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After identifying an injury or illness, the next step is to safely transport your dog to the nearest veterinarian. Improper technique when transporting a patient can result in further injury or complications.

  • Handle your dog as little as possible
  • Make him comfortable by encouraging him to lay down and stay
  • Rough handling may cause further internal bleeding, more damage to the soft tissue surrounding a fracture, and many other complications
  • Lie your dog on his side – if he seems to resent this, or seems to have more difficulty breathing in this position, then leave him in whatever position is most comfortable
  • Minimize movement – you can actually tape or tie the dog to a flat surface especially if there is a suspected back injury
  • Do not put pressure on the stomach – this is very important for the dog who is having difficulty breathing, has been vomiting, or has pain in the abdomen

If the dog seems paralyzed or unable to get up, a spinal injury is suspect, and the dog must be immobilized to prevent further damage to the nerves – get a firm, flat support such as a piece of plywood – grasp the skin over the back of the neck and over the small of the back and gently slide the dog unto the support – try to keep the back and neck straight – tape or tie the pet to the support

  • If your dog is unconscious, position the head in normal alignment with the body – it should not flex abnormally downward or extend excessively upward. Improper flexing or extending can cause decreased blood drainage from the brain and cause serious damage
  • If your dog has vomited, or appears likely to vomit, then put the head lower than the level of the heart – this will allow any vomitus to run out of the mouth and not into the windpipe and the lungs – be aware that a dog with serious head injuries are likely to vomit even if unconscious

Cover dog with a blanket – this not only has a calming effect, but also prevents heat loss

You can also use a blanket to transport your dog if there is no sign of back injury – gently slide the dog to the center of the blanket, roll the edges to get a better grip, and gently lift the blanket and dog into the transport vehicle (this is usually a two person procedure)

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