Unconsciousness

April 12, 2012

It is scary to see your beloved dog unconscious, but when you do, it’s not time to fall apart; instead it is time to take action. By taking action right away you could save your dog from what could have been a fatal situation. It’s never easy to step up when you are scared, but stepping up and taking action is what your dog needs you to do when he or she is unconscious.

Symptoms

When your dog is unconscious he or she is totally unresponsive to you. They may or may not have eye movement and unconsciousness may or may not accompany a seizure or shock symptoms such as white gums, a rapid heart beat, weak pulse, or rapid breathing. When your dog is unconscious he or she may stop breathing and their heart may stop beating as well. Your first goal should always be to get the heart beating and get the dog breathing.

Prevention

It is difficult to prevent unconsciousness because it can occur for a variety of reasons. Many dogs are unconscious after a seizure which is due to an uncontrollable or unpreventable health condition. Other dogs may suffer unconsciousness due to an accident or traumatic event, things which could have never been foreseen or controlled. Of course, if you know your dog has a health condition you can prevent unconsciousness with medications or good care, be sure to follow up on these things.

Treatment

  • When you treat an unconscious dog you will need to first clear the dogs airway.
  • Carefully open the dogs mouth by using both hands, one on either jaw.
  • Press the dogs lips over his or her upper teeth using the thumb on one side and the fingers on the other so that the dogs lips are between the teeth and your fingers.
  • If you can see an object blocking the airway try t remove it with your fingers.
  • If there is something blocking the airway that you cannot reach in the dogs airway, grasp the dog by the back legs, pick it up, and shake the dog while slapping its back to help dislodge the object.
  • If you cannot dislodge the object bring the dog to the veterinarian straight away.
  • If the dog is breathing, check for shock. If the dog has pink gums it is a good sign that it is not in shock.
  • Feel for a heartbeat by placing two fingers two inches behind the dogs elbow in the middle of the chest. If the dogs heart is not beating, you will need to turn the dog on its back. Kneel down and clasp your hands together over the dog’s chest with your palms on either side of the chest. Press down firmly on the chest for a count of two and then release for a count of one. Repeat 60 to 90 times per minute.
  • Check for breathing. Between chest compressions hold the dogs’ mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils to provide a dog that is not breathing air. You’ll blow into the nostrils for three seconds. Take a deep breath and blow again until you feel resistance or physically see the chest rise. Repeat this process 10 to 20 times per minute.
  • Use five heart compressions to one breath of air in CPR for your dog.
  • If the dogs heart is not beating continue CPR while transporting the dog to the veterinarian. If the heart begins beating but the dog is not breathing, be sure to continue breathing into the nostrils to provide your dog with the breath that it needs.

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