What to Do if Your Dog Has Been Shocked or Electrocuted
The other day I was sitting at my kitchen table when I heard the most awful howling sound. Before I could even jump from my chair, my beagle, Sadie, was running towards me with a look of terror on her face. My beagle rarely howls, so I knew something was wrong. After spending a few minutes comforting her, I went into the living room to see if I could figure out what had spooked the poor pup. Well, it didn't take me long to notice that the lamp was no longer working due to a chewed up cord. Unfortunately, Sadie had learned a valuable yet shocking lesson!
After examining Sadie's mouth I called her veterinarian to ask if there was anything in particular I should do or look for. After all, I had never dealt with an electrocuted dog before. The vet told me to look for signs of swelling and to ice the area that was shocked. She also told me to keep an eye on her for the next few hours to make sure that she didn't act strange or disoriented.
Sadie survived her shocking afternoon and thankfully, only had to deal with a red and irritated tongue for a short period of time.
Perform CPR if Necessary
Electricity can cause an abnormal heartbeat. This is because the electric current disrupts the heart's normal electrical impulses. If your pet collapses and has stopped breathing, you will need to perform CPR as soon as possible.
- Wrap your hand around your dog's muzzle (so that his mouth is closed) and then blow in to his nose with two quick breaths.
- Make sure to watch his chest to see if it moves (it should rise).
- Give 15 to 20 breaths per minute until your dog begins to breathe on his own.
- After each breath, it is important that you watch to make sure his chest is rising, then remove your lips so that the air can escape.
Please watch the video below to learn more about performing CPR on your canine companion. As I always say, knowledge is power!
What to Do if Your Dog Gets Electrocuted
Thankfully, most household electrical shocks that your pet may experience are not life threatening (just very scary). However, it should be noted that severe electrical shocks can happen and they can trigger seizures or even stop your pet's heart. An electrical shock can also cause an abnormal heartbeat or breathing difficulties, two things that you may not notice until several days after the incident. If your pet is electrocuted, it would be wise to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. They may want to do an examination to make sure that the heart is beating properly and no breathing difficulties are present.
So what do you do if your dog's jaws seem permanently affixed to an electrical cord? The answer to this question is simple…TURN OFF THE POWER! Why? Well, electrical currents will often cause muscles to go into spasm. When this happens, your dog will, most likely, not be able to let go of the cord. In fact, he may even bite down harder. If the cord is still in your pet's mouth, you must turn off the power before touching your pet or there is a great chance that you will be electrocuted as well.
If your dog has a seizure after being electrocuted, do not panic! It is important that you stay calm so that you can help your pooch.
- First of all, most seizures are not as serious as they appear. Though they may look incredibly scary, they usually stop within two to three minutes.
- In the meantime, place a dark towel over your dog's face. By doing this, you will shut out light and noise which can help to end the seizure more quickly.
- If possible, do not touch or speak to your pet. By doing so, you are stimulating their brain which can possibly cause the seizure to last longer.
So let's review: If your pet electrocutes himself and then has a seizure, you should place a small, dark towel over his face (make sure he can still breathe) and do not speak or touch him. Once your dog appears stable, take him to the vet as soon as possible for further examination.
I want to also point out the importance of keeping your pet calm and quiet. Why? Well, dogs that have been shocked may suffer lung damage (which in turn can cause breathing problems). Stress will only increase your dog's oxygen needs and put further demand on already damaged lungs. Speak in a soothing, calm voice, place your pet in a dark pet carrier and get him to the vet's office as soon as possible.
Most dogs suffer only minor burns after being electrocuted. My beagle, Sadie, suffered a minor shock after chewing on a lamp cord (no permanent or serious damage done). If your dog suffers a minor shock, ice is the best treatment. Because it is very difficult to ice a dog's mouth or tongue, simply fill his water bowl with ice cubes. The ice cold water will numb the area for a short period of time, bringing some much needed relief. Obviously, it is best to apply ice directly to the burned area, in a baggie or wrapped in cloth. If your dog allows this, great!
It is important to note that mouth burns can take a long time to heal. This is because the mouth is always wet and tends to become infected easily. If your dog's mouth does not heal or he seems to be in pain (due to an infection), take him to the veterinarian, as antibiotics may be necessary.