Dogs are man's best friend, but squirrels may very well be a dog's worst enemy.
Johnny, a boxer dog, learned the hard way when he was let off leash and was hit by a truck while chasing a squirrel. It happened in the blink of an eye and Johnny's owners were left in a state of shock not knowing what to do or where to go to help their badly injured best friend.
Most pet owners are left panicking when they find their beloved pet in a life or death situation. April is Pet First Aid Month and it is a great time for pet owners to learn how best to handle pet accidents and emergencies.
Johnny, a boxer dog, found out the hazards of chasing squirrels.
Veterinarian Michael Bottorff, at East Lawn Animal Hospital, said "I think first aid awareness is all about prevention of problems and one of the biggest problems that we see are animals that have unrestricted movement; cats and dogs who are allowed to freely roam outdoors or are let off leash."
Having a first aid box readily available in case of emergency is a must have for any pet owner. Dr. Botoroff suggests including such items as hydrogen peroxide to clean any wounds, rubbing alcohol, a soft cotton bandage, adhesive tape, an ace bandage, triple antibiotic ointment to treat superficial wounds and something to secure a tourniquet like a heavy rubber band.
So what do you do if faced with the unexpected pet emergency?
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
"Each individual owner ought to talk to their own veterinarian about what their protocol for emergencies is before something happens. East Lawn Animal Hospital has someone on call and ready to respond to emergencies 24/7, 365 days a year. I can't stress enough that every pet owner should ask their veterinarian from their initial visit how they handle emergencies." Bottorff said.
Simple first-aid procedures can be the difference between life and death. Knowing how to apply pressure to a source of bleeding and place a temporary bandage is vital to your pet's safety, and may even save the life of your furry or feathered friend. Having the number of the poison control center and posting it where it is easily seen is crucial. Bottorff said, "If an animal has ingested a potentially poisonous substance and it is discovered within an hour what I am going to tell people is to give their pet 1 tsp. of hydrogen peroxide by mouth every 10 minutes until they empty their stomach contents."
Animal poisoning can be fatal but is nearly always preventable, he said.
"The two most common poisoning situations that have come into East Lawn Animal Hospital are pets that get into their owner's medication and pets that ingest antifreeze. Antifreeze is one of the most deadly poisons for any animal. The mixture is sweet to the taste and just a small lick can cause irreversible kidney problems for your pet," said Bottorff.
He also advises pet owners to be sure their medication is up and out of the reach of curious cats and dogs that will eat up just about anything they find.
So what happened to Johnny the squirrel-chasing-dog who was let off leash and was hit by a truck? He had two broken legs and numerous other injuries, but his tale has a happy ending. Johnny now chases squirrel only from the safety of his fenced backyard. His owners smother him with hugs and have learned that it only takes one unguarded moment of allowing their trusty pet to roam leash free for tragedy to strike.