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Dog’s First Aid

Your dog can get hurt at any time, but if you know basic first aid for dog’s, you can handle most situations with ease. Being prepared beforehand will improve your dog’s chance of survival in the event of a serious accident. There are so many dangers that your dog can encounter in the home or out on a walk. If you are prepared for unexpected injuries involving your dog, you will less likely panic, and better focus on treating the issue. Be prepared for the unexpected with these helpful first aid tips.

Basic First Aid

A list of contact numbers for your veterinarian and Animal poison control is always a good idea; keep one in your home, one in your car, and one in your wallet or something you carry with you. You should have a basic first aid kit in your home and car as well. Items in the kit should include

  • Rolled gauze - used to wrap a wound, and can be used as a makeshift muzzle.
  • Self-adhesive bandages
  • Non-adhesive absorbent dressing
  • Surgical tape
  • Cotton wool
  • Square gauze
  • Blunt-ended scissors
  • A thick towel
  • Elizabethan collar (keeps the dog from licking or biting at a wound)
  • Multi-purpose wound cleaner
  • Eye wash to flush your dog’s eyes
  • Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting

Inducing vomiting should only be done when your vet or poison control has suggested such action. Regular checks of expiration dates on all materials is a must to ensure proper performance.

Is Your Dog in Need of Emergency Care?

You can take care of your dog at home for small injuries such as a bee sting or a small scratch. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should call your vet.

  • Lethargic or depressed appearance
  • Rapid or difficult breathing
  • Excessive coughing and/or vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea or blood in stool
  • Unsteady movement
  • Severe pain or discomfort
  • Inability to urinate or defecate

Road Accidents

Your dog should not have access to streets or highways unless he is on a leash. Always make sure your dog’s collar is snug to avoid slipping. In the event, your dog does get hit by a car, approach him slowly, so he does not become frightened. Your dog may be in pain and may attempt to bite. Use a muzzle or his leash to secure his mouth. Get the dog to your vet immediately to rule out possible internal injuries.

Care should be taken when moving a dog after being hit by a car. If your dog is small, gently lift him by placing one hand under his hindquarters and one hand at the front of his chest. Use a blanket or large towel as a makeshift stretcher to move large dogs. If the dog cannot move his legs, he may have a spinal injury. For this situation, a board is better suited to avoid further damage.

First Aid for a Bleeding Dog

If your dog is bleeding excessively, make a tight bandage from clothing or towels. Continue adding layers if blood soaks through. Avoid using a tourniquet if possible. If you are unable to bandage the area, apply pressure using anything absorbent, and get to the vet immediately.

If you have your dog’s first aid kit, you can use the non-adhesive dressing, followed by a layer of cotton wool. Apply a cotton bandage and use surgical tape to hold everything in place. If the bleeding is located on your dog’s leg, wrap the entire leg to avoid swelling in the lower extremities. These techniques are used to slow the flow of blood until you can get to the vet.

Broken Bones

The best way to handle a broken bone is to get your dog to the vet. Never apply a splint, as it can cause further damage. Keep the dog calm and limit movement.

Burns and Scalds

Place the affected area under running water for at least five minutes and call your vet. Avoid all creams or ointments. Use saline-soaked dressing to the burn if yo0u are unable to go directly to the vet.


If you know what your dog has ingested, have the information when you call poison control or your vet. If you do not know, poison control or your vet will need to know the symptoms your dog is having. Never induce vomiting unless you have been advised to do so by the vet or poison control.

Swollen tummy

Swelling of the stomach area can be a very serious issue if it occurs suddenly. This is especially true of larger, deep-chested dogs like mastiff or boxers. Signs of a twist in the stomach include attempts of vomiting, gulping, and dripping saliva. If these signs are present, get your dog to the vet immediately.

First aid for dogs with a ball stuck in throat

When your dog has something stuck in his throat, he will not be able to breathe. Try to remove the ball by applying pressure to the neck and throat area to push the object out. If the dog is not responding or his tongue and gums have turned blue, try the Heimlich maneuver for dogs. Have someone hold your dog’s mouth open as you attempt to remove the ball. If you are unsuccessful, lay the dog on his side and place your hands on the stomach behind the last rib. Push down with a sharp and sudden motion. Have someone near your dog’s mouth to grab the ball if it ejects. If both attempts fail, get the dog to the vet immediately.

Coat contamination

If your dog has rolled or walked in tar or paint, you need to remove it fast as it may be toxic. Avoid letting the dog lick the affected area by placing an Elizabethan collar on his neck. If the contamination is fresh and not very widespread, regular dish washing liquid may remove it. You may have to remove some of the hair with scissors. If a large area of the coat is covered, get to the vet. Avoid using paint remover or turpentine that could irritate or burn your dog’s skin.

Heat stroke

The most common cause of heat stroke in dogs is being left in a car on warm days. The heat inside a car can become dangerous in a matter of minutes. If you suspect heat stroke, get your dog to the vet immediately. If you cannot get to the vet right away, move your dog to a cool, shaded area and wet his coat with cool water. Do not use cold water; it will prevent the body from releasing the heat by contracting the blood vessels. Offer the dog sips of water. Too much water ingested at once may cause vomiting.


When a dog is having a seizure, your first instinct is to comfort him. Avoid any stimulation that may further the attack. Protect your dog from sharp edges and electricity. Once the area around the dog is secure, call your vet.

Electric shock

If your dog has bitten into an electrical cord, turn off all power. Use a wooden object to pull your dog away from the electrical source. If your dog is not breathing, begin resuscitation and call your vet. See below on how to perform resuscitation.

Basic dog resuscitation

If your dog is not breathing, first check his mouth for possible blockages such as food or toys. If the airway is clear, you need to complete the following

  • Stretch the dog’s neck out and slightly tilt the head
  • For large dogs, close his mouth and gently breathe through the nose. For small dogs, cover the nose and mouth, watching for the chest to rise. Blow air twice then proceed with chest compressions.
  • Lay the dog on its right side
  • Place one hand beneath the right side and one hand over the dog’s heart (located in the lower half of the chest on the left side, behind the front left leg, right behind the elbow)
  • Press down on the heart gently, one inch for medium sized dogs; less force should be used on small dogs, harder for large dogs.
  • Press 80 - 120 times per minute for large dogs and 100 - 150 times per minute for small dogs
  • Breathing and chest compressions should be done separately. Give breaths and immediately go to chest compressions.
  • Continue providing air and chest compressions until you have a heartbeat and the dog is breathing on his own.

Having the knowledge to treat and potentially save your dog’s life is not only important but gratifying as well. At any given moment, your dog can sustain an injury, and you will have to act fast to avoid a tragic end. While you cannot learn everything there is to know about first aid for your dog, there are Experts who can provide you with informative tips along the way.

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