Case in point: This morning, Sunny Saint Beni started choking and gagging, leaving a trail of spit-up and who-knows-what-else stomach content all over the wood floor. After two minutes of choking, gagging and being herded out the back door, out of Beni’s mouth popped a plastic water bottle cap … the simple, round variety abundant in many of our homes.
Your kids may be older, or grown up and moved on, but if you have dogs, there’s still strong argument for carefulness and supervision in your household. Here’s a few things to be aware of:
- Kids toys: Dogs can sniff, chew and swallow anything laying on the floor. In the case of St. Bernards, we know there’s nothing they can’t reach! Keep the stuffed animals and Barbie dolls, and toys with a million parts out of reach, especially when no one is watching.
- Rubber balls, tennis balls and golf balls. Tennis balls and golf balls have been known to lodge in the throats of some giant breeds, and rubber balls can be chewed into small bits and cause choking.
- A personal unfavorite is rawhide! This popular treat becomes soggy and super flexible after a while, expands, and can lodge in the throat. A better bet for your dog is bully sticks, which are made from the meat, not hide, of a cow.
- Rocks, sticks, bottle caps, any little thing. Remember going through the toddler phase with kids? Get back into that mindset with your dogs.
The Humane Society of the United States of America has a list of common household dangers for pets, which goes beyond just choking hazards, listing toxic and poisonous substances as well, which your Saint can get into. Prevention is always best, but just in case, you may want to read up on doggie first aid and emergency advice at How to Give First Aid to Your Dog, or Choking in Dogs.
The ultimate in preparedness, if you have a few hours on the weekend, is to attend a Pet First Aid class given by the American Red Cross. A quick glance at the schedule by the Red Cross’ Orange County and Inland Empire chapter shows Pet First Aid classes scheduled on a regular basis, one sure to fit your schedule. Check the chapter nearest you. According to the Red Cross, the course offers information and advice pet owners can trust. From basic pet owner responsibilities, like spaying, neutering and administering medications to managing breathing or cardiac emergencies and preparing for disasters, the class also includes managing urgent care situations, such as car accidents; wounds; electrical shock; and eye, foot and ear injuries. Choose from three course offerings including Dog First Aid, Cat First Aid, and Cat and Dog First Aid.