Dog First Aid, What You Should Know

If Your Dog Has An Accident, Dog First Aid May Be The Difference Between Life And Death

No one expects their dog to have an accident or sustain an injury, but the sad truth is that, it happens. And when it does, how prepared you are may well be the difference between life and death.

dog first aid

dog first aid

Dog First Aid Kit

If there is one thing every dog owner should have it is a good canine first aid kit. The easiest way to put a first aid kit together is to buy a prepacked one online. These are generally excellent, but if you prefer you can assemble your own kit.

Here’s what to include in your dog first aid kit:

Latex Gloves, Scissors, Tweezers, Nail clippers, Gauze, Vet Wrap, Alcohol Prep Pads, Eyewash Solution, Instant Cold packs, Antibiotic Ointment, Milk of Magnesia, Activated Charcoal, Hydrogen Peroxide, Tourniquet, Digital Thermometer, Large Syringe (without needle), Muzzle.

dog first aid kit

dog first aid kit

Dog First Aid: Emergency Preparedness

When an accident happens the last thing you want to be doing is running around looking for the number of an emergency vet. It therefore pays to plan ahead and have the details at hand should you need them.

Keep your list of numbers, including your regular vet, emergency vet and poison control center in a number of locations. Keep them in your diary, or phone book, write them on a card and tape them into your first aid box, and stick an additional copy to your fridge door or notice board. You should also enter the numbers into your cell phone in case an incident happens when you’re away from home.

Something you should also prepare for is if you have to move your dog in an emergency, especially if you have a large dog. Buy a camping stretcher, or just have a board or a blanket available to use.

While first aid should never be regarded as a substitute for veterinary treatment, what you do in those first few moments can save your dog’s life. With that in mind here are the actions to take in the case of a medical emergency. Please remember that a dog that is in pain may bite. Approach any injured dog, even one you know well, with caution.

Dog First Aid: External Bleeding

  • Muzzle your dog.
  • Apply a clean, thick gauze pad to the wound, and keep pressure for a minimum of 3 minutes to ensure the blood starts clotting.
  • If bleeding is severe and the wound is on the legs, apply a tourniquet. Apply this between the wound and the body.
    Loosen the tourniquet for 20 seconds every 15-20 minutes.
  • Severe bleeding can be life-threatening, so get your dog to the vet immediately.

Dog First Aid: Internal Bleeding

  • Your dog may have suffered internal bleeding if you see bleeding from the nose, mouth, rectum, coughing up blood, blood in the urine, pale gums, a weak and rapid pulse, or if the dog collapses.
  • Keep the dog warm and as still as possible and get him to a vet immediately.

Dog First Aid: Burns

  • Chemical Burns
    • Muzzle the dog.
    • Flush the wound out immediately with large quantities of water.
  • Severe burns
    • Muzzle the dog.
    • Apply an ice water compress to the wound.

Dog First Aid: Choking

  • If your dog shows the following symptoms he may have swallowed something; difficulty breathing, blue-tinge to the lips and/or tongue, pawing at the mouth, choking sounds when breathing or coughing.
  • Approach with caution – a choking dog may bite * If the dog can still breathe, get him to the vet immediately.
  • You can also look into the dog’s mouth to see if you can see the object. If you can, carefully try to remove it with pliers or tweezers. Be careful not to push it further down the throat, and also don’t spend too much time on this – first priority is to get your dog to the vet.
  • If your dog collapses, place both hands on the side of his rib cage and apply firm quick pressure.
  • You can also lay your dog on his side and strike the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand 3-4 times. This may push to object out by applying air from behind.
  • Keep doing this until you dislodge the object or until you arrive at the vet’s surgery.

Dog First Aid: Fractures

  • Muzzle your dog.
  • Gently lay him on a flat surface.
  • Use a stretcher or board to move the dog to your vehicle.
  • If possible, secure the dog to the stretcher, but don’t apply pressure to the injury or to the dog’s chest
  • Unless you know what you are doing don’t try to splint the injury yourself. A badly-placed splint may do more harm than good.

Dog First Aid: Heatstroke

  • Never leave your dog in a car on a warm day as they can succumb to heatstroke quite easily.
  • If your dog suffers heatstroke get him to a vet immediately, and if that’s not possible move him to a shaded area.
  • Place a cold, wet towel over his neck and head, but do not cover the eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Remove and re-wet the towel every few minutes.
  • Pour water over the dogs entire body using a hose or bucket. Pay special attention to the abdomen and hind legs and massage the legs as you pour the water.
  • Take the dog to a vet as soon as possible.

Dog First Aid: Poisoning (Ingestion)

If you know your dog has eaten something harmful, or if he is has any of the following symptoms – seizures, difficulty breathing, losing consciousness, or is unconscious, telephone your vet, an emergency veterinary clinic or the Animal Poison Control Center hotline (888.426.4435 ) immediately. This number is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Please note: There is a fee for the consultation.

Where possible, have the following information at hand:

  • Breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved
  • Symptoms
  • Name/description of the substance in question, how much the dog was exposed to, and the length of time of the exposure, and how long it’s been since your dog ate it, or was exposed to it.
  • Have the product container available for reference.
  • Place any material your dog may have chewed or vomited into a sealed container and bring it with you to the vet.

Dog First Aid: Poisoning (Exposure)

  • If your dog’s skin or eyes were exposed to a toxic product, check the product label for the instructions on what to do in the case of exposure.
  • Follow the instructions being careful that if you need to use soap you don’t get it into the dog’s eyes, mouth or nose.
  • Once you’ve cleaned the area, contact your vet.

Dog First Aid: Shock

  • If your dog suffers injury or extreme fright he may go into shock. Watch for these symptoms; weak pulse, shallow breathing, nervousness, dazed eyes.
  • Keep the dog warm and still.
  • If the dog is unconscious, keep his head level with the rest of his body.
  • Take the dog to a vet immediately.

Dog First Aid: Seizures

  • More your dog away from any objects that might hurt him, but don’t try to restrain the dog.
  • Time the seizure and take note of how your dog acts.
  • When the seizure stops (normally after 2-3 minutes), put a blanket over your dog to keep him warm.
  • Contact your vet.

These dog first aid measures will buy you valuable time in an emergency, but please remember that they are not a substitute for proper veterinary treatment.

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