Thursday, November 12, 2009

Your Labrador Retriever's First Aid

Nobody plans to need to provide first aid to their dog, but it's still worth making sure you know what to do should your Labrador Retriever have an accident or sustain an injury. It may save your dog's life. Pack a small doggie first aid kit, learn how to use its contents, and keep it handy when you and your Labrador are out and about.

Although we can't cover all possible emergencies in this article, there are a few situations which occur quite commonly, and you should familiarize yourself with how to handle them.

Labradors are very gentle dogs, but they may still snap or bite if they are hurt. A soft piece of string wrapped around his nose and tied behind his ears makes a good emergency muzzle. It is very effective in preventing him biting you as you provide basic first aid.

When he is muzzled, remove him from danger. If he has been hit by a vehicle, he needs to be moved off the road to avoid him being hit again. To do this, slide a blanket or large piece of cardboard under him and use it to lift him into a car for the trip to the veterinarian.

Your rough and tumble Labrador Retriever may get a cut or deep wound on his skin. If there is bleeding, put pressure on the wound with a folded piece of clean cloth. Don't remove it, even if blood soaks the cloth, as this will dislodge the blood clot that's forming, and bleeding will worsen. Just apply another cloth on top and maintain even pressure, then take him to your vet to see if he needs sutures.

Abrasions and scratches can be cleaned with either saline, or a dilute iodine solution. Watch for any signs of infection, such as an increase in discharge, or reddening at the edges of the wound. If you're in any doubt, take him to your vet for a checkup.

Dog fights are very frightening, and both dogs can come out of it a bit worse for wear. Bite wounds always need to be checked by your vet. Even a small puncture wound can have quite severe muscle damage under the skin. They're very painful, and can easily become infected. Antibiotics and pain relief can have your Labrador smiling again very quickly.

In the summer months, high temperatures can lead to heat stroke. Dogs can only disperse heat from their body by panting. They don't have the same type of sweat glands that we do. Labradors Retrievers love to play, and often don't know when to stop. This can cause overheating, lethargy and disorientation. Gentle hosing with tepid water will help to get his temperature down, but heatstroke can lead to internal organ failure and there may not be any indication of this in the early stages. This is another instance where it's absolutely vital to take your Labrador to your vet for follow up care. It could save his life.

It's a rare Labrador Retriever that doesn't eat everything in sight, and this can put him at risk of being poisoned. If you think he has eaten something toxic, take him and the packaging, if you have it, to the vet as soon as you can. That way, he can identify the ingredients in the poison, and start treating your dog with the appropriate antidote. Don't induce vomiting unless your vet advises you to do so; some poisons are very irritant and can do even more damage to your dog as they are vomited back up.

There are dog first aid courses available in many areas, and although you may never need to use that knowledge, it's a comfort to know that if anything did happen to your Labrador, you'd know just what to do to help him.

This guest post is brought to you by Dog Fence DIY's staff veterinarian Dr. Susan Wright. Dog Fence DIY has a large variety of electric fence for dogs at the best available prices. This system will also include the proper installation needed as well as the training for your pet.

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