Dog First Aid

Wouldn’t it be reassuring to be able to shake all first aid measures out of the sleeve, for humans as well as for dogs? It is not for nothing that every novice driver is trained in first aid even before she gets her driver’s license.

As a dog owner, things are a little different. You have to develop a lot of initiative to be prepared for emergencies. The better you prepare for it, the better you can help your darling. First aid can always save your dog’s life.

When do I have to provide first aid?

All measures that provide your dog with the best possible care in an emergency are considered first aid. This is until veterinary help is available. At first, it sounds very simple. First aid measures for dogs are necessary in these cases, for example:

  • Injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Bite wounds
  • Sprain, bruise
  • Broken bones
  • Shock
  • Combustion
  • Allergic reaction
  • Vomit
  • Seizures or epilepsy
  • Poisoning: Call the poison control center
  • Stomach torsion: If suspected, go to the vet immediately

If such situations do occur, they are usually anything but easy. It is therefore important that you know what to do in an emergency.

Stay calm and focused

When an accident happens to your dog, it’s important to stay as calm as possible. You must try to instill calm and support in your animal. Running around frantically and screaming hysterically doesn’t help. Because your dog will only become restless and nervous. If you get nervous too, it will only make things worse.

  • Approach your animal slowly.
  • Talk calmly to your dog.
  • Do not make any frantic or quick movements.

In such a situation, your darling can react differently than you are used to. So be sure to secure your dog. This is before you or other first aiders attempt to administer first aid to the dog.

If your pet’s condition allows, a leash and muzzle must be in this situation. Or a muzzle. This ensures the protection of the helpers. However, if your dog is unconscious or has vomited, do not block the mouth.

Treat injuries and open wounds

To treat an injury, you need to put your animal in a suitable position. Injuries to the back, neck, or head are best treated when your dog is sitting.

Standing up, you can look at its torso, tail, or upper limbs. And they provide. A second person can be helpful here. Your dog may no longer be able to stand on its own. If it affects the lower limbs, you should lay your dog on the uninjured side.

Apply pressure bandage correctly

Is your dog’s wound bleeding profusely? You must apply a pressure bandage to him as soon as possible. In the best case, the pressure on the wound already stops the blood flow. However, only apply a pressure bandage to your dog’s legs.

To do this, place your pet’s affected leg slightly elevated on a pillow. A rolled-up blanket or piece of clothing also works well. This elevation reduces blood flow in the dog.

Ideally, you have a sterile wound dressing that you can now use to cover the wound. If you don’t have one, use a clean cloth or something similar. Now you need an item. This should be larger than your dog’s wound.

The item must not be absorbent. You now need to tie it tightly to the wound using gauze bandages. Or with torn clothes. This should help stop your dog’s bleeding.

First aid kit as a bag or suitcase

If you are out with your dog, you should always carry a first aid kit with you. You are equipped to take care of cut injuries and broken bones. A good first aid kit should contain at least the following items:

  • disposable gloves
  • gauze bandages
  • sterile dressings
  • disinfectant
  • printing compound
  • bandage
  • Small scissors

Pack these utensils for your dog as waterproof as possible. Always take the first-aid kit with you when you are out and about with your four-legged friend.

If you need to approach dog first aid a little more professionally, for example in an animal shelter, a kennel, or in a dog club, you should think about a better-equipped first aid kit. Check content for expired expiration dates at least every six months.

Take a first aid course?

We’ll get to points like respiratory arrest or cardiac arrest shortly below. You can read through the rough procedure and the theory behind it. However, it’s best to take a dog first aid course to get hands-on practice.

Talk to your vet about it. In addition, many veterinary practices now organize such first aid courses.

Resuscitation in respiratory failure

If your dog is unconscious, place him in the recovery position. To do this, lay it on the uninjured side. And slide a blanket under the chest area. So this is increased.

Check the airway. You must be free. If necessary, you have to clean her vomit. To do this, pull your tongue out of your dog’s mouth. Empty his mouth with your fingers.

Control your dog’s breathing

Now check whether your dog is breathing. You can easily see that. Notice the rise and fall of the chest. If you can’t see it well, put your hand on his chest.

As with humans, a mirror can help you. Hold it in front of your dog’s mouth. If it’s fogging, your dog will breathe. If you can’t find breathing, your dog needs to be ventilated.

The stable lateral position and rescue breathing

Lay your dog on its right side in the recovery position. Make sure his mouth is free. Put his tongue between his front teeth. Now hyperextend your loved one’s neck. Keep his lips together while doing this.

 If you notice that his chest rises, give the breath correctly. Repeat this process until you can see your dog breathing independently again.

Cardiac and respiratory arrest resuscitation

If you do not see a pulse in your dog in addition to the lack of breathing, an additional cardiac massage is necessary. Check your dog’s pulse first. This works best on the inner thighs. This is where the femoral artery runs.

This is relatively easy to spot. By gently pressing on it you can tell if your pet has a heartbeat. If you cannot feel your dog’s heartbeat, you must perform a cardiac massage in addition to ventilation.

Prepare chest compressions

The preparations are the same as for respiratory arrest. That means laying the dog on its right side, pulling the tongue out of the mouth, and stretching the neck. For chest compressions, you need to kneel in front of your dog at chest height.

Then place the heel of your hand about 5 centimeters behind the joint on his chest. Place your second palm on the one below. Now, with your arms stretched, press down vertically on your chest.

Cardiac massage and ventilation alternately

You should be able to do about two massages per second. The recommended rhythm for the massage is “Stayin’ Alive,” the song by the Bee Gees. That may sound funny, but it has a serious background.

This title is recommended for resuscitation in humans. So be sure to give it a listen if you don’t know it. After 30 pumps, two breaths follow. You must carry out these resuscitation measures until your dog’s pulse and breathing start again.

Transport to vet

After the initial treatment, you should take your dog to your vet immediately. The best way to transport your injured dog is with a blanket. Or aboard. However, you need two people for this. If you are alone, lift your animal in your arms. His back should be facing you.

If you can, call your vet while you’re on the go. Let her know you’re on your way. Give her all the necessary facts. And tell her what measures you have taken. In this way, the doctor can already prepare. You can help your dog faster that way.

Veterinarians often drive to emergencies for a flat fee if you cannot transport your animal yourself. It is best to clarify this in advance.

Write down and save emergency numbers

Of course, nobody would want to be in such an emergency with their dog. Nevertheless, you should prepare for it. You can do the following things immediately:

  • Save your vet’s phone number on your mobile phone
  • Find the phone number of the nearest poison control center
  • It is best to also look up the number of veterinary clinics in your area

Write these phone numbers on cards and laminate several of these pieces of paper. Put the numbers in the first aid kit, in the glove compartment in the car, and on the keyboard.

Memorize the steps for resuscitation of your dog, as well as for the initial wound care.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are dog emergencies?

Life-threatening illnesses, accidents, and severe pain are classified as emergencies. Emergency treatment is designed to stabilize the animal’s condition and relieve pain. An accident, a circulatory collapse, or a sudden and significant change in general condition can affect any animal.

How does a dog behave when it is in pain?

The dog pants more and/or breaths deeper and faster. Your darling eats less well or not at all. The animal is listless and rests a lot, alternatively, it also becomes more aggressive. The dog is shaking.

How do I know if my dog has a stomach ache?

Stomach pain in dogs is similar to that in us humans: the stomach feels hard and affected animals struggle with discomfort. They often feel listless and sluggish, have trouble sleeping, or are restless. Many of them adopt a cramped posture or posture due to the pain.

How do you provide first aid to a dog?

Stable lateral position in the dog

In the event of a medical emergency, the animal should be placed in a stable side position to provide first aid to the dog so that the injuries can be treated first. To do this, the animal is placed on its uninjured side.

Where can you feel a dog’s pulse?

A weak heartbeat can hardly be felt in the chest of animals. The pulse is therefore checked in dogs, cats, and small mammals on the inside of the thighs. Grab a hind leg from behind and feel with your fingers under light pressure on the inside, far back, and up towards the hip.

Where’s the heart of a dog?

The dog’s heart is in the thorax and is protected by the ribs. Depending on the breed, this vital organ can weigh up to 500 grams. The heart has an atrium and a ventricle on the right and left sides.

How to do heart massage on a dog

Place the heel of your left hand on your chest a few inches behind your elbow. Now clasp your left hand with your right hand. Press on your chest in short bursts, pumping – about 1 time per second. With a small dog, the heart massage can be carried out with one hand.

Where does the dog have mucous membranes?

How and where can I determine if the mucous membranes are normal? The easiest way to assess the mucous membranes in the mouth. To do this, lift a lip of your dog/cat and look at the mucous membrane above and below the teeth.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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