Friday, April 13, 2012

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How To Choose Healthy Dog Food For Your Pet

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Is healthy dog food a myth? You’ve probably wondered, since hearing about the recent dog food recalls. Pet lovers like you fear that their dogs will suffer like so many others that ate food containing dangerous ingredients - wheat gluten and a product used in the production of plastics.

If you’re like other dog owners, you’re taking a much closer look at those dog food labels. They claim to offer the top quality, balanced diet for your pet, but how can you know if it’s true? How do you guarantee that your dog eats only healthy food? Is it even possible to get healthy dog food from manufacturers now?

It has become tougher to find inexpensive healthy dog food. They use high levels of preservatives and take a lot of processing that destroys nutrients. Many use filler to make up the quantity but it does nothing for quality. The most common fillers are wheat and corn. Dogs don’t need corn. In fact, it can be slow to digest, giving your dog no nutrients whatsoever.

Corn and wheat can also trigger allergies in some dogs. Any grain product should include the entire grain so your dog gets all the benefits including fiber, vitamins and minerals. Look for rolled oats, barley, millet and brown rice as these will provide the best nutritional value.

When you read the dog food label, look for those with the best ingredient ratio, which is 40% meat, 50% vegetables and 10% grains. The items are listed in order of quantity. You’ll want to make sure meat is at the top of the list.

Watch out for meat by-products as this can include indigestible parts of the animals such as feet and beaks. Also, be aware of manufacturers who list meat as the main product, and then follow it with meat by-products. This alters the nutritional ratio significantly.

Did you know that Vitamins A and B make good preservatives? Look for labels and slipcovers that list these instead of the cancer-causing chemical preservatives BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin.

Choose a good quality, reputable dog food rather than economy brands as the premium food will contain ingredients of higher nutritional value.

Keep in mind that your dog might benefit more from a specific type of dog food, rather than a one-for-all brand. While both types of food offer value, some dogs have additional needs. Factors include your breed’s inherited health risks, your dog’s activity levels and any other underlying conditions that require certain dog food nutrients.

If you want to ensure your dog receives only healthy dog food, you can make it yourself. There are many recipes available online and in dog recipe books. Run an Internet search and you’re sure to find a wealth of choices. Look for dog-related forums. People love to go online and chat about their favorite subject - their pets - and share recipes.

Knowing how to read dog food labels will help you to identify the best product for your pet, but you can’t beat homemade for your peace of mind and to provide the best nutritional and healthy dog food to your beloved best friend.

Sylvia Dickens is an award-winning journalist who is also a lifelong dog owner. You can read more dog training tips at . Don’t forget to pick up your free copy of her latest booklet, “Unveiling the Myths & Mysteries of Owning a Puppy” at

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Recognizing, Preventing, And Handling Dog Aggression

by: Darrin Donaldson

A dog is an instinctively aggressive creature. In the wild, aggression came in very handy: dogs needed aggression to hunt, to defend themselves from other creatures, and to defend resources such as food, a place to sleep, and a mate. Selective breeding over the centuries has minimized and refined this trait significantly, but there’s just no getting around it: dogs are physically capable of inflicting serious harm (just look at those teeth!) because that’s how they’ve survived and evolved. And Mother Nature is pretty wily – it’s hard to counteract the power of instinct!
But that doesn’t mean that we, as dog lovers and owners, are entirely helpless when it comes to handling our dogs. There’s a lot that we can do to prevent aggression from rearing its ugly head in the first place – and even if prevention hasn’t been possible (for whatever reason), there are still steps that we can take to recognize and deal with it efficiently.
- Different aggression types -
There are several different types of canine aggression. The two most common ones are:
- Aggression towards strangers
- Aggression towards family members
You may be wondering why we’re bothering categorizing this stuff: after all, aggression is aggression, and we want to turf it out NOW, not waste time with the details – right?
Well … not quite. These two different types of aggression stem from very different causes, and require different types of treatment.
- Aggression towards strangers -
What is it?
It’s pretty easy to tell when a dog’s nervy around strange people. He’s jumpy and on the alert: either he can’t sit still and is constantly fidgeting, leaping at the smallest sound, and pacing around barking and whining; or he’s veerrrry still indeed, sitting rock-steady in one place, staring hard at the object of his suspicions (a visitor, the mailman, someone approaching him on the street while he’s tied up outside a store.)
Why does it happen?
There’s one major reason why a dog doesn’t like strange people: he’s never had the chance to get used to them. Remember, your dog relies 100% on you to broaden his horizons for him: without being taken on lots of outings to see the world and realize for himself, through consistent and positive experiences, that the unknown doesn’t necessarily equal bad news for him, how can he realistically be expected to relax in an unfamiliar situation?
What can I do about it?
The process of accustoming your dog to the world and all the strange people (and animals) that it contains is called socialization. This is an incredibly important aspect of your dog’s upbringing: in fact, it’s pretty hard to overemphasize just how important it is. Socializing your dog means exposing him from a young age (generally speaking, as soon as he’s had his vaccinations) to a wide variety of new experiences, new people, and new animals.
How does socialization prevent stranger aggression?
When you socialize your dog, you’re getting him to learn through experience that new sights and sounds are fun, not scary.
It’s not enough to expose an adult dog to a crowd of unfamiliar people and tell him to “Settle down, Roxy, it’s OK” – he has to learn that it’s OK for himself. And he needs to do it from puppyhood for the lesson to sink in.
The more types of people and animals he meets (babies, toddlers, teenagers, old people, men, women, people wearing uniforms, people wearing motorcycle helmets, people carrying umbrellas, etc) in a fun and relaxed context, the more at ease and happy – and safe around strangers - he’ll be in general.
How can I socialize my dog so that he doesn’t develop a fear of strangers?
Socializing your dog is pretty easy to do – it’s more of a general effort than a specific training regimen.
First of all, you should take him to puppy preschool. This is a generic term for a series of easy group-training classes for puppies (often performed at the vet clinic, which has the additional benefit of teaching your dog positive associations with the vet!).
In a puppy preschool class, about ten or so puppy owners get together with a qualified trainer (often there’ll be at least two trainers present – the more there are, the better, since it means you get more one-on-one time with a professional) and start teaching their puppies the basic obedience commands: sit, stay, and so on.
Even though the obedience work is very helpful and is a great way to start your puppy on the road to being a trustworthy adult dog, really the best part of puppy preschool is the play sessions: several times throughout the class, the puppies are encouraged to run around off-leash and play amongst themselves.
This is an ideal environment for them to learn good social skills: there’s a whole bunch of unfamiliar dogs present (which teaches them how to interact with strange dogs), there’s a whole bunch of unfamiliar people present (which teaches them that new faces are nothing to be afraid of), and the environment is safe and controlled (there’s at least one certified trainer present to make sure that things don’t get out of hand).
Socialization doesn’t just stop with puppy preschool, though. It’s an ongoing effort throughout the life of your puppy and dog: he needs to be taken to a whole bunch of new places and environments.
Remember not to overwhelm him: start off slow, and build up his tolerance gradually.
- Aggression towards family members -
There are two common reasons why a dog is aggressive towards members of his own human family:
- He’s trying to defend something he thinks of as his from a perceived threat (you).
This is known as resource guarding, and though it may sound innocuous, there’s actually a lot more going on here than your dog simply trying to keep his kibble to himself.
- He’s not comfortable with the treatment/handling he’s getting from you or other members of the family.
What’s resource guarding?
Resource guarding is pretty common among dogs. The term refers to overly-possessive behavior on behalf of your dog: for instance, snarling at you if you approach him when he’s eating, or giving you “the eye” (a flinty-eyed, direct stare) if you reach your hand out to take a toy away from him.
All dogs can be possessive from time to time – it’s in their natures. Sometimes they’re possessive over things with no conceivable value: inedible trash, balled up pieces of paper or tissue, old socks. More frequently, however, resource-guarding becomes an issue over items with a very real and understandable value: food and toys.
Why does it happen?
It all boils down to the issue of dominance. Let me take a moment to explain this concept: dogs are pack animals. This means that they’re used to a very structured environment: in a dog-pack, each individual animal is ranked in a hierarchy of position and power (or “dominance”) in relation to every other animal. Each animal is aware of the rank of every other animal, which means he knows specifically how to act in any given situation (whether to back down, whether to push the issue, whether to muscle in or not on somebody else’s turf, etc etc).
To your dog, the family environment is no different to the dog-pack environment. Your dog has ranked each member of the family, and has his own perception of where he ranks in that environment as well.
This is where it gets interesting: if your dog perceives himself as higher up on the social totem-pole than other family members, he’s going to get cheeky. If he’s really got an overinflated sense of his own importance, he’ll start to act aggressively.
Why? Because dominance and aggression are the exclusive rights of a superior-ranked animal. No underdog would ever show aggression or act dominantly to a higher-ranked animal (the consequences would be dire, and he knows it!)
Resource guarding is a classic example of dominant behavior: only a higher-ranked dog (a “dominant” dog) would act aggressively in defence of resources.
To put it plainly: if it was clear to your dog that he is not, in fact, the leader of the family, he’d never even dream of trying to prevent you from taking his food or toys – because a lower-ranking dog (him) will always go along with what the higher-ranking dogs (you and your family) say.
So what can I do about it? The best treatment for dominant, aggressive behavior is consistent, frequent obedience work, which will underline your authority over your dog. Just two fifteen-minute sessions a day will make it perfectly clear to your dog that you’re the boss, and that it pays to do what you say.
You can make this fact clear to him by rewarding him (with treats and lavish praise) for obeying a command, and isolating him (putting him in “time-out”, either outside the house or in a room by himself) for misbehaviour.
- If you’re not entirely confident doing this yourself, you may wish to consider enlisting the assistance of a qualified dog-trainer.
- Brush up on your understanding of canine psychology and communication, so that you understand what he’s trying to say – this will help you to nip any dominant behaviors in the bud, and to communicate your own authority more effectively
- Train regularly: keep obedience sessions short and productive (no more than fifteen minutes – maybe two or three of these per day).
Why doesn’t my dog like to be handled?
All dogs have different handling thresholds. Some dogs like lots of cuddles, and are perfectly content to be hugged, kissed, and have arms slung over their shoulders (this is the ultimate “I’m the boss” gesture to a dog, which is why a lot of them won’t tolerate it.) Others – usually the ones not accustomed to a great deal of physical contact from a very young age – aren’t comfortable with too much full-body contact and will get nervy and agitated if someone persists in trying to hug them.
Another common cause of handling-induced aggression is a bad grooming experience: nail-clipping and bathing are the two common culprits.
When you clip a dog’s nails, it’s very easy to “quick” him – that is, cut the blood vessel that runs inside the nail. This is extremely painful to a dog, and is a sure-fire way to cause a long-lasting aversion to those clippers.
Being washed is something that a great many dogs have difficulty dealing with – a lot of owners, when confronted with a wild-eyed, half-washed, upset dog, feel that in order to complete the wash they have to forcibly restrain him. This only adds to the dog’s sense of panic, and reinforces his impression of a wash as something to be avoided at all costs – if necessary, to defend himself from it with a display of teeth and hackles.
Can I “retrain” him to enjoy being handled and groomed?
In a word: yes. It’s a lot easier if you start from a young age – handle your puppy a lot, get him used to being touched and rubbed all over. Young dogs generally enjoy being handled – it’s only older ones who haven’t had a lot of physical contact throughout their lives that sometimes find physical affection difficult to accept.
Practice picking up his paws and touching them with the clipper; practice taking him into the bath (or outside, under the faucet – whatever works for you, but warm water is much more pleasant for a dog than a freezing spray of ice-water!), and augment the process throughout with lots of praise and the occasional small treat.
For an older dog that may already have had several unpleasant handling/grooming experiences, things are a little more difficult. You need to undo the damage already caused by those bad experiences, which you can do by taking things very slowly – with an emphasis on keeping your dog calm.
The instant he starts to show signs of stress, stop immediately and let him relax. Try to make the whole thing into a game: give him lots of praise, pats, and treats.
Take things slowly. Don’t push it too far: if you get nervous, stop.
Dogs show aggression for a reason: they’re warning you to back off, or else! If your dog just can’t seem to accept being groomed, no matter how much practice you put in, it’s best to hand the job over to the professionals.
Your vet will clip his nails for you (make sure you tell him first that he gets aggressive when the clippers come out, so your vet can take the necessary precautions!). As far as washing and brushing goes, the dog-grooming business is a flourishing industry: for a small fee, you can get your dog washed, clipped, brushed, and whatever else you require by experienced professionals (again, make sure you tell them about your dog’s reaction to the experience first!)
For more information on handling aggressive and dominant behaviors, as well as a great deal of detailed information on a host of other common dog behavior problems, check out SitStayFetch.
It’s a complete owner’s guide to owning, rearing, and training your dog, and it deals with all aspects of dog ownership.
To get the inside word on preventing and dealing with problem behaviors like aggression and dominance in your dog, SitStayFetch is well worth a look.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pet Health Tips From a Professional Pet Sitter

By Mary Varricchio

As a professional pet sitter I have seen the most curious things from some of the pets I have cared for from utter joy & excitement to unbelievable sadness. The joy when I am on the ground with them playing and they were not quite sure what I was doing on their level. The sadness and pain they showed me to let me know they were at the end of their journey just by the look in their eye. I have traveled down many roads with a lot of these pets in 8 years and have learned so much from them. I follow all these tips while I am pet sitting and with my own pets.

Cleaning water and food dishes at each meal is important. For dogs, scooping up the poop, and then, disposing of the waste responsibly, litter boxes should be scooped daily depending on the number of litter boxes and cats. Litter box lids are sprayed down daily and scoops are cleaned, as well. Generally speaking litter boxes are washed out weekly and new litter is added. Liners should be replaced weekly.

Grooming or bathing is dependent upon the breed and the animal, of course. All pets love massages and combing. Whether bringing to the groomer or bathing yourself, knowing your pets likes, dislikes, temperament, coat texture and breed specifications should allow you to set up a schedule of regular grooming or bathing. I have found that if you make this experience a positive one they will keep on coming to you for their bathing needs. Bathing gives you the opportunity for a nice and warm massage which they will never forget for future endeavors. I have kept treats around just to let them know that they are doing so well of course, in moderation.

Since, most of our pets are ground level be sure to keep the areas free from objects that they can swallow, chew or tear apart. This is their area so be mindful of the things that are on the usually lower levels of your home. Act like there is a child in the house always, and this will ensure your pets safety. I am always checking around the house for items that are on their level and could potentially harm them.

Exercise is the most important part of a relationship with our dogs, even just up the block. When walking your dog leashes and collars should of proper fitting for your pet and secured correctly for the dog walk. Collars must be snug and you should be able to put one finger underneath but not too loose which will cause many unpleasant situations for the pet sitter, the owner and most importantly the pet. Make sure their identification tags are up-to-date and attached to their collars.

Playtime with a ball or Frisbee or whatever their favorite toy is should be mandatory for keeping them and you young at heart. Playing with the fly fishing rod with your kitties keeps their minds occupied and releases some energy. Try getting down on the floor with them if you have never done this before and you will be surprised at their reactions. They love this form of play. Bow down with your rump in the air like they do when they are in the play mode and they will surely go crazy with joy (For Dogs - never tried with cats). TLC time is important as well, as most pets love this attention. Our pets have such few requirements from us and enrich us beyond all forms of measurement.

In conclusion, all these ideas are from being with many different types of pets over the years and caring for them like they were my own. Just implementing some kind of scheduling will ensure some great and hopefully more time with our loved ones. I have always been a pet lover and will continue to provide all pet related services to my clients and their pets.

Mary Varricchio has been a professional pet sitter for over 8 years and an owner for over 30 years. I have taken care of animals that are furry, scaled and feathered and have loved every minute of my time with them. I am a member of Pet Sitters Association and to which I have insurance through. I have many Pescapades or pet stories to tell you which, some will inspire and some will make you sad and everything in between.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What To Do In Case You Loose Your Pet

by; Kadence Buchanan

According to the most recent Synovate pet survey (Sept. 2005), conducted in nine markets across the globe, the UK and the US were shown to be the two absolute leaders in pet ownership. But the world-wide annual statistics on missing pets are shocking. Over 10 million pets go missing every year and millions never make it back home. This short rescue guide was compiled in order to minimize the chances of you ever having to file a missing pet report and to provide to all US pet-lovers a comprehensive list of the things one should know and do before and after his/her independent companion decides to migrate and explore the unknown. Just read carefully the tips that follow keeping in mind that you should not get discouraged or panic if your pet disappears. By following our advice and keeping yourself organized and prepared at all times, the chances are that you will be reunited with your lost friend again soon.

Plan ahead: Create an emergency action list and keep it handy in house or car. Check frequently your pet’s neck to ensure that the collar is in place and that its rabies tag and pet license tag are there; apart from pet’s ID your current phone number should appear. If your pet carries a microchip or a tattoo have that number with you all the time (in your wallet). Make sure you have recent reliable photos of your pet. Create a pet file on your PC with pet web directories and have all the local pet authorities’ telephone numbers also in print. Keep an updated map of your area with your emergency pet kit. Frequently check your locks, doors, windows and fence for possible escape passages. Do not trust strangers and never leave your pet unattended outside stores or inside vehicles. Register your pet to the available services of your area; you will save precious time if your pet becomes lost.

Your pet is missing: Check everywhere you can and do it quickly! Ask friends, neighbors and local pet authorities to assist you in your search. Create and distribute flyers including your pet’s pictures and your phone number and never state the exact amount if you decide to offer a reward or your real name and house address. Scan your neighborhood and give a copy of the missing pet’s flyer to everyone you meet, asking them to call you in case they see or hear anything. Have a real live person or if that is impossible a telephone recording machine answering the phone. Check all the clinics of your area frequently and visit the local shelters in person everyday. Befriend the employees and request their assistance. Inform the local veterinarian offices and the police. Provide all the details they need, but leave a few of your pet’s characteristics out. These will later help you identify whether the person claiming to have found your pet has actually your companion in his/her possession. Never visit by yourself someone that called and reported to have your pet. Take a friend with you or arrange to meet in a public place or the police department. Contact the local media and create a publicity fuss. Publicize your pet’s disappearance via the internet and local newspapers. Check the ‘found pet’ section of your local newspapers daily. Most importantly, do not give up hope. Keep looking and good luck!

Your pet is back: Once reunited with your pet, of extreme importance is for you to discover what circumstances allowed it to escape and perform any necessary changes to prevent a similar incident from happening again. Do not forget to call your neighbors, friends, local veterinarian clinics and shelters, to inform them that your pet is back. Of course, always remember to keep a collar and a current identification tag on your pet at all times, even when they are in your house. Your pet’s ID is actually its ticket home.

About the Author:
Kadence Buchanan writes articles on many topics including Family, Gardening, and Society

Monday, December 22, 2008

First Aid - Top 10 Things to Know ...That May Save Your Pets Life

There are three keys to managing any emergency: don't panic, protect yourself from injury, and prepare in advance.
When faced with an injured or severely ill pet, it is important that you spend a moment to assess the situation. Determine if the pet needs to be moved immediately. Decide if there is a danger of further injury to the pet or to first aid givers. For example, great care must be used before assisting a pet injured on a busy roadway. It may be safest to call for help so that traffic can be diverted before anyone provides first aid. You must insure that you won't be injured yourself – either by the surroundings or by the injured animal. Prepare in advance by knowing the location and numbers of emergency animal care facilities. These guidelines should help.
1. Behavior Knowledge. Understanding how to approach an injured pet safely is critical. Animals may respond to fear and pain instinctively, even if they know you well. You cannot assume that your own pet won't bite you, because pain or fear may provoke even a docile animal to aggression. Preventing a bite to yourself or other assistants must be your first goal.
How to Approach an Injured Pet Safely

If you encounter a dog in need or injured in some way, your first reaction may be to run to help. That’s a common reaction – most people don’t want to see an animal in pain. But without taking the proper precautions, you could get injured. And being injured along with the animal won’t help the situation.
It is important to remember that even the sweetest dog may bite if she is frightened or in pain. Here are some guidelines for approaching an injured pet.
Assess the Situation
Use common sense: Remember that your safety comes first.

If the animal is in the middle of the road, watch for traffic before going to assist.

If there is a house fire, do not enter the house until the fire department has eliminated the danger – very likely firefighters will rescue the pet.

If your pet has fallen, make sure no more items are ready to fall on you.

If your pet is covered in a toxic substance, do not touch the animal unless you are wearing protective gloves or can cover him with plastic (or some other protective material).

If your pet is covered in blood, do not touch the animal without protective gloves. Even though there are few diseases you can get from animal blood, there is no guarantee that human blood is not mixed in from someone else. That person’s blood may have spilled onto the animal, and with the threat of HIV, hepatitis or other illnesses, exposure to any blood is not recommended.

Determine if the Dog is Aggressive
If the animal shows signs of fear or aggression, muzzling him is essential before helping. As you approach the animal, pay attention to his body language and any sounds he is making. Use a soft, gentle, calming voice. Avoid direct eye contact with an injured pet since some will perceive this as a confrontation or threat. A wagging tail is irrelevant. Some dogs with wag their tails throughout an attack.
Here are some body language signals to look out for:


Snarling with teeth exposed

Hair along back standing on end

Ears straight back and flat against head

Tail tucked between legs

Lunging toward you with snapping jaws

Intense staring


Submissive behavior such as lying on ground with belly exposed (these dogs can quickly become fear-biters)
Remember, keeping yourself safe and uninjured is just as important as helping the injured animal. You cannot be much help if you also need medical assistance. If the animal you are trying to help is aggressive and there is a risk that you may get injured, do not try to administer treatment. Call a local animal shelter, humane society, veterinary clinic, animal control officer or police department. Try to stay nearby to watch where the animal goes and to assist when help arrives. If necessary, direct traffic away from the injured animal until further help arrives.

How to Make and Place a Muzzle

Injured animals are usually in pain, and an animal in pain may lash out. One of the most important thing you need to do before helping an injured animal is to place a muzzle on the mouth. Even your own sweet dog may bite if frightened or in severe pain. There are several methods to muzzle an animal but never muzzle one that is vomiting, has difficulty breathing or is coughing.
Muzzles can be purchased from pet stores or veterinary clinics. These muzzles come in a variety of sizes. Having a muzzle to fit your own pet should be included in your pet's first-aid kit.
If you do not have a manufactured muzzle, you can make a temporary muzzle out of tape, nylon stocking, neckties, thick string, belts or strips of fabric.

Tie a knot in the middle of the material. If you're using tape, fold the tape lengthwise, so there are no sticky edges.

Make a large loop in the material.

While standing behind or alongside the animal, slip the loop over the animal’s nose.

Once the loop is over the nose, quickly and snugly tie the loop on top of the nose.

Take the 2 material ends alongside the nose and twist one time underneath the nose.

Take the 2 ends and pass each behind an ear and tie behind the head.


For breeds with short noses, you may need to take an extra piece of material and tie a connection between the loop over the nose and the tie behind the head.
Make sure the muzzle is snug. Be prepared for the animal to struggle against the muzzle. Some animals will even be able to get out of the muzzle. If the animal develops breathing problems or appears to be trying to vomit, remove the muzzle immediately.

2. Veterinary Telephone Number and Address. Keep the name and phone number of your family veterinarian and local veterinary emergency facility handy. This simple guideline can help save the life of your pet. Most veterinarians are open during normal business hours – 8 am to 5 pm. Determine how your veterinarian handles emergency calls. Some have emergency pagers, and in larger metropolitan cities, many contribute to or use an emergency facility for after-hour emergency calls. Calling first can often answer simple questions or prevent a trip in the wrong direction. Even in situations that are not apparently life-threatening, your questions or concerns may be best considered by a professional who can advise you whether or not to come in.
3. Name and Telephone Number of a Friend. If possible, have a friend assist you, especially if your pet needs to be hospitalized. In the car, it is best to have one person keep the pet calm or settled while the other drives to the emergency clinic or veterinary hospital.
4. CPR. Be familiar with animal cardiopulmonary resuscitation. There are classes offered in pet CPR and this knowledge can be important when faced with a life-threatening situation. (I recently took a pet CPR class with Sunny-dog Ink.

5. Heimlich Maneuver. Though not a commonly used or needed skill, knowing how to perform the Heimlich maneuver for your dog can be a life-saving skill. Only perform the Heimlich if you are absolutely certain your pet is choking on a solid object (such as a toy), and you have been properly trained in the technique. Improperly used, the Heimlich can cause injury to your pet.

Many people confuse difficulty breathing with choking. If you witness your pet ingesting an item and then immediately begin pawing at the face, the throat, acting frantic, trying to cough and having difficulty breathing, only then should the Heimlich maneuver be considered. If your pet is not really choking, the Heimlich can cause serious injury.
After determining that your pet is choking, remove any item that may be constricting the neck. Examine inside the mouth and remove any foreign object you see. Do not blindly place your hand down your pet’s throat and pull any object you feel. Dogs have small bones that support the base of their tongues. Owners probing the throat for a foreign object have mistaken these for chicken bones. Do not attempt to remove an object unless you can see and identify it.
If your pet is small and you cannot easily remove the object, lift and suspend him with the head pointed down. For larger animals, lift the rear legs so the head is tilted down. This can help dislodge an item stuck in the throat.
Another method is to administer a sharp blow with the palm of your hand between the shoulder blades. This can sometimes dislodge an object. If this does not work, a modified Heimlich maneuver can be attempted.

Grasp the animal around the waist so that the rear is nearest to you, similar to a bear hug.

Place a fist just behind the ribs.

Compress the abdomen several times (usually 3-5 times) with quick pushes.

Check the mouth to see if the foreign object has been removed.

This maneuver can be repeated one to two times but if not successful on the first attempt, make arrangements to immediately take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital.

Even if you are successful in removing a foreign object, veterinary examination is recommended. Internal injury could have occurred that you may not realize.

6. Bandaging. A bandage helps to cover or apply pressure to a wound to protect or control hemorrhage. Bandages can be fabricated from towels, washcloths, paper towels, or just about any piece of fabric.

You and your pet are far from help (perhaps camping or hiking), and your pet hurts himself. Would you know how to stabilize him until you could reach a veterinarian? This article provides some guidance in case of such an emergency, but it does not replace the skill and expertise of your veterinarian. If possible, it is better to let a trained expert treat your pet than yourself.

The most common reason a head wrap is applied is to stop bleeding from the ears.

Use long strips of gauze or torn sections of sheet.

Wrap completely around the head, pinning the ears to the side of the head.

Be very careful not to wrap too tightly - you could cut off the airway.

Do not cover the animal’s eyes with the head bandage. This can increase fear and anxiety in the pet.

Once the bandage is in place, apply tape to the front edges of the bandage. Make sure that the hair is included in the tape. This will help keep the bandage in place and reduce the risk of slipping.

Once the bandage is in place, test the tightness: Try to place two fingers under the bandage. If you can do this, the bandage is not too tight.
After the bandage is applied, frequently check the animal for facial swelling or difficulty breathing. If either is detected, remove the bandage immediately.

Leg Bandage
Leg bandages are typically applied to help temporarily stabilize a fracture or to help reduce bleeding from a wound.


If a wound is present, try to cover with a gauze pad or Telfa® pad.


Begin wrapping several layers of cotton (roll cotton) around the leg. If the bandage is being used to stabilize a fracture, the joint above and below the fracture must be included in the bandage. If the fracture is in the humerus or femur, bandaging is not helpful and can make the fracture worse.

After several layers of cotton have been applied, next place several layers of stretch gauze over the roll cotton. This should be snug and compress the cotton. Having a snug bandage is crucial in stabilization and reducing pain. Be careful not too make the bandage so tight that circulation is disrupted.

Finish the bandage by applying an elastic bandage such as VetRap®, Ace® bandage or adhesive tape.

Secure the top of the bandage to the animal by applying one layer of sticky tape. Make sure the animal’s hair and the bandage are included in the tape. This will prevent the bandage from sliding off.

After the bandage is applied, frequently check the toes for swelling or coldness. If either is detected, remove the bandage.


Splints are used to add extra support to fractures of the bones below the elbow. Be very careful if you apply a splint to the rear leg. Due to the natural position of the rear legs, bandaging these bones in a straight alignment can be detrimental. Splints are best used only in the front legs.

Follow the instruction for leg bandage.

After the cotton and stretch gauze have been applied, place a flat stick or straight piece of metal on either side of the leg and tape in place.

If no sticks or metal are available, rolled up newspaper or a magazine can be used. Place it next to the injured leg and tape in place.

Cover the bandage and splint with elastic bandage such as VetRap® or Ace® bandage.

Secure the top of the bandage to the animal by applying one layer of sticky tape. Make sure the dog’s hair and the bandage are included in the tape. This will prevent the bandage from sliding off.

Bandages and splints do not help fractures of the humerus (upper arm bone) or femur (thigh bone). They can even cause more damage. If you suspect that your pet has a fractured upper thigh bone or upper arm bone, do not use a bandage or splint. Try to keep your pet as quiet and confined as possible and contact your veterinarian.

7. Stopping Bleeding. If there is an obvious source of bleeding, apply pressure to control the hemorrhage. Pressure is best applied with a clean cloth or towel applied directly to the wound.
8. Towels or Blankets. Blankets and towels can aid in picking up an injured pet or to control bleeding. You can use a towel to wrap a frightened pet or cover a wound. Frightened pets are often relieved by the dark calm enclosure of a blanket.
9. Board, Stretcher or Strong Blanket. Strong sturdy instruments are important to help move or transport severely injured pets that are unable to walk. A small board, a sturdy wool blanket, a piece of canvas or a hammock can be used. Gently roll or move the pet onto the device. Typically, two people are needed to pick up and move the pet when using a stretcher. Be careful as this procedure may cause pain to an injured pet, and exposes the helpers to the risk of bite injury.
10. Finances. Probably the last thing people think about during an emergency is how to pay the bill. Emergency clinics and veterinary practices are no different than other small businesses, and they need to pay their own bills to survive. Expect to leave a deposit when admitting a pet and be prepared to pay for services rendered. Veterinary insurance can be most beneficial in these situations; however, often the veterinary clinic will require that you pay the bill and the insurance company will reimburse you after the invoice is submitted. Most veterinary clinics do accept major credit cards, and there are some veterinary clinics that offer other financial alternatives through banks.


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