animal’s chest, right behind the shoulder blades with your palms over the heart
    (sandwiching the animal’s chest between both hands). Compress
    approximately ½ – 1 inch deep. After 1 minute, check for a pulse again.

  • Cats or really small dogs =
    Give 1 breath every