Learn CPR for your dog too
Most people are encouraged to learn infant CPR when their kids come along, but what about the family pet? I never fail to drop jaws at a dinner party when I tell this story of how my friend Leah and I performed CPR on my drowned dog and saved his life.
I'm still not quite sure how the dog ended up floating lifeless in my swimming pool. He had epileptic seizures a few times in his life, so we are guessing he had one and fell in the pool. Regardless, I found him with no pulse, his eyes vacant and glassy. My friend Leah was thinking on her feet better than I at that moment and said "Quick, let's do CPR." She laid him on his side and did chest compressions on the side of his rib cage, closer to his heart. It took a few tries for me to figure out that the way to blow air into his lungs was by closing his mouth and blowing in his nose. I blew and I could hear water gurgling.
Finally, a pool of yellowish water oozed out of his mouth. He was in shock, but there was some shallow breathing and a pulse. Two hours later at the veterinarian's office, a subdued dog had coughed up the rest of the water and was starting to feel like his old self again. So thanks Leah Adams, mother of two and quick thinker extraordinaire, for giving me five more years with my beloved Iggy.
Hundreds of dogs drown every year, some because they can't figure how to get out of the pool or get to the shore when they tumble off a seawall, some because they are too old or too blind to find their way out. The procedures listed here for pet CPR can also be used if a pet is choking or passes out from heart issues.
It goes without saying that CPR for people is a vital skill also. If you haven't done so yet, take a CPR course with the Red Cross (they offer pet CPR courses too!) or your local hospital. The Tampa Bay chapter has a lot of them. Pool season is here -- isn't it always in Florida? -- and you never know if you will need to act quickly.
~ Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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