To our feline friends, there may be nothing more inviting than a nice warm spot to stretch out on, curl up in or just plain relax. A sunny window sill, a sun beam on the floor, rug near a heater or fireplace, a stove top or…even an open clothes dryer that has just finished tumbling the wetness out of laundry! Injury can result from a pet jumping into a clothes dryer when the unwary owner tosses in the next armload of clothes, and turns the machine on! Burns, broken bones, abrasions, heat stroke, breathing/suffocation and cardiac arrest can occur when a cat suffers injuries from being tossed about in a hot clothes dryer! And…let’s not rule out our smaller canine friends too, who might be seeking a quiet and warm place to rest.
Make it a habit to keep the clothes washer and dryer closed when not in use to prevent injuries.
Always check inside before switching on the “start” button.
Follow the same practice with refrigerators, paying particular attention to shelves on doors where they may sneak in. Cats are curious creatures and they can quickly jump into any of these appliances when your back is turned.
When you have a cat or dog, you are blessed with a four-legged “toddler” and must make sure his environment is safe.
Signs & Symptoms
If your cat or dog is trapped in a clothes dryer or other appliance, most likely the first sign you will be made aware of is “meowing” or a missing pet that you go in search of. It is highly unlikely that your pet can get herself out of this predicament. Once you carefully extract her from the situation, take care to be gentle and not manipulate limbs, neck or spine. Next, with ever so little movement, check if the animal is breathing and has a pulse. If CPR is not necessary, a head-to-tail check-up may show the following and require veterinary care:
- Burns/Singed fur
- Redness, pain, wounds/abrasions
- Broken bones
- Cardiac and/or pulmonary arrest
What You May Need
- Teflon Coated gauze squares
- Gauze rolls
- Flexible wrap
- Splinting Materials (popsicle sticks, unsharpened pencils, wooden spoons, rolled up magazines, bubble wrap, to name just a few, in addition to an actual Sam Splint®)
What to Do
Check if cat is conscious and breathing. If not, immediately administer CPR. If cat is alert, treat according to injuries (cool burns with water), splint or place on back board (a cutting board or cookie sheet could work for a small pet) if you suspect broken bones and get to the Veterinarian immediately.
Our furry family members count on us to keep them safe. We can’t keep them in a plastic bubble, but need to be prepared to act quickly and calmly when they need us most, so refresh your Pet First Aid skills frequently and keep claws and paws out of danger’s reach!