Dog Electric Shock and Burn Treatment

A dog electric shock can happen in a variety of ways. Chewing an electrical cord, contact with an electric outlet, with an electric fence or dog fencing, contact with a downed power line, even a lightning strike. Immediate action is required to minimize the bodily damage caused by electricity and to get your dog the professional treatment he requires. Because the electricity travels through his body, many of your dog’s organs and bodily systems can be impacted by the electric current. Quick, decisive action is important to improve your dog’s chances of survival.

Treating a Dog Electrical Shock at Home

If you witness your dog being electrocuted, or if you suspect electrocution, the following steps can help minimize the damage and stabilize your dog’s condition prior to getting him to a veterinarian.

  1. Shut off the electrical source. In your home this would mean to shut down the appropriate breaker in the circuit box. If you dog has chewed an electrical cord, unplug the cord once the breaker is shut down. If a downed power line or electric fence is the cause, use a non-conductive material like a sheet of wood or 2x4 to move the dog out of harm’s way.
  2. Lay the dog out in a prone position on his right side. This will allow you to have access to provide both artificial respiration and chest compressions should they be required.
  3. Check for a pulse and for breathing. To check for a pulse, place two fingers on the inside of the thigh, just above the knee. If there is no pulse, chest compressions should be started immediately. To check for breathing, watch for the rise and fall of the chest. If the dog isn’t breathing, ensure his airway is clear and begin artificial respiration. Maintain artificial respiration and chest compressions until your dog’s heart and breathing are working on their own.
  4. Keep the dog warm. Electrocution can quickly lead to shock so it is important to keep your dog warm, while you’re working on him and while transporting him to the veterinarian. Wrap him in blankets and turn up the heat in your car.
  5. Transport your dog to the veterinarian. If possible, have someone drive you and your dog to the veterinarian so you can continue to monitor vital signs while en route. If possible, call ahead so the veterinary team can be ready to begin working on your dog upon arrival.

Electric Shock Veterinary Treatment

Because electrocution can cause a number of problems, your veterinarian will perform a complete examination and run a battery of tests to determine the extent of injury. Treatment will often include a 24 hour stay for observation. Because of the probability of heart and tissue damage, the doctor will recommend treatment based upon the extent of damage your dog has incurred during the event.

While no one ever expects that their dog will be electrocuted, prevention and preparedness are important in avoiding a potentially life threatening incident. Teaching your dog not to chew electrical cords avoids the attraction of the salts in the plastic coating. Taking a first aid for pets class will teach you how to perform life saving procedures such as artificial respiration and chest compressions. Being prepared will help you help your dog in the event of an emergency and increase his chances of survival.