Strangulation

April 12, 2012

Strangulation in dogs is something a lot of pet owners have to deal with. The problem is that many of us do things to try to keep our dogs safe and in the end these safety measures end up hurting our dogs. Strangulation is not something that any owner ever wants to experience, but there are things that you can do to prevent this from happening to your beloved pet.

Symptoms

Strangulation happens in a lot of different situations such as when dogs become hung up on something in their runs, on a fence, or entrapped by their collars in such a way that they are not able to get enough air to sustain life. The symptoms will include shallow breathing, listlessness, unconsciousness, and death. Some homeowners are lucky enough to find their dogs before they pass away, but many have not been. Strangulation can be uncomfortable for the dog as well as fatal.

Prevention

Preventing strangulation is doable in many different instances. The first thing that you can do to prevent strangulation is to make sure that your dog has a well fitting collar. When a collar fits properly there will not be too much slack that will get caught on fence posts and this sort of thing. There are also collars available that make it impossible for a dog to strangle when wearing it, these are often called break away collars and are a good choice. It’s important not to use tie outs because dogs will often strangle themselves when they are tied up to something. Choke collars have also been known to strangle pets, so be sure if you use this style of collar that you use one that has a quick release so your dog can stay safe. Also make sure that there are not any loose pickets in your fence or broken pieces of a crate or run that the dog can become entrapped in.

Treatment

If you find your dog is strangling your first goal will be to restore their airway. This may involve cutting a collar or breaking a board or piece of a crate that is keeping them bound. If they are unresponsive you can be sure that the airway is clear and start giving them breaths. Listen for breaths, check for a heart beat, and if these are not present begin CPR with heart massage. Remember that if your dog is still conscious they may be panicky so it is important to take your safety into consideration every step of the way while trying to do the best thing for your pet. If your dog remains unconscious you should seek emergency veterinary care immediately.

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