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Signs of a Medical Emergency in Pets

Just like for humans, accidents and emergencies can occur for family pets. Whether they eat something toxic, experience trauma, or show signs of disease, it is important for pet parents to be prepared. There are many signs that your pet may be experiencing a medical emergency. Pet owners should know these signs to be prepared in case of a medical emergency in their pets.

Common Symptoms

The symptoms of a medical emergency will depend on a variety of things. For example, if your pet was in an accident, it may be obvious that they need immediate medical attention. However, some emergencies might be less obvious.

If you notice any of the following symptoms in your pet, you should address it immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Blood in urine or feces 
  • Unconsciousness
  • Eyes appear swollen, red, or cloudy
  • Slow or rapid heartbeat 
  • Sudden blindness
  • Collapse
  • Hives or facial swelling
  • Seizures
  • Signs of heat stroke
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Ingesting toxic substance
  • Constant vomiting
  • Vomiting or diarrhea for more than 24 hours
  • Cannot stand or walk
  • Change in body temperature

There are additional reasons your pet may need emergency care. For example, if your pet is pregnant and experiencing complications, you should take them to an emergency hospital. Additionally, your pet should receive immediate medical attention if they experienced an accident or trauma like being hit by a car.

Each of these symptoms could mean your pet is suffering from any number of medical conditions. For example, if your pet is unconscious with a slow or rapid pulse, your pet could be suffering from cardiac arrest. They could also have a parasite-related issue, such as heartworm disease. Like humans, the list of potential health issues is never-ending. Seek help immediately, so that a diagnosis can be made, and a treatment plan started.

Although some situations may not be a medical emergency, if your pet has a sudden change in behavior, they may have some underlying medical issues that need to be addressed. In this case, make an appointment with your veterinarian for a check-up soon after your pet shows minor signs that something may be wrong. 

What You Should Do If Your Pet Shows These Symptoms

If you notice that your pet is showing these signs, you should act immediately. Call your veterinarian or a 24-hour veterinary hospital. For pets that have suffered a trauma, you will want to be cautious because they may be aggressive. Approach them slowly and say their name. Use caution when lifting them, making sure to support their neck and back. If your pet is aggressive, call for help.

First Aid Kit

Your pet may need veterinary attention as soon as possible; however, there may be a few first aid techniques that will help stabilize your pet. For instance, if there is significant bleeding, apply pressure to the wound to lessen the bleeding.

Your pet may grab hold of food or another foreign object that they should not have, which can lead to choking. You can try removing the object by gently reaching into your pet’s mouth or throat. If you cannot reach the object, try putting your arms around their belly and pushing firmly up just below the ribcage. This action will act as a modified Heimlich maneuver and should dislodge the object.

If you remove the object but your pet is still unconscious, there are more steps you can take. Check their breathing and heart rate. If they are not breathing, you can perform CPR on your pet. To do this, place your pet on their side and blow into their nostrils while holding the mouth shut. If you don’t feel a heartbeat, you can try chest compressions. You will want to do three quick compressions for every artificial respiratory breath you administer.

Your pet may ingest something toxic such as chocolate or a cleaning product. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435. They will give you instructions for how to proceed based on your pet’s age and breed, what they ingested, and how much they ingested.

24-Hour Emergency Care

When pet parents notice a medical emergency for their furry friends, they should seek help right away. Many veterinarians are only open during business hours. If the incident occurs during these times, call your vet to ask what the next steps should be. They will have insight into your pet’s age, breed, and medical history. Your vet might suggest bringing your pet into their clinic or taking them to an emergency hospital.

Unfortunately, if the incident happens after hours, you must seek emergency care at the closest animal hospital as soon as possible. Serious conditions can progress or worsen quickly, so it is important to take immediate action. Remaining calm will help your pet cooperate and help soothe stress for both of you.

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Tips on Integrating Cats and Dogs into the Same Home

June marks National Adopt a Cat Month, created by the American Humane Association to bring awareness to the growing cat population in shelters - approximately 3.4 million per year. Many individuals considering cat adoption may already have a dog. Regardless, before making the decision to bring a cat into your household, it is crucial that potential pet owners take a variety of factors into consideration.

To better help integrate cats into any family, Heidi Ganahl, CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow featuring Home Buddies, a premier in-home pet care service, has created a series of useful tips.

Tips on Integrating Cats and Dogs into the Same Home:

-Choose the Right Personality: Always consider the personalities of the animals you are bringing into the home. For example, if you have a dog who likes to chase, you will want a cat that won't be in fear.

-Separate Rooms: For the first week or so, keep the dog and cat separated. You can switch between confining one to a certain room or area for a couple of days and then switch which one is confined. This will give them each time to get to know each other's smells and become familiar with them.

-Supervise At All Times: Don't leave the animals together by themselves until everyone has settled into having new friends in the house. You want to be able to keep an eye on them, so lock them in separate areas when you are out of the house.

-Keep the Dog on a Leash: While the dog and cat are in the same room, allow the dog to see the cat moving around. Watch the dog to make sure it doesn't try to chase the cat and that it isn't too fixated on what the cat is doing. You can also feed the dog some treats when the cat is around to have them build up a positive association with the kitty.

-Practice Obedience: You can then use obedience commands to help keep your dog calm and focused when the cat is around.

-Create a Safe Zone: Make sure the cat has a place to jump up to if they need to. You always want to make sure that your kitty has a safe place to get away from the dog in case they dog does start to chase them.


10 Things We Can Teach Our Children to Prevent Dog Bites

Did you know that children are the most common victims of dog bites? Many dog bites that affect children happen during everyday activities and with familiar dogs.

May 18 - 24 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has great ways to help parents and their children understand how they can prevent dog bites, so you can help your kids - and dogs-stay safe and happy!

10 Things We Can Teach Our Children to Prevent Dog Bites

  1. Avoid dogs you don't know. If you see an unknown dog wandering loose and unsupervised, avoid the dog.
  2. Ask before petting!  When the owner is with their dog, always ask the owner for permission to pet their pup. Even if it's a dog you know, asking first can help prevent sudden movements that may startle the dog.
  3. When confronted, don't panic. If a dog confronts you, walk confidently and quietly away. If a dog goes after you, stay calm and stand still, keeping hands low and clasped in front of you. It's important to take a defensive position, so the dog won't think you are trying to harm him.
  4. Don't make it worse. Avoid escalating the situation by yelling, running, hitting or making sudden movements towards the dog. All of these actions will make the dog feel threatened and can make the dog more aggressive.
  5. Let sleeping dogs lie. When a dog is sleeping or eating, leave the dog alone.
  6. Never tease dogs. Don't take their toys, food or treats, and never pretend to hit or kick them. This could create distrust in the dog, and make him or her more aggressive.
  7. Playtime has a beginning and end. A dog has to want to play, but when the dog leaves that's your cue that playtime is over. The dog will come back for more play if he feels like it.
  8. Never pull a dog's ears or tail. Pain makes a dog feel like he is in danger and he could respond by biting.
  9. Dogs aren't toys. Never climb on or try to ride dogs. Not only could this scare or anger the dog, but it could also injure the dog if he cannot support the weight or tries to get away.
  10. Dog crates are safe spaces. Don't bother a dog when he is in his crate. Dogs need a comfortable, safe place where the child never goes. Remember, dogs need alone time too!

Teach your children these simple lessons to reduce dog bites, and help keep your kids and pups safe, happy and healthy! For more information on preventing dog bites, visit

You learn something new every day

You are probably looking at this photo and saying, "What in the world?" Looks pretty crazy. An Outback Steakhouse bag as a decoration? Is this a new trend?
Actually, it is a makeshift fix for a pesky problem we have been trying to resolve.  Behind the bag is William's fish tank. We went into the pet store a few days ago to purchase a couple algae eaters and some algae removing stuff. The gravel and ornaments in the tank were slowly getting covered in algae and we knew we had to do something soon. After getting our fish and water treatment, we headed over to the check-out counter.  The cashier asked me if I was trying to get rid of algae in a fish tank. I told her yes and she politely asked if I would like to hear some advice. I accepted and listened. She was very animated and seemed to know her stuff. She suggested some non-chemical methods for me to try and see if they would work. She explained the ins and outs of algae and asked me how often I turn on the light in the aquarium. I told her I had a day and night light and that I run it 24/7. Well.... she told me that was what my problem was. Too much light has been feeding the algae and allowing it to grow. OOPS! That explained it all right there!

She went on to tell me what steps to take. Of course the obvious thing was to turn the light off. She said to only run it at night, maybe 6-8 hours. Next she suggested that I cover the tank in a blanket for 3-5 days without any light and see if that kills the algae. No lie, I looked at her 10 kinds of crazy. A blanket? She told me that if that didn't work then my other option was a moss ball. I noticed them around the store, but didn't know what they were. Here is an example of what a moss ball looks like:
They are supposed to absorb nitrates and prevent algae. Her last bit of advice was to use a chemical although she was against it. I decided to try her blanket idea... hence the Outback bag. Guess what? Blocking all the light for 3 days now has stopped the algae from growing and it is almost all gone! I plan to remove the bag tomorrow and will purchase a moss ball this weekend. I wish I could remember the young lady's name or face so I could thank her for her wonderful advice! I just love home remedies and I certainly learned a whole lot in the process :) 
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