Steps To Help Your Dog If You Suspect He Has Ingested A Poisonous Substance Or Has Become Seriously Injured:

Dogs are "creatures of habit" and one habit they have is chewing and eating things they should not.  As a responsible dog owner it is your responsibility to keep as much poisonous material from your dog's reach as you possibly can.  It is just as necessary to "pet proof" your home and yard as it is to "child proof" your home and yard.  It is the lack of attention to these details that lead to many unexpected pet deaths and injuries each year.  If your dog has ingested something that has a container label which shows the exact contents or ingredients make sure you bring that with you to your emergency caregiver.  This will insure that the dog gets the most appropriate treatment for his condition.  This information will also be necessary if you call a poison control number to check for the severity of a  substance or appropriate first aid for the substance.

The first step in dealing with an emergency situation is to have a plan of action.  The second step is for you and your family members to know the plan. The third step is to execute the plan if needed.  This will result in less panic for you and your family and faster care for your pet.  The first important thing is to locate a veterinary hospital that is closest to you and open 24-hours.  This will serve as a back-up incase your regular veterinarian's office is closed.  Make sure the contact numbers for your regular veterinarian and emergency veterinarian hospital are posted near your home phones and are also programmed into all your family's cell phones.  Make sure that all your family members know where the physical locations of these places are located, so that if you need to take your pet to one of them for emergency care, valuable time will not be lost while you try to find them.  Another thing that might help is to program these locations into your automobile's on board navigation system and save them as a "favorite" location.  If you are fortunate enough to have more than one choice for treatment also ad those to your list so that you have them incase you need them.  Having a "Plan B" or even a "Plan C" is always a good idea.

You should call the location which you are taking your pet to as soon as possible or at least as soon as you get on the road going to their location.  The advantage to calling before you leave home is that they may be able to tell you something to do for your pet that could save its life or reduce its suffering.  Calling ahead will allow the caregiver to be better prepared for your pet's specific needs upon arrival.  Also if there is a problem at that given time, which would not permit them to see your pet or help with your pet's specific problem, valuable time will not be lost and you can select another plan of action.  Also be aware that many of the emergency care facilities require some amount of payment in advance before they will treat your dog.  You should ask them what their specific requirements are before emergency treatment is rendered so that you can be financially prepared before arrival.  Otherwise they may refuse to treat your dog no matter how serious its needs may be.

Just like with humans knowing basic first aid for dogs is also a very worth while investment.  There are many good books on this subject available through pet supply houses, pet stores, book stores and on the internet.  This is a really good idea if your dog will be used for hunting or other activities in the field where emergency pet care usually does not exist.  We also recommend that you include at least a basic canine first aid kit with your regular gear just incase your pet gets into trouble while in the field.  You should also be familiar with the signs of heat exhaustion and how to treat it while your dog is working or playing hard in the field.  Heat exhaustion is a big killer of retrievers in the warm climates and is a very serious condition that requires immediate attention.  Dogs can also suffer from hyperthermia just like humans.  You should also be familiar with the signs of this condition and first aid treatment for it if you plan on being in cold or frigid temperatures.



Other Helpful Resources:

ASPCA POISON CONTROL HOTLINE: 1-888-426-4435 (Consultation Charges May Apply)

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