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Electric Shock Injuries in Dogs

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First Aid for Electric Shock

 

Electricity is dangerous, especially around young dogs and incorrigible chewers. However, if your dog suffers an electric shock it is essential that you consider your own safety before helping.

 

What To Watch For

 

A convulsing or rigid dog lying on or near a power cable or other electrical source may be suffering an electric shock. The dog may not be right on the cable as pools of liquid, including urine, can carry electric current. Roots of trees are also known to carry electricity in cases of lightning.

 

Primary Cause

 

Chewing power cables is the most common cause of electric shock in dogs.

 

Immediate Care

 

Do not touch the dog or fluids in contact with it, especially if the animal is rigid – you may receive a fatal electric shock yourself. Instead, you should:

 

  • Turn off the electricity at its source, if possible.
  • If you can’t turn off the current, use a wooden broom handle (or other long, non-conductive object) to move the dog a good distance from the source of electricity and any pools of liquid.
  • Check the dog’s pulse and breathing, giving CPR and artificial respiration as needed.
  • If the dog’s mouth has been burned, use cold compresses to limit the damage. See "Burns and Scalding" for further treatment guidelines.

 

Once the dog appears to recover:

 

  • Take it to the vet immediately
  • Monitor its breathing and pulse regularly for 12 hours.

 

Even if your dog appears to recover completely and normally from an electric shock, it is vital to take it to see the vet. Internal damage, shock and fluid build-up in the lungs may not be outwardly visible, but can cause serious trouble hours after the accident.

 

Other Causes

 

Although it is rare, a male dog urinating on an exposed power line or electrical source may cause the current to “jump” and give it a shock. Even rarer are cases of dogs being struck by lightning, though the effects are similar.

 

Prevention

 

Electricity should always be treated with care: consider your dog as a small, inquisitive child and take appropriate measures to safeguard them in the home.

 

  • Cover power cables if possible or spray them with a bitter-tasting compound to deter puppies and chewers from investigating.
  • If your dog is still very young, never leave it alone in a room with live power cables or uncovered sockets.
  • Examine the surroundings and clean up any trailing electrical cords. Extension leads can help keep cables close to the walls, out of sight behind furniture, etc.
  • Always turn off electrical sockets when not in use – it’s not only safer, it’ll save you money on equipment that runs on standby!

 

Comments  4

Leave Comment
  • We all learn
    06/17/2014 08:25pm

    My puppy mutt "foxhound" chewed on an extension cord and survived well. I debated if she would die or learn. She learned and learned also to stay away from "jumping" cactuses. The 1 time took 3 adults to remove the spines from her mouth. After she would get those pods onto her fur and come to me and I would carry along a large comb to flick those away. Extension cords are needed and our fuzzy friends will learn. I'm sure WE all go to the school of hard knocks.

  • 10/13/2014 08:55pm

    Perhaps you should search google image for "dog injury electric cord". It can be far more serious than learning a "lesson", injury, mutilation and death can and do occur. Sounds like the school of hard knocks needs to thump you a few more times.

  • 10/16/2014 12:10am

    That dog DID NOT get hurt by biting on the extension cord. I repeat this.

  • 10/16/2014 10:29am

    Reading for comprehension? I never said YOUR dog did anything, at all.


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