What to do if your pet is choking

You don’t ever want to think about your pet choking, but knowing what to do beforehand can save your pet’s life.

If your pet is choking, you will see him pawing at his mouth, coughing, excessive drooling, wrenching or frantic behavior. The first thing you want to do is remove any collars or anything that is around his neck.

Next, look inside your pet’s mouth. If you see the object, gently try to remove it. DO NOT just stick your fingers in there and pull on something you can’t see. Dogs & cats have small bones in the back of their throats that support their tongues and they can easily be mistaken for chicken bones. Only remove what you can see.

If you can’t remove the object, don’t force it. If you have a small dog or cat, pick him up with his head facing down. For a larger dog, lift his rear legs up until his head facing down. This often removes any lodged object.

If that doesn’t work, give your pet a sharp hit with the palm of your hand between the shoulder blades. If the object doesn’t dislodge after a couple of tries, you can try a modified Heimlich maneuver. This is done in the same way that you would do for a human. It is very important that you are absolutely sure that your pet is choking before you do this because if he isn’t it can cause serious damage.

Grasp your dog or cat around the waist so that the rear is nearest to you, similar to a bear hug. Place a fist just behind the ribs. Compress the abdomen several times (usually 3 to 5 times) with quick pushes. Check the mouth to see if the foreign object has been removed.

Even if the object has been removed, you need to take your pet to the vet for a check up. A foreign object can very easily cause internal damage.

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Dealing with an Abscess in a Cat

My poor little Mr. Bits had to take a trip to the vet this morning. He has an abscess behind his ear that burst last night. Which is weird because I was rubbing his ears the night before and he didn’t act like it hurt and I didn’t even notice a lump. I’ve been checking them because he’s already had two on the other ear. So he’s at the vet getting checked out right now.

What causes an abscess & symptoms?
Most abscesses are caused by a wound, more than likely from a fight. They can be caused by bite wounds or even debris that has been lodged under the skin. The debris and bacteria cause a pus pocket to form. If not caught in time, it builds up to the point where the skin breaks open, allowing the pus to drain.

Most times the area becomes swollen and hot to the touch. It can also cause your pet to limp if the abscess is located on one of its legs. Your pet may also run a fever and swollen lymph nodes.

How do you treat an abscess?
A trip to the vet is in order if you suspect your pet has an abscess. If it hasn’t ruptured, a needle will be inserted into the area to check for a pus pocket. If there is pus, the veterinarian will sedate your pet and lance the area, allowing the pus to drain.

Once the pus has been drained, either by lancing or if the abscess has been ruptured, the healing process can begin. The wound will be flushed with a disinfecting solution to remove any debris and any pus that might still remain. Your pet will then probably be given an antibiotic to prevent further infection and speed healing.

What should you do when your pet gets home?
The abscess will have to remain open until it heals, which means your pet might have to wear one of those funny looking collars to keep it from licking or scratching the wound. You may also want to apply a warm compress to the area to increase blood flow and help speed in healing. You will also want to follow any additional after care instructions that your veterinarian gives you.

How do you prevent abscesses?
In some cases this is hard, for example if you have two cats that play together, but there are a few things you can do. Limit your pets exposure to other biting and scratching critters, such as squirrels and other cats or dogs. If you have indoor only pets, you can keep your cat’s nails trimmed or use nail caps, such as Soft Claws. If you see your pet has a wound, clean it properly and monitor it to be sure that it doesn’t get infected.

For more information on cat care, please visit Cat Care 411 on PetSupplies4Less.com.