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Old 02-25-2005   #1
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 67
Doggie First Aid?

We are all aware that general HUMAN First Aid is required on many permited rivers and such, but I'm personally more concerned about doggie first aid. My dog, Rio, is a 2-year-old yellow lab that has been on Westwater several times, Brown's Canyon on the Ark and PineCreek/Numbers above that. He has never been through a major river swim (thank GOD!), but this year?. . .
How can you rescue a dog during a major swim - let's say for example Skull @ Westwater running @ 15,000+- and where do I get doggie first aid?

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Old 02-26-2005   #2
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Aw, you are afraid your doggie will have a hard swim in Westwater......My deepest sympathy for your concerns.

Damn, it's a dog. If it drowns, have it for dinner. Well, I guess, my family would also be bummed if I only brought home a small rug after taking our wonderful 2 year old golden on a river trip.

Seriously, though. Here are my experiences. My golden swims in rapids often. She usually has a life vest on. She has learned a type of dog paddle that pushes her nose above water. With that and the life vest she can keep her nose 18" above the water--above most waves. She does pretty well through the rapids. I've seen her submerged by an eddy and she doesn't cough when she comes up.

I once took her through the Deckers chutes section and she got caught in a very small hole in the main chute. She was recirculated for about 20 seconds and then spit out. No problem. She did fine. So if your dog is used to a river and if you give her a life vest, she should be fine.

I guess if the dog goes on a long swim through big waves when there is high water in Westwater, you may have a problem. You can't rescue her with a kayak very easily.

My dog life vest and most others have a handle on top. It's very easy to haul the pooch out of the water. You should be able to clip on a safety clip to the handle to pull her out of the current with a kayak.

The bigger problem I have is that she gets cold. I posted the problem on the buzz, got great answers, and was pointed to a neat dog wet suite. It also provides buoyancy.

As for more standard first aid, they sell doggie first aid kits at Petsmart and probably REI. But, all you really need is antiseptic, gauss, and tape.

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Old 02-26-2005   #3
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 67
Well. . .(I'm sitting here laughing @ your initial response). . .thanks for the info. Actually, Rio swims well - even goes swimming in the dead of winter w/o question! We do have a good PFD for him and a spare for any other dogs on the trips.
I'm just a concerned doggie mom!
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Old 02-26-2005   #4
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Salida, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 516
K-9 lifevest

Years ago my golden Jake was swimming to shore with his vest on. A branch
passed between his coat and the vest. The current then pulled him under as
he was tethered. I had to follow the branch under water and disentangle him.

p.s. I understand Goldens were bred to retrieve ducks in North Scotland in
winter and mine seem to have incredible cold tolerance compared to my yellow.
No amount of money is worth your free time!
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Old 02-26-2005   #5
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 39
As far as First Aid, it's pretty much the same for an animal as a human.


CPR on a dog is done with the dog in lateral recumbancy (lying on its side), with the compressions done in the same fashion as for humans.
Placement of the hands is at the point where the chest is widest, also easily located at the point of the dogs elbow, when the upper leg is against the chest lengthwise. (does that make sense?)
Compression rate is approx. 60-140 compressions per minute,
Ventilation rate is approx. 12-20 breaths per minute

If alone:
Compress 15, breathe 2

If two people:
Coordinate 1 breath for every 2nd to 5th compression.

Hope this helps; obviously there's tons more to know about Emerg. Tx, these are just a few basics for dogs.

Nat Waterman, CVT
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