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Laddie's World
Common Accidents, Problems and General First Aid

Common Accidents

   Accidents can happen at any time and can almost never be predicted. That's why they're called accidents after all. But you can help your collie stay safe by knowing what could happen and taking steps to hopefully prevent them from occurring. First thing the new owner of a puppy should do is get on your hands and knees and crawl around your home.

   Interesting perspective isn't it? So, how many things did you notice that you never noticed before? It will not take your puppy long to notice these very same things as well but where you just looked at this stuff, your puppy will check it out. Puppies, especially collie puppies are incredibly curious and nosey (pun fully intended!) creatures. Everything is neat and fascinating and they just have to smell, taste it and play with it. Unfortunately the first time a puppy tries to play with something dangerous may well be the last thing he does. To keep this sort of thing from happening you need to test everything you see and take steps to keep your puppy from getting hurt. First aid for some of these common accidents will follow.

Electrical shocks occur most often when a puppy chews on an electrical cord. The side effects of this habit can range from a mild eye blinking "zap", to death by electrocution. Roll as much excess cord up as possible and try to hide it out of easy view and make the rest of the cord as stationary as possible. There are cord tacks available at the hardware store that can be hammered in the wall to hold a cord tightly in place making it difficult for a puppy get a grip on the cord and pull the light off of the end table or chew on. Some folks hide the cord under the edge of the carpet along the wall were no one walks while others tape it down. Whatever you do to a cord try also putting a taste deterrent on it daily so the puppy gets corrected by the cord with a nasty taste. This is especially helpful if there is no where to hide an electrical cord or if you just can't keep a puppy away from it. Apply it full strength and extra thick every time so the pup comes to expect that correction will occur every time he tries to lick the cord and will just eventually learn to avoid it all together.

Burns and scalds can occur when you leave hot pots at the front of a stove or a hot drink at the edge of a table. Curious puppies will jump up to check it out and the next thing you know he's crying in pain. Use the back burners whenever possible and turn the handles away from the front of the stove. Keep your hot drinks pushed well back from the edge of the table and above all, never leave your puppy alone when there is something hot near him or in his area. Remember that accidents don't happen simply because "he never did it before".

Cuts can be avoided by checking for sharp edges in the areas your puppy plays in or has frequent time in. Just as with hot drinks, never leave a knife or sharp object within easy reach of your puppy and better yet just don't leave him alone in an area where those objects are kept.

Poisoning is a devastatingly common accident in the average house and close to 75% of all the puppies born in the United States this year will invariably get their mouths on something poisonous. Some examples of common household poisons are chocolate, azalea plants, poinsettia plants, yew leaves, rat poison, insecticides, antifreeze, paint remover, solvents, bleach and especially human medicines. Many puppies have found their end by climbing up onto counters and kitchen tables and eating medication vials. All of these items must be raised and/or locked up out of your puppies reach. Some of these things in small amounts may cause a little upset stomach while some of these things need only a lick to take your puppy's life. Safeguard him by being extra vigilant about these common products. Check those bags of fertilizer as well for any insecticides that have been added. If that puppy loves to dig or eat dirt, don't use that brand of fertilizer! Disulfaton is an insecticide commonly added to fertilizer. Also, antifreeze tastes especially sweet to dogs and a few laps can quickly bring on seizures and death so try using a propylene glycol-based antifreeze instead of those based with ethylene glycol. A more specific poisoning issue for collies involves the popular heartworm medication ingredient called Ivermectin. It will be discussed a little further down in the Problems section.

Bumps and bruises can occur with a puppy that always seems to be underfoot. Keeping an eye out for your puppy is just good common sense, but it helps to teach your puppy to stay away from your feet when you're walking so you don't accidentally step, trip or fall on him. Also, pulling heavy objects down and over on them can seriously injure a puppy so be sure to push table runners back and out of a puppy's reach. Strings and cords that are attached to heavy objects should be rolled and put up and out of reach. Puppies love to play tug of war with these objects because they require a lot of strength and present a challenge. Unfortunately many puppies will lose the game when they finally pull that huge bronze antique lamp down on their head. If the impact doesn't kill them they could end up with broken bones or even go blind if they are hit in the head hard enough. Large or heavy puppies can sometimes cause small, light cabinets to fall over on them if they try to jump up on them. These kinds of objects should be attached to the wall or moved to a non-puppy area. Doors that have automatic pull close hinges on them or doors that have a tendency to close quickly should be fixed to close a bit slower so as to avoid catching a puppy's tail or pinching a paw.

Heat stroke most often occurs when a puppy or dog is left in a locked car. This usually is at its worst during the summertime. Even with the windows rolled down and parked in the shade the inside of a vehicle can well exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit in less than five minutes. A dog left in that vehicle can die in as little as 7-10 minutes. Fortunately collies are not so worse off for high heat as many other breeds because their thick coat actually acts as an insulator holding the coolness to their body. But this does not mean that you can leave your collie in the car on a summer day for even a quick five minutes. Your collie can have serious brain damage done to him with very little exposure to that kind of excessive heat. The only safety rule to follow here is JUST DON'T DO IT! If you have to go anywhere that does not allow dogs than don't take the dog for a ride that day or go to that store another day when you don't have the dog. Be warned also, most humane societies consider leaving any animal in a car on a hot summer day cruelty and many municipalities allow the police to break car windows (at your expense) in order to protect the life of an animal trapped inside.

Stings and insect bites may not really be an accident in the general sense of the word, but that certainly doesn't lessen the pain your collie will feel when he gets stung. It rarely is cause for alarm unless it happens in the throat area where the swelling can cause the throat to become constricted and cause difficulty breathing. In some cases, a dog may be allergic to a bee or wasp sting and their owner will need to keep some type of antihistamine tablets available. Your vet can prescribe a particular brand or give you the correct dosage amount of the over the counter antihistamine Benedryl. Of course it would help to also teach your puppy not to go around chasing or catching bees in the first place!

Common Problems

   This is a list of things that can happen to any dog or puppy of any pure or mixed breeding. Sometimes these things can occur out of the blue for one individual dog but they can often seem to run in families. This is by no means a complete list but I choose these because their appearance in the breed is a little more than just "occasional".

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can be caused by an injury sustained during a previous stage of growth, a symptom of hip or elbow dysplasia or it can be brought on by advancing age. Dogs afflicted with this may have difficulty getting up and down, going up or coming down stairs and if it is severe enough the dog may begin to refuse to even walk. I don't recommend waiting until the issue becomes chronic before going to the vet. As soon as you notice changes in your dog's daily physical abilities begin discussing treatment options. It could be that a little extra vitamin C or a Glucosamine / Chondroitin supplement will be all your dog needs to ease his beginning discomfort and let him have another couple of years of free movement. Don't give these supplements without first consulting your vet though. Overdoses of either could be more damaging than helpful.

Bad breath or 'Halitosis' is all to frightfully common in the average dog. Occasionally a dog's breath will smell because they are sick or there may a digestive problem, but more often than not it is caused from gum infections brought on by tarter build up on the teeth. Many people like to assume that the hard biscuits and dry food their dog is eating is enough of an abrasive to keep their dog's teeth clean and while to some extent these things do help. BUT for many dogs it isn't enough. Just as with people, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Regular tooth brushing is a must for the owner of a collie who wants to be able to enjoy their dog's kisses. Using a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for a dog's mouth and yearly veterinarian teeth cleanings will help keep your collie's mouth smelling sweet... or at least tolerable!

Bloat is not an especially common happening in collies but there have been a sufficient number of cases to warrant telling you about it. Most often it is caused by fermenting food releasing gas into the stomach and to lesser extant can be also be caused by dogs that swallow large amounts of air either when they eat or for attention. In large, deep and or wide chested dogs the pressure from this build up of gas or air will cause the stomach to either hold the entrance and exit closed, or twist completely and effectively shut off both ends of the stomach. There is no place for any thing in the stomach to go so it will cause the stomach to swell and distend and feel rock hard. It is extremely painful and it can kill an otherwise perfectly healthy dog in less than a half an hour. Some things that may help prevent the problem include; feeding two or three smaller meals instead of one, adding warm water to the food and allowing it to soak in making the dog slow down to eat it and making the food swell before it gets to the dog's stomach, and putting several medium size toys in the dog's food bowl so he must pick around slowly in order to eat. While there is some conjecture as to whether or not these suggestions can really help prevent bloat there is no reason to think that they can't so it wouldn't hurt to keep these ideas in mind if you have an athletic collie with a particularly wide and deep chest. For more information, and to check out the Purdue University Study on Bloat, check our "Feeding Your Collie" page.

Car sickness usually is nothing to worry over excessively with a young pup. If it is fear based then one need only give their puppy regular training exercises to encourage his confidence in being in the car. If it is true motion sickness, than putting up baby shades on the windows where the puppy sits can prevent him from so easily seeing the scenery go by and make the trip easier for him. Most cases of either will cure in time with regular short rides. But some dogs may need some type of "pet Dramamine" and in the worst cases some dogs will need a tranquilizer to make them sleep through as much of the trip as possible. If your puppy drools excessively, throws up often or seems lethargic whenever he gets in the car, than your pup is car sick.

Cataracts are traditionally expected at the onset of the "senior years", however, this clouding of the eyes is not limited to the elderly dog. In fact most dogs with cataracts have had them all their life. They can be evident early on usually before one year of age. They can be located anywhere on the eye and many times be associated with other eye problems. Many dogs adapt very well to cataracts. In fact, some dogs adapt so well their owners don't even realize there is anything wrong! There are cataract removal surgeries available that will help clear a dog's vision dramatically, but if there is an underlying eye problem responsible for the cataracts the chances of clear vision can vary. The hereditary possibility of cataracts is not yet known but it would be wise for the owner of a puppy who has been diagnosed with cataracts to inform the breeder so that their dogs can be checked and removed from the breeding program if cataracts are present. Cataracts due to a nutritional deficiency are really only seen in hand raised puppies and are not hereditary. If you notice this in a puppy you are hand raising, the addition of a vitamin supplement will usually cure the problem but remember to always consult your vet before giving any supplements or vitamins to your dog or puppy.

Coughing, in and of itself, is not usually a problem since every dog coughs on occasion once or twice in his life. However, consistent coughing should never be ignored. Coughing in puppies will most often be related to a worm problem. Dogs may cough when they have something stuck in the back of their throat or the roof of their mouth. It can also be a symptom of heart disease or a lung problem, inhalation of fumes or a chemical irritant and bronchitis. A dry, persistent cough could be a sign of "kennel cough" and you should call your vet immediately if this is suspected. There will be more precise information on kennel cough in the "Contagious Diseases" page.

Cystitis is an infection of the urinary tract and can be more than a little irritating to dog. They may have trouble urinating because of pain and some dogs will have difficulty holding themselves. If you see blood in the dog's urine frequently, than it may indeed mean an infection is present.

Diarrhea can be a difficult matter for some owners because the possible causes of this can be so varied. A dog will most often have diarrhea after a sudden change in diet, eating something inappropriate for their system, or as a result of sickness. Many dogs will respond to stressful situations or changes in lifestyle by having diarrhea. When getting a puppy make sure to ask what food they were on and if you intend to change it, do so over the course of several days to a week so it isn't a sudden change to such a sensitive digestive system. Many very submissive or overly sensitive dogs may have diarrhea as a side effect of harsh or "instant response demand" training styles. If you see blood in diarrhea, call your dog's vet immediately.

Ear problems are not really a common problem for collies but a few things that should be looked out for are ear mites, infections from a scratch deep inside the ear canal, wax build up and in the summer one should be particularly nice about keeping their collie indoors and away from flies. Flies can be very nasty to the tips of a dog's ears.

Eclampsia or 'milk fever' is a serious condition caused by a lack of calcium in a nursing female. While putting a nursing mother on puppy food may be a big help in making sure a mother dog has enough nutrients for both herself and her puppies, some people prefer to give a calcium and vitamin D supplement. Talk to a vet first please. Eclampsia is usually characterized by a sudden staggering gait, total lack of coordination and collapse. They will sometimes even lose consciousness. Eclampsia is swift in onset and devastating if the mother is not taken to a vet in time.

Eczema may not be common in European breed collies but it has been diagnosed on a regular basis in American bred collies. It is a sudden appearance of large, wet, patches on the back or other area accessible by the dog's teeth. It is usually due to the constant biting of a dog with fleas, other parasites or even excessively dry, itchy skin. Your vet will can prescribe an injection or pills (usually a steroid) that will lessen the itchiness enough to get the dog to stop biting the affected areas so he can be treated for fleas or the dry skin. Be warned! Some dogs can get so much relief from biting themselves that it can become a compulsive disorder or habit. It is rare, but it can happen. I know. I started to do the same as a puppy due to my early allergies and had to be taught to stop biting on command. Thankfully I grew out of it due to my mom's intervention.

Eye trouble for the average dog usually consists of a runny eye due to lying in drafts or an  irritant on the eye such as dust, fur or some other object. These can usually be washed out with warm water or an eye wash made specifically for dogs. Dogs that are allowed to put their heads out the windows of moving cars very often get things blown into them. Many dogs have been blinded from objects that are forcefully shoved into their eyes by the wind. It is a dangerous practice that should not be permitted for many reasons but if nothing else maybe the thought of 2,000-3,000 dollar vet bill for eye surgery will make some people rethink this practice. He may enjoy it today but try telling him that something he enjoyed blinded him tomorrow. Kinda like smoking, huh? Anyway, collies do have a number of genetic eye problems that I'll cover in the "Genetic Problems" page.

Incontinence in puppies can be attributed to several common things. Excitability, for one thing can make even the best of puppies piddle a little bit since they haven't learned to hold themselves perfectly yet. Overly submissive puppies will let some pee out to show their submission to an authority figure or something that scares them to kind of say 'Hey, I'm cool, you're boss, I acknowledge it.' These puppies should never be scolded as it will only make the problem worse. In the puppy's mind you're yelling means that they weren't submissive enough and they will pee even more. Keep greetings low key and short for them. Excited puppies can even be ignored until they settle down before you say hello to them. Sometimes an older puppy that seemed to be house broken will suddenly have a few accidents. This is not spite. It is most often from a puppy who's insides haven't caught up to their outsides yet. He may have grown and now needs more water to sustain his larger size but his kidneys and bladder haven't grown enough yet to handle the extra intake of water. It seems to be particularly evident in puppies who have to be left home alone for eight hours and can't find someone to let them out. Incontinence due to these problems usually go away with maturity and a little thoughtful intervention on your part. Incontinence in older dogs can be a sign of urinary tract infections and in the elderly dog it can be a sign of the dog's diminishing ability to control the muscles of that region. Dogs like this should not be yelled at or suddenly made to spend the rest of their lives in another room. Incontinence by itself can be very stressful for a good collie, but treating him like an outcast will practically kill his spirit. Infections can be treated and most of the time the dog will be fine again. The loss of bowel control in rare cases can be helped with an occasional hormone injection, but for many older dogs it comes down to serious management of their activities and water intake.    

Lameness can be a devil to figure out. Its causes are to numerous to mention here but a few causes can include; dysplasia, sprains or strains, an object such as a piece of glass stuck in a paw, overly long unclipped nails, obesity, infections of the feet and of course broken or fractured bones. An injury or pain in a paw will usually cause the dog to lift the paw and keep it clear of the ground. A problem with the leg itself will cause the dog to take his weight off of the leg even when just standing but especially when walking. If your dog seems to favor a back leg when he moves but has no problem standing on it or using it to shift positions (sit, down, stand) than the problem may lie in his hip. A bone spur on the ball of the thigh bone may prevent a dog from getting full range of motion from the leg as it moves in the socket. A spur can make it very painful to walk properly. Even a pulled muscle in a dog's back can affect how he walks. If you see your collie moving with a limp that just doesn't go away in a day or two of rest than get him to the vet. A leg problem left unchecked can cause lifelong disabilities.

Obesity is the state in which a dog weighs more than is appropriate for his general size and bone structure. Being overweight can bring on a host of health problems, but the worst part of this dangerous issue is that it is a distressingly easy problem to prevent. Obesity is rarely genetically caused and even thyroidism is not the most common cause. Lack of proper exercise and the wrong diet accounts for most cases of canine obesity. Because we are only dogs we depend on the people we live with to see to our dietary needs. But too many people don't understand how necessary it is to be aware of what they are giving us. Giving an older, inactive dog food that is just too high in calories and carbohydrates is just asking for weight gain. Feeling sorry for a puppy who just had surgery and attempting to make it up to him by giving him all the dinner scraps for the next week is a quick way to bring on extra body fat. Owners should always take into account a dog's age, activity level, general build and weigh them against what he is. Remember that cutting back on the food is not the end all answer. The appropriate food should be given and a basic daily routine of exercise must be established and maintained to trim a plump pooch down. All that said, I'm sure you're now wondering how to tell if your dog is overweight. Easy. Have your collie stand in front of you and place your hands midway down on either side of his ribcage. Spread your fingers wide and get down through the thick fur until your fingertips are touching his skin. Begin to gently move your hands back and forth along the ribs. DON'T press your fingers in. Your fingertips should be able to just make out his ribs with minimal pressure. If you have to press to feel ribs, than that puppy might need to lose a few pounds. If you have a smooth collie you can try looking at his back while he is standing. You should be able to easily see a nice waist line or indent on either side of the dog just after the ribcage but just before the hips. If there is only a little bit of an indent than a diet might have to be started. If there is no indent or your dog's waist seems to bow out, than you need to talk to your vet about implementing some serious weight lose measures. (Please note that I'm talking collies, not Labs or other breeds with heavier bodies. They will have a different body standard to compare their weight with.)

Shock is usually a side effect of an accident or extremely traumatic experience. Many dogs will collapse and their legs and paws will feel cold to the touch. The gums, and inner eyelids will also appear pale. While some dogs without serious injuries recover after a few hours of warm rest, it should be remembered that shock can also kill a dog if they are not attended to properly. The best place for a dog in shock is a vet's office since they will be able to more closely monitor an animal in such a state.

Tooth abscess' can make a dog's life miserable. Besides the constant pain, it is usually accompanied by a swelling of the face just below the eye. If your collie has a wide or heavy face the swelling may not be noticeable. While it can be treated with antibiotics, the long term course of action would be to have the tooth removed to prevent the reoccurrence of the pain. A dog with a tooth abscess will try to eat with only one side of their mouth, but if the infection has spread to the other side of the jaw as well, you may see the dog attempt to chew their food with just their front teeth. Dogs in that much pain will even start to refuse to eat to avoid the pain. Any infection left unchecked can eventually reach the blood stream and kill a dog.

Special Mention: Ivermectin Poisoning
   Ivermectin is the clinical name for the main ingredient of some veterinary available heartworm preventive and sarcoptic mange medications. I mention it because collies appear to have an extreme sensitivity to it. While it does not effect every collie, it is impossible to predict which dogs are and which dogs aren't "allergic" to it. Symptoms of Ivermectin poisoning will usually be displayed within 24 hours after it is given. The dog may appear to be hallucinating as it staggers and loses coordination of its limbs. The dog will seem hungry but he will be physically unable to eat and after he loses control of his tongue muscles he will not be able to drink. Fluid levels must be kept up but not with an intravenous drip as this may induce the dog to go into a comatose state at which point he will probably not make it. Hand watering through the side of the dog's mouth will be better. Antibiotics and antihistamines seem to help but barbiturates should be avoided. Another big key to helping the dog survive would be to physically lift the dog to his feet every half hour and help 'walk' him. This should be done around the clock. If the dog makes it through a week than he will most likely recover.

   Most companies that produce Ivermectin say that they have tested it at doses 16 times and higher and at extreme intervals. They say their research has shown that it is a safe medication for "sensitive" collies even at 10 times the recommended dosage, but one has to wonder, since there is no way to determine which collies are sensitive and which are not, how can these companies be sure they gave the medication to sensitive collies?

   My personal opinion? Just don't give it. There are medications that are just as good out there.

BIG NEWS ABOUT IVERMECTIN TOXICITY!!!!

   Since the time this section of my site was added, there has been a major development in the study of Ivermectin Toxicity in collies. A pharmacologist at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine has discovered a mutant gene for a key transport protein in Ivermectin susceptible collies. This gene codes (or sets the design function) for P-glycoprotein. P-glycoprotein is a large protein complex that acts to pump medications out of the brain and back to the bloodstream, where they can metabolized safety. In collies that lacked the complete gene for P-glycoprotein, they do not produce the complete protein and cannot pump out medications. The drugs then build up within the brain to toxic levels. Discovery of this mutant gene may be the key to screening individuals for certain drug susceptibilities and perhaps facilitate the pharmaceutical redesign of many popular medications to make them safer for everyone!


General First Aid

   First aid for your collie is not as different from human first aid as one might think. Many of the basic principles easily apply to either species as you'll soon see, but we'll begin first with a list of things that a canine first aid kit can include.
Digital Rectal
Thermometer
Lubricate, insert (you know where) and wait 90 seconds for a traditional thermometer or a beep if its digital. A normal temp. is between 100.5 to 102.5 degrees. Anything under 100 degrees or over 103 means that dog needs medical attention immediately.
Roll Gauze and Adhesive Tape 1 or 2 Inches Wide
These are essential for effective bandages.
Muzzle
This can be an invaluable to prevent a dog from hurting you,  someone else or even itself if it panics.
Elastic Bandage
Can be used for a pressure wrap to stop bleeding or to hold a dressing on a wound.
1 or 2 Heavy Blankets
Wet, cold or traumatized dogs can lose body heat rapidly if they aren't covered.
3% Hydrogen Peroxide
Can be used to clean out shallow wounds. Ask a vet first before ever using it to induce vomiting. Never administer to a dog that has ingested poultry bones, unidentifiable sharp or pointed objects or poisons.
Sturdy Pair of Scissors
Scissors can be handy for preparing bandages, cutting a tangled leash, trimming hair from a wound and more.
Benedryl
Liquid or capsule formulas are very handy for allergic reactions. Ask your vet first for the appropriate dosage for your size dog.
Water Based Lubricant
Wounds should be coated with this first before clipping the surrounding fur to prevent it from getting into the wound than can be washed away easily for wound treatment. Great for lubricating the thermometer as well.
Epinephrine
If your dog has serious allergies your vet may provide a loaded syringe to have in case of emergencies.
1 Pair Fine End and 1 Pair Broad Flat end Tweezers
The fine ended tweezers let you pull out splinters, bee stingers and plant seeds while the broad end tweezers help you remove a tick's entire body.
Oral Syringe
This allows for easier administering of liquids to a dog. It can even be used when the dog is muzzled. The size will depend on your dog's size.
Cold Pack
Instant cold packs help ease the pain of a bruise, swelling and take the sting out of insect bites.
Copy Of Medical Records and Vaccinations
This should include all the current vaccinations and their given date, medications, illnesses, known allergies and even other points anyone may need to be aware of to treat your dog.
Eyewash in a Squirt Bottle
The plain saline type can be used for both the eyes and gently washing out wounds.
Phone Numbers
Write down the phone numbers of your dog's vet, a local 24 hour vet hospital if your vet doesn't offer this service and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals National Animal Poison Control Center. That last number is 1 (900) 680-0000. It is $20 for the first five minutes and $2.95 for each additional minute. Charges can be made to your credit card by using the hotlines toll-free numbers 1(800) 548-2423 and 1 (888) 426-4435.
Triple Antibiotic Ointment
Excellent treatment for shallow wounds.
Credit Card
If you ever experience a true emergency, the medical care can quickly become expensive.
Telfa or Nonstick Wound Pads
Nonstick pads are perfect for quick and homemade bandages since they don't stick to wounds.
Pet First Aid Book
What good is all this stuff if you don't know how to use any of it?

THINGS TO KNOW

   CRT : CRT or Capillary Refill Time is a good way to determine if there is something going on with your dog that you don't know about. Normally, the healthy dog's gums will be a nice bright pink (unless it one of those breeds that has black gums and tongues). Pale gums are an indication of shock or anemia and require immediate medical attention. Yellowish gums are an indication of sickness. To test the Capillary Refill Time press your thumb firmly on the dog's gum. The gum should turn white but when you let up it should return to normal color in one or two seconds. If the refill time is slow and your dog is acting poorly you should call your vet immediately.

   Heart Rate and Pulse : Heart rate and pulse will range from about 50 beats per minute in larger dogs to 130 beats per minute for smaller breeds. You can take the heart beat rate by putting your fingertips on the dog's chest and counting the number of beats 10 or 15 seconds. Multiply the number by 6 or 4 to get the beat per minute. The pulse rate is the same as the heart rate and that is taken by putting your fingertips on the femoral artery found on the insides of both rear legs. In a calm moment, my pulse is about 24 beats in 15 seconds, so multiplied by 4 it would be 96 beats per minute.

   Respiration : Respiration or breathing rate can vary pre size and breed of dog but the average is usually between 10 to 30 a minute. Once again, in a calm moment I take about 7 breaths in 15 seconds. Multiplied by 4 it becomes 28 breaths per minute.

   Illness, excitement or panting in hot weather can change the pulse/heart and respiration rates.

   MAKING A SAFETY MUZZLE : A dog (even a collie) in pain may not recognize his owner and may reflexively bite whatever it can including itself. To protect yourself and your dog, turn a roll of gauze, a rope, leash, necktie, stockings or a bed sheet shredded into 2-inch-wide strips into a fast muzzle.
1. Make a large loop by tying a loose knot in the middle of the bandage or cloth.
2. Hold the ends up, one in each hand.
3. Slip the loop over the dog's muzzle and lower jaw, just behind his nose.
4. Quickly tighten the loop so he can't open his mouth.
5. Tie the ends under his lower jaw.
6. Make a knot there and pull the ends back on each side of his face, under the ears, to the back of his head. Tie a quick-release knot at the back of the dog's neck to keep the muzzle snug. Your veterinarian can show you how or you can find instructions in a pet first-aid book. It is a good idea to practice muzzling the calm, healthy dog so you understand the technique. If the dog has trouble breathing, chokes, gags or vomits, remove the muzzle immediately. Keep scissors handy in case the knot won't release.

   TRAUMA : Whether as simple as getting caught in a recliner or as dramatic as being hit by a car, trauma merits immediate medical attention. If your dog is conscious and not choking or vomiting, try to apply a muzzle because your pet might bite while in pain. However, don't initiate a struggle; you need to keep your dog as calm and still as possible to prevent further injury and avoid shock. Attempt to stop any bleeding by applying pressure to external wounds. Finally, even if your pet looks fine, take it to the veterinarian quickly. It may have internal injuries.
   ELECTRICAL SHOCK : If you find your collie collapsed near an electric cord, you'll know it has suffered an electrical shock. Before touching the dog, turn off the power, unplug the cord and take the dog to the veterinarian as quickly as possible. In some cases, the dog may seem fine, then develop symptoms hours or even days later. Even if your pet seems healthy after an electrical shock, have it checked by a veterinarian.
   BURNS : For most burns, apply a cold water compress to the site of the wound until you can get your dog to a veterinarian. Be careful using ice packs. They can freeze sensitive damaged tissue. If your dog has a chemical burn or a very extensive burn, do not apply water. In the first case you may drive the chemicals in deeper. In the second you may cause your dog to go into shock. Instead, get your dog to a veterinarian as fast as possible.
   HOW TO STOP BLEEDING : Press directly, firmly and steadily on the wound. The bleeding will usually stop within five minutes. If it doesn't, apply pressure until you arrive at the hospital. If possible, raise the wound above the dog's heart to help slow the bleeding. If your dog is in danger of bleeding to death and you cannot get to a veterinarian quickly, make a tourniquet by pulling a towel or thick rope very tightly across the bleeding leg between the wound and the heart. Besides stopping bleeding, a tourniquet strangles the leg, so loosen it a little every three minutes to minimize damage. Use of a tourniquet means the dog may lose its limb, so consider this option only as a last resort.
   HOW TO STOP CHOKING : If your dog can breathe, take it to a veterinarian quickly. But if its entire air passage is blocked, you'll have to attempt to dislodge the object first. If your puppy is small enough for you to lift, try to dislodge the object by suspending it by its hips with its head hanging down. If that doesn't work you can try to open the pup's airway. To open a puppy's airway, pull its head forward and a little downward to stretch out its neck, then pull the tip of its tongue forward to open the airway. If the pup doesn't fight you, sweep your finger down the back of its throat, using it as a hook to remove sticks, stones, vomit or debris. Don't pull on the Adam's apple-the thick, bony structure found far in the back of a dog's throat. If the puppy is big, wrap your arms around your dog's waist, close your hands into a fist just behind the last rib and with sharp, rapid squeezes, compress the abdomen by pushing up five times to shoot obstructions out of its airway. Alternating this modified Heimlich maneuver with a sharp blow with the flat side of your hand between the shoulder blades or thumping the chest can be helpful. Pounding and extremely hard squeezes can crack ribs and cause internal bleeding, so try to avoid over doing it in your haste to save your dog.

   GIVING THE BREATH OF LIFE : If your collie isn't breathing on its own but the airway is open, close its mouth, pull its upper lips over the lower ones, then wrap your hands around its mouth and muzzle, sealing its mouth shut. Put your mouth over the dog's nose and breathe into its nostrils. Watch the chest. As soon as it begins to rise, pull your head away and the air will flow out on its own. Repeat about 20 times a minute, continuing until the dog breathes on its own or you arrive at the Veterinarian's office.
   POISONING : The world is full of dog poisons. Houseplants, cleaning products, antifreeze, alcohol and even chocolate can be toxic to dogs. Unfortunately, dogs often ingest such items out of their owners sight. If you suspect your dog may have been poisoned, immediately call your veterinarian or poison control center with as much information as you can. You may be instructed to induce vomiting, so have a product such as 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in your first aid kit for that purpose. Just remember, never induce vomiting unless you have been advised to do so by a professional. Some poisons are just as dangerous coming up as going down. Take your dog to a veterinarian right away.

   MAKING A COLLIE VOMIT : Hydrogen peroxide (3 percent strength) can help bring up what just went down. The usual dose is I tablespoon per 15 pounds of dog (check with your veterinarian for the right dose just to be safe). You can give up to three doses, 15 minutes apart. Do not induce vomiting if the dog is unconscious or weak; if it has eaten a strong acid, a caustic alkali solution (such as bleach), petroleum products (such as oils or gasoline) or cleaning products; if it has swallowed a needle, knife or other sharp, pointy object; or if more than three hours have passed since it ingested the substance or object.

   GETTING TO THE VETERINARIAN : If your puppy is small, put it in a box or crate while you drive to the hospital. This keeps the pup quiet so it doesn't hurt itself more. Use a blanket to pick up and carry a large puppy or dog. Roll the dog gently onto the blanket, then lift the edges to create a secure hammock. If you suspect a back injury, gently slide the dog onto a board, then carry it to the car and hold the dog still until you arrive at the hospital.

   FIRST AID READING : For those who wish to learn more, the American Red Cross and the Humane Society of the United States have collaborated on a complete pet first aid manual, Pet First Aid, (Mosby Yearbook-Press, .1997). The book inspired pet first-aid classes at Red Cross chapters across the United States. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter to order the book or to find out if a chapter in your area is developing a pet first-aid class. All proceeds go to support the American Red Cross and HSUS.

   Remember that these are suggestions and not absolutes. Just as with human medicine, procedures can change from year to year as new and better recommendations are discovered and implemented. To get the very latest in canine first aid, talk to your vet or order the American Red Cross book "Pet First Aid".
While this site and it's owner want only the best and safest information for you and your pet, we cannot be held responsible for any consequences from the use of the information on this page. The information contained herein is provided "as is" without express or implied warranty.