Pet Lifesavers Questions & Answers

pet life savers.slideThank you to everyone who attended the Pet Lifesavers sessions and asked some great questions. We didn’t get to all of them in the time available so we have tried to cover the additional points raised in the questions and answers below. Click on the question to show/hide the comment. Hope this is useful!

You can always contact us by emailing Look out for some more free webinars coming soon. Bye for now.

Breathing and CPR

What are the normal breathing and heart rates for dogs and cats?

Heart rate and respiratory rate will depend on the size and breed. The table below gives some guidelines

Animal Heart Rate Breathing (Respiratory) Rate
Great Dane 60-140 10-30
Labrador 70-160 10-30
Toy breed 70-180 10-30
Cat 120 – 240 24-42

It is very important to follow Paul’s advice and get baseline measurements for your healthy pet. This way, you get used to taking the measurements and you have a reference point. You could then make a much more objective assessment if you need to.

Would a dog lying on its side panting after exercise be viewed as normal?

First of all you should ideally have some idea of what is ‘normal ‘ for your dog!This should be qualified by taking into account the amount of exercise performed and if the breathing is laboured. For example, lying down panting after walking 100 metres would not be normal for most dogs. However, lying down after a long, vigorous walk is probably to be expected. If the dog looks anxious or is clearly having difficult breathing then this should be investigated further and your vet contacted. Noisy breathing could indicate an obstruction to airflow and this should be discussed with your vet. So it will vary from dog to dog and the circumstances.

Fits and Seizures

If your dog is having a fit, do you wait until the disorientation has passed (2hrs appro)x to take to vets or after the actual fit has happened (1 min +)?

ontact your vet after the fit finishes, and make arrangements to be seen. If the fit is lasting longer than 3 minutes, phone your vet immediately

Bites and Stings

How should you treat a dog that has been stung by a jelly fish?

Good question!  According to the marine Conservation Society website, the only published proven effective first aid treatment for the skin pain after jelly fish stings is the use of cold packs or ice. Here is a useful link

Heat Stroke

Will a dog stay out in the sun even though he was getting heat stroke?

If they are getting too hot they will get up and move to a cooler place. The problem seems to be if they CAN”T get to a cooler place. Eventually panting will not allow them to loose sufficient heat for their core body temperature to stay within  safe limits.

is heat stroke only really relevant in dogs as cats tend to like to lie in hot places ?

Although heat stroke is much less common in cats compared to dogs, any animal can succumb to heat stroke if they cannot keep their core temperature within normal limits. The most common cause is being in a hot, confined area with no ventilation or means of escape.

What are the symptoms of hypothermia in dogs?

Dull, lethargic, disorientated or non-responsive, shivering.


Is there anything that can reduce the absorption of poisons if it will take a long time to get to the

Not for ingested poisons- we don’t recommend owner make a dog vomit unless instructed to by their own vets. Activated charcoal is not effective against all ingested toxins any way- eg small molecules; ethylene glycol, ethanol, methanol, petrol. Also heavy metals, nitrates, chlorates..

How long does it take an animal to recover from a poisoning if not fatal?

It depends what the patient is recovering from. For example after a mild chocolate introxication, the dog may be back to normal the next day. In contrast , a serious intoxication that wasn’t fatal could take weeks to recover from and may leave lasting damage to body organs such as the kidneys or liver.

If garlic is toxic why are garlic tablets not?

I suspect they would be if the garlic was in high enough concentrations.

My dog has eaten large quantities of grapes in the past with no ill effects. Are grapes toxic for all dogs?

The mechanism of toxicity is unknown, doses unknown and wide individual variation in susceptibility. Therefore it is impossible to predict the effect in every case. However you cannot risk ‘wait and see’!


Herer is a link to a list of potentially poisonous plants from the Dog’s Trust.
The ASPCA website also has a section on plants.

Are lilies not toxic for dogs, or is it just that they don't eat the plants or pollen?

Some types of lily don’t seem to be poisonous to dogs but some definitely are. Therefore best advice is treat all as potentially poisonous.



What should one do if your dog is choking say on a treat?

If the dog remains conscious, but has breathing difficulties see vet ASAP. If loses consciousness, lie it on its side, extend neck and VERY CAREFULLY SO AS NOT TO GET BITTEN open mouth, and ‘finger sweep’ to remove obstruction . Check to see if breathing now, if not, start CPR

What do you recommend for a prolapsed eyeball?

Keep moist with a wet, lint free cloth placed gently over the eye and seek veterinary attention immediately.

If we used a clean cloth in an emergency situation with a wound, wouldn't it just stick to the wound?

Yes possibly it would but this is an emergency situation and you are just doing the best you can to protect the wound from further contamination whilst you transport your pet to a vet.