This week, Mumbai experienced the most severe rainfall in 45 years. What does that mean for our canines? For our pets it meant they couldn’t go out at walk time, we had to adjust to dry periods. It meant wrapping them up in a raincoat, boots, umbrella over head and good rub down when they got home. And a thorough check for ticks (we call them the Horrid)
Now, for an easy dash out during a dry spell there isn’t much danger to you or your pet dog. Take a moment to think about how quickly safe situations turn sour. In the case of a flash flood, or underestimating what you are stepping out to you and your dog may be at risk.
Another group of dogs at risk are our Mumbai streeties, gully dogs, pariah, rasta kutta…. however you choose to refer to them. Dogs are good swimmers, and under ordinary conditions can look after themselves. However, when a dog is exhausted, or trying to swim against a strong current, it can be at risk of drowning.
Street dogs, can become easily exhausted because they’ve lost their way, often thunder and lightning can startle them they will take off running in no particular direction. These are the dogs that are at the greatest risk of drowning, or being so tired and weary that they cannot help themselves. Many street dogs are already in weakened physical condition, add to that the emotional stress of getting lost and being exhausted, they stand little chance of surviving. We know you cannot go out and save every dog, or bring everyone in off the streets, (though we’d love to!) but if you come across a dog in distress, you should know how to help the dog. Please always remember when you rescue a dog, horse – any animal, you must attend to your safety first. If you are in peril, you cannot be of any help to the animal. So, the rescuer must make sure he/she is safe and in command of the situation to be effective.
How can your pet be at risk of drowning? Pet picnics and beach days, or a day trip to the closest trek can put your dog in harm’s way very quickly. The great Indian obsession of sitting in waterfalls- now with your pets- is a dangerous proposition. You could lose your dog if something spooks them and they run away. Make sure you know what is appropriate for your breed, if it is a mixed breed, make sure you know what activity suits its temperament. We’ve given you an overview of the dangers of dogs in water, we’re specifically referring to unusual situations and not a normal day at the beach or a well planned trak at an appropriate time of year.
We’ve included a quick guide – “Help My Dog is Drowning”, for you, it includes basic instructions on how to pull a dog out of water if it is drowning. Basic CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and how to perform CPR on a dog.
We hope you, your pets and your streeties stay safe this monsoon.
| Help My Dog is Drowning |
Dogs are excellent swimmers but can drown if they become exhausted or fall through ice. If your dog is drowning in a lake or pool, send for help and then try to reach the dog with your hand. If you must swim to the dog, take a floating device with you. Grab your dog by the tail or back of the neck, or let it grab on to the float. Swim back to shore.
Once you have reached shore, hold the dog upside down by the hocks.
Give a few sharp shakes to drain excess water from the lungs. Lay the dog on its side. Make sure there is no debris in the mouth. If the dog is not breathing, administer artificial respiration. If there is no heartbeat, apply
CPR. When the dog is conscious, wrap it in a blanket.
If the dog was rescued from ice water, treat it for hypothermia. CPR (when heart beat & breathing stops)The same CPR technique used for humans can be adapted to save the life of a dog. CPR will provide heart contractions and breathing until the dog can perform these functions on its own. Heart and respiratory failure can occur after a trauma such as an electric shock, poison ingestion, a car accident or shock caused by a trauma. (If there is massive external or internal bleeding, CPR will not be effective since there is not enough fluid in the blood vessels to carry oxygen.) CPR should not be performed on a dog that has a heartbeat. Nor should you perform artificial respiration on a dog that is already breathing unless the breaths are very unsteady and shallow. Watch the dog’s sides to see if the chest is rising and falling.Visual signs of no heartbeat include fully dilated pupils and cool, blue-colored gums. Get familiar with pulse points on your healthy dog. Knowing how a normal heartbeat feels will help you in the event of an emergency. If there isn’t a heartbeat or breath, CPR must be given to the dog. You will have to manually compress the heart and administer artificial respiration, one immediately after the other. A rhythm must develop between the heart compression and the artificial
An unconscious dog may become aggressive when it revives. Apply a domuzzle — always. You can use a strip of gauze, a strip of sheet, a necktie
or even a sock. Wrap the cloth around the snout and tie under the jaw. Pull the ends back on each side of the dog’s neck and tie behind the head.
If the dog starts to vomit, remove the muzzle and reapply when he is
Administer CPR as follows:
Lay the dog on its side. If there is no back or neck injury, pull the head and neck forward.
Open the dog’s mouth and pull the tongue forward so it does not block
Clear the mouth of any debris with your fingers and close the dog’s
Recheck the pulse.
Hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed.
Apply a muzzle.
Inhale and put your mouth over the dog’s nose, forming an airtight seal.
Repeat the process 10 -15 times per minute.
Remove your mouth and apply heart massage in between breaths.
Place the heel of one hand over the dog’s chest (in line with the back of its elbow).
Place the heel of your other hand on top of the other.
Pump firmly and briskly.
Hold each push for two counts and release for a count of one. (Use pressure appropriate for the size of the dog.)
Continue the massage until the heartbeat returns. Continue artificial respiration until the dog begins to breathe.
If the dog does not respond after 15 minutes of CPR, revival is unlikely.
Hypothermia (Cold Injury)Exposure to cold temperatures, especially if
the dog is wet or ill can cause the onset of hypothermia. Symptoms include shivering, lethargy and eventual unconsciousness. The body will feel cold to the touch. Breathing is slow and shallow. First aid starts with drying the dog and placing it in a warm place. Do not put the dog too close to a fire or heat source. Heating the dog too quickly can cause shock. Be careful not to burn the dog’s skin. In the case of newborn puppies or if the dog has collapsed, place in warm bath water. When the puppy or dog is warm, remove it and dry thoroughly. Make sure the water does not become cooler than the dog or it will extract heat from the dog’s body. Keep the dog in a draft-free, warm room for several hours. Warm liquids or warm food may be offered.