Saturday, February 5, 2011

RE: Fetch, Heimlich!...a humorous take on the care of your pooch...

Fetch, Heimlich!

Did you know there is actually a prescribed Heimlich maneuver for hounds? That’s right. When Fido gets that nasty rawhide stuck in his craw you, as his loyal, trustworthy, non-insurance-holding owner are responsible for removing said rawhide from said craw. [As an aside, the craw is located just below the wishbone.]

There are actually many websites devoted to the emergency management of choking canines. Evidently, dogs are “notorious for swallowing just about anything that will fit in their mouths.”

Now there’s a news bulletin. I once found myself attempting to pry an entire ham out of my dog’s mouth that most certainly did not fit, although he rectified that situation in a hurry.
In my experience, these resourceful and independent cusses resolve any issues with potentially dangerous materials on their own, but it’s still a good idea to have a back-up plan.

The doggie version of the Heimlich maneuver situates the pet owner in a most unflattering standing position whereupon the choking creature is straddled backwards. Wait. It gets better with the most specific of instructions.

Knees should be slightly flexed, bracing the dog’s shoulders as you place your hands in a hand-over-fist position on the bowwow’s abdomen, sliding them toward the aforementioned knees. Have you tried to find a dog’s shoulders lately? Tricky work, that. I can barely find my own shoulders without a mirror.
We are then instructed to feel for the bottom of the animal’s rib cage (because that’s where the diaphragm is located, silly) which is where we are to land sharp, short thrusts, followed by a quick release.

Lest you get the wrong idea, you are not to lift the critter off of his feet, but rather you are focused on dislodging the object in order to keep your pet earthbound in more ways than one.
You must repeat this sequence every two to three seconds until the dog is breathing freely, even if you’re not because you’re so stressed out by the entire ordeal.
If you should be unlucky enough to possess a small breed you are instructed to lie down with the pup and perform the above procedure. I don’t know about you, but as much noise as our mutts are always making, what with the blowing, barking, gagging, snoring, yapping and snarfled begging, I’m not sure if I’d be able to identify whether or not my dog is in real trouble.

Over the course of several years I’ve taken my share of mandatory and otherwise CPR classes, rendering it nearly impossible for me to ever look at a mannequin or an extremely thin person the same way again, at which time we were instructed to shout at the victim, “Are you choking?”

I guess that won’t work in this scenario for obvious reasons. The animal wouldn’t be familiar with the word “choking.” More than likely she would think we’re asking her if she’s a good girl which often leads to the receipt of a treat and that’s how we got into this sticky wicket in the first place.

In light of these newfound tips our family has imposed a mandatory “no dangerous treats” policy in our home which should alleviate any problems that may arise as a result of our pets sneaking off unsupervised as they chew on anything but AKC-sanctioned snacks.

Meanwhile, speaking of sneaking and treats, I think I’ll wrap this up and toddle off, so I can treat myself to a new pair of sneakers. It’s odd, but I can’t seem to locate any of the six pairs I own, all of which sported some pretty snazzy leather trim.

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