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What every dog owner should know about first aid

Mari A. Schaefer, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

You can't tell by just feeling a dog if its temperature is elevated. Those ear thermometers are built for humans and useless in pets because of their anatomy.

Instead, look for symptoms such as altered behavior. A pet may collapse or vomit as well. Placing ice bags under the pet's armpits, covering them with a wet towel, cooling the pads of their feet with alcohol swabs, or placing them in a pool or stream will help bring down high body temperature, she said.

The class included CPR instruction, recognizing signs and symptoms that would signal a medical crisis, basic first aid, and emergency planning for transportation and hospital treatment before it is needed.

The seminar hit home for Whitemarsh Police Officer Matt Stadulis, who was there with his service dog, Nika, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois trained as a patrol and explosives dog. A few years ago Stadulis' first canine partner, Brock, suffered a seizure at a training class, he said.

"I didn't know what to do," Stadulis said. First aid had not been a part of the comprehensive training officers go through with their canine partners, he said.

Brock, now retired at age 9, was rushed to Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania and treated for mild heatstroke. He fully recovered, the officer said.

The first-aid class "gives you the confidence to know what to do," said Stadulis.

CREATE AN EMERGENCY PLAN FOR YOUR PETS

-- Know where the nearest 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic is located. Have the phone number handy.

-- Be able to recognize abnormal behaviors for your pet. Know the basic signs of overheating, poison exposure, and trauma.

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