How NOT to Lose your Fingers…whilst Saving your Dog’s Life

A loving dog owner recently lost the tip of his finger whilst trying to help his chocking dog.

Whilst playing fetch with his chocolate Labrador, Nick, Bob Larsen suddenly noticed that the dog was chocking on the ball.

“He loves to play ball so we were in the front yard playing ball this morning and just a split second he swallowed the ball, which is about the size of a tennis ball”, said Larsen.

Whilst on the way to a nearby emergency vet, Larsen tried to pry the ball out of Nick’s mouth: “I tried to get the ball out of his mouth one more time and he come down on my finger and I pulled my finger out and just lost the tip of it.”

“Nick, in a panic stage was gagging and coughing and trying to dislodge that and the owner’s attempt to go in and dislodge the ball, it was just an accident,” explained the veterinarian Dr. Rod Van Horn.

Dr. Van Horn stated that Larsen had brought Nick into his office with only three minutes to spare. “The dog was totally unaware that it was acting this way, I mean it was gasping for life”, said the Vet.

According to the Vet, Nick will be just fine. Larsen, on the other hand (or should that be finger?), decided not to have his finger tip reattached because his doctor was unsure whether or not the procedure would be successful. Larsen further stated that: “The finger was secondary, the dog was priority.”

Sadly, choking on balls is one of the main causes of emergency vet visits. However, there are a few simple steps that you, as a dog owner, can take to help your dog if he is choking.

Firstly, take a Pet CPR and First Aid class through your local American Red Cross center. These classes will teach you the fundamentals of pet first aid, including mouth to snout resuscitation techniques. However, there are other types of organizations all over the country that used to provide traditional CPR training and certification on and for human beings that now include CPR training for Pets. You should also call your local animal shelter as they sometimes also offer pet CPR classes that you could attend. Try to encourage your friends and neighbors to attend the pet CPR class with you. The more people there are that are certified in pet CPR, the more pet lives will be saved!

Mouth to Snout resuscitation is very similar to the traditional human mouth to mouth resuscitation, with the obvious difference being that the person performing the procedure will close the dog’s mouth and then breathe into the dog’s nose. Knowing how to perform mouth to snout resuscitation on your dog or cat could help in saving their lives one day.

Most dogs also have chest compressions performed on them during an emergency when their heart stops beating. However, it is best to be cautious, because if the dog does come around during the compression process, you will need to be very careful that the dog does not bite you.

Secondly, when dealing with a choking pet, you can do the Heimlich maneuver.

“The bigger the dog, the easier it is,” said David Smith of the American Red Cross. “You just stand behind him like a human and just do your Heimlich and you can try back blows and stuff.”

Smith does not recommend that you reach into any animal’s mouth to attempt to dislodge a foreign object, especially if the dog is conscious.

Photo Credit: WOWT.com

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