Category Archives: Dog Injury

Dog on Dog Attacks

Cassie and I used to walk over three miles back and forth to work, most days every week, even through the winter. We walked residential streets and at least a dozen times a year a loose dog would approach us. I tried to avoid all encounters knowing if Cassie got into a fight, she wouldn’t stop. So as a dog approached I’d pull Cassie close to me and yell at the dog in a loud, low voice to go home, to go away, while waving my arms. This worked for almost every dog, who realized they’d have to take on me as well as my dog. Never raise your pitch when yelling at a dog – this can cause more excitement in dogs.

vicous dogBut one time this technique didn’t work. A female pit bull ran across the street and ignored my warnings. She wiggled around me and sniffed Cassie. Her teats were full of milk, and she seemed friendly. Another pit bull ran across the street and charged for an attack with no warning. With my protective instinct, I bent down and picked Cassie up, trying to protect her from the much larger dog. As I held her, the male lunged at her legs. I tripped, falling backwards as I clutched Cassie to my chest. The male grabbed Cassie’s throat. Her eyes bulged, only inches from mine, her tongue rolled to the side. Terror shuddered in her eyes, only inches from mine. The pit bill could kill her. Both dogs were on top of me. I screamed.

Men came running out of cars. One picked up a four foot landscape timber and smacked the pit bull hard on the back. The dog yelped and ran home. I sat up, thanking the men and assured them I was alright, although my bladder had released, soaking my pants. The pit bull hadn’t bitten me. His target had been Cassie. I crawled over to Cassie, expecting her to be severely injured. I couldn’t find any blood. Other than the shock of the attack we were both fine. I am forever grateful to the men that helped me.

Someone called the police. I eventually found a small puncture mark next to her throat, but it had only broken the surface layer of skin. We were so lucky.

But the nightmare of that attack remains with me. I started carrying pepper spray in my pocket, but luckily we never ran into those pit bulls again.

What did I do wrong?

  • I should never have picked Cassie up. At 42 pounds, she put me off balance and her attacker could still reach her. Falling to the ground put both of us in a vulnerable position. If those men hadn’t come, Cassie could have died, or the pit bull could have attacked me.
  • I never thought about myself. I just wanted to save Cassie. My mistake. The pit bulls could have come after me, especially when I was on the ground.

What did I do right?

  • I screamed. You can’t fight off a powerful dog yourself. You need help.

What should I do next time?

  • Carry pepper spray.
  • If a dog attacks your dog, drop the leash and find something to beat the other dog off. I panicked and held onto Cassie. With my hands full, I couldn’t help her. Find a stick, a rock, or even a backpack. If nothing else, kick the rear end of the attacking dog.
  • Don’t put yourself at risk.

According to this website, here are a few additional tips.

  • Get behind the dog and punch it in the torso behind the ribs and in front of the rear legs
  • Carry a stick to hit it in the rear, or without a stick, kick
  • Do not step between the dogs
  • Remember the law is on your side in fending off an attack

But this website goes against hitting the attacker, since it might provoke further aggression.

The main thing is to separate the dogs any way you can.

Just watching this video brought back memories. I would have been way more aggressive at attacking this pit bull.

If the Water’s Green – It’s not Clean – Keep your dog away.

It’s that time of year again, late summer, when the weather’s hot, the water’s stagnant, and bright green scum floats on the surface of the lake.   Take a scoop of the lake water with a clear cup. Are there green particles suspended in it? Does it look like someone dumped green paint on the lake? Likely, it’s blue-green algae or cyanobacteria–even though the water looks green.

My last springer spaniel would jump in any body of water, lie down and take a drink. But don’t let your dog do this. Many dogs each year get very sick and some die. Just today, I read an article about a dog dying from drinking algae infested water.

Blue – green algae toxins affect dogs, people, and other animals. Last year Toledo shut down its water distribution because blue-green algae toxins on Lake Erie entered in its water supply. It may happen again this year.

Toxins are not always present when the lake looks this green, but be on the safe side and stay away. Not all species of blue-green algae form toxins, and of the species that do, they do not always produce toxins. Various tests can determine if the toxins are present. But the water conditions can change rapidly. If the cells die, they release their toxins into the water. The various types of toxins can affect the liver, nervous system, or the skin.

Symptoms of algae toxicity

Blue-green algae scum on a lake.

Blue-green algae scum on a lake.

  • abdominal cramps
  • nausea
  • diarrhea,
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • seizures
  • headache
  • muscle and joint pain
  • blisters of the mouth or skin rashes

If any of these symptoms occur, take your dog to the vet immediately (or yourself to the ER). Most dogs die within days or even hours after drinking contaminated water.


  • Install signs warning of the blue-green algae hazard.
  • Prevent dogs from drinking and swimming in blue-green algae.
  • Don’t swim in areas with blue-green algae blooms.

Long-term prevention involves reducing nutrient loading into the lake, which would eventually limit algae blooms, but it may take many years to see an effect.

Dogs and Bee Stings

As I trimmed the shrub in front of my house, something stung me hard near my elbow—a yellow jacket. I swooshed it off and continued trimming trying to ignore the pain. Then I noticed another yellow jacket circling me—then another. Where were they coming from? I looked down and saw dozens of them on the vinca groundcover, pouring out of a hole in the ground. I was five feet away when they swarmed me, flying around my head and back, stinging me in multiple areas as I ran towards the garage, yelling at my husband to swat them off me. Several were on my back—out of my reach as they stung me.   The damage – five stings, two on my back, one on my neck and two on my right arm as the pain and swelling took over.

Dog with a swollen muzzle.

Dog with a swollen muzzle.

Feeling a bit light-headed immediately after the attack and being swollen and sore for days, I began to wonder if dogs have reactions to bees and yellow jackets like people do. My dogs run through plants in the yard and in the forest preserve all the time and to my knowledge, they’ve never been stung. My mom even had a beagle that hunted and ate bees; maybe some were yellow jackets, as he patrolled the flowers next to her house. He never seemed to get stung, at least not that she could tell. So I did a little google search and found out dogs are affected by bees and yellow jackets – my dogs have just been lucky.

Dogs are often stung. Some hunt them, thinking they are play things, like my mom’s old beagle. Dogs pretty much have the same reaction as people. They yelp, may roll on the ground, scratch at the affected area (often the face). Multiple stings, especially inside the mouth are more hazardous than a single sting. Some dogs have a very mild swelling and others could have an allergic reaction causing difficulty breathing and feeling weak. This is an emergency, and your dog could die soon if left untreated .

What to do if your dog is stung by a bee or yellow jacket:

  • If you see a stinger – remove it.
  • Apply an ice pack to reduce swelling
  • Give Benadryl
  • If the dog has difficulty breathing or seems weak – take him to the vet.

A Dangerous Time for Dogs – Heatstroke

Buffy in the car

Buffy in the car

It’s cool and cloudy when you park the car. You leave the windows open a crack for your best friend, who must stay behind, while you go inside a store, to pick up something quick. You get side tracked and spend much more time in the store than you anticipated, but you think, Doggie is okay, it’s cloudy and cool outside. An hour later you exit the store and are shocked at the bright sun and the soaring temperatures. In the meantime, poor doggie is suffering, maybe even passed out from the heat.

Could this happen to you?

It happened to me.

On a cool rainy morning, Penny, my black and white border collie mix, didn’t want to get out of the car and join us for a paddling training trip on the Wolf River in northern Wisconsin. Its okay, I thought, it’s cool outside. An hour into our training trip the sun came out and the temperature climbed twenty degrees.

“Did you park the car in the shade?” I asked my boyfriend.

“I think so. But it was raining, so I’m not sure.”

We had left a car for emergencies at our lunch stop and I asked the driver to take me to my car. As we pulled up the road, I could see my car in the hot sun. Oh God, let Penny be okay. The windows were open only a half inch. Penny lay in the only shady spot on the floor of the front seat, her chest heaving under her rapid pants, her pink tongue stretched out its full length, her eyes appeared glazed. I opened the door and pulled her out of the hot car. She wobbled as she walked to the other car.

I had gotten to her just in time. Another few minutes and she could have passed out, followed by a coma, then death.   When I got back to the river, I made her wade in and cool off. She gulped river water between rapid pants. Her panting continued for at least a half hour. Luckily she made a full recovery, and continued on the river trip with me in the canoe.

After twenty-five years, I’ve never forgotten what a close call I had that day.

How could I let my dog suffer so? She wanted to stay in the car. But sometimes you shouldn’t do what your dog wants.

The main signs of heat stroke in dogs include the following.

  • Restlessness
  • Excessive panting
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness and/or collapse
  • Disorientation
  • Wobbling
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Prevention is the best thing, but if your dog is suffering from the heat, the best thing to do is to:

  • Cool him off with water,
  • Move him into the shade, or where there is a breeze,
  • Provide plenty of cool drinking water, and
  • Allow the dog to rest. Young dogs will play too hard and may get overheated.
  • See your veterinarian if the dog doesn’t recover quickly, but cool him off before traveling.

Dogs don’t sweat, so they get overheated much faster than we do. Plan ahead and keep cool.

More information can be found at