Trained first aiders will not be surprised to learn that similar techniques apply to their dogs too. First and foremost is to ensure that the airway is free of loose teeth or foreign bodies in the case of choking, accident or of blow to the head. Lie the dog on his side and pull the tongue forward.
The pulse can be best felt in the groin where there is less hair. If the dog is not breathing, artificial respiration can be given by blowing down the dog’s nose with its mouth closed. If there is no heartbeat, then heart massage can be carried out by squeezing the chest wall between your thumb and fingers of one hand. Repeat these 2 procedures while someone else gets veterinary help or while you are in the car to the vet’s.
To carry a blanket in your car for carrying an injured animal, and a 2 litre can of water to drink in case of being caught in a traffic jam in hot weather, or for soaking and massaging into a dog in the case of heat stroke, can save a life. Severe bleeding should be controlled with a good size paid of anything applied with pressure, combined with elevation of the limb involved. Raising the dog’s hindquarters on a pillow or cushion keeps the brain and heart oxygenated when there is blood loss and a dropped blood pressure level. Looking at the colour of the gums of your dog can reveal whether there is shock or internal bleeding as they may change from pink to white due to lack of blood and oxygen.
PS. Special note from Anne re Laryngeal Stridor. This is due to paralysis of the vocal cords which can obstruct the trachea and prevent effective panting, heat loss and air entry and is not uncommon in long necked animals like the horse and greyhound. The tongue may go black due to lack of oxygen and the dog may suffer hyperthermia. It is due to degeneration of the nerve to the cords. Rapid cooling of the dog with cold water is essential and immediate transport to a vet, for opening of the airway, is urgent. Any warning signs of noisy breathing from your greyhound on exercise, panting or excitement, should be investigated immediately before such a terrible death can occur. Surgery is necessary to pull and tie aside one of the cords. It is delicate surgery and usually done by a specialist, but it is not very invasive.
It will give your dog several more years’ life. Anne