Animal Friends Blog
When our dogs get hurt or fall ill it can be a stressful time, especially if you have no idea how to react or what to do. Even those who know exactly what to do can forget everything in a moment, especially when seeing your friend in pain or suffering.
Here are some top tips on first aid for dogs, as knowing what to do can sometimes be the difference between life or death.
If you have any concerns about your dog, always make sure to speak to your vet.
What not to do
- Never give your dog human medicine, emergency or not.
- Make sure not to offer food or water, just in case they need anaesthetic.
- Don’t move too quickly or abruptly around the injured dog.
- Don’t try to deal with serious injuries yourself, this could put you and your dog in danger.
What to do
- Assess the situation before acting, injured animals can react dangerously.
- Phone your vet first, to make sure someone can see you. If not, they will be able to provide another veterinary practice, so have a pen ready to jot down any numbers.
- Drive carefully on the way to the vet so you don’t cause more pain or injury to the dog.
- A thick towel can come in handy if your small dog is becoming aggressive, a muzzle for a bigger dog if they don’t have any trouble breathing.
Does my dog need emergency attention?
There are some situations where your dog will need emergency attention, where only a vet can help. Here are a few things to look out for that means it’s time to call the vet, immediately.
- Your dog is weak, depressed, or dull or is unresponsive
- Your dog has difficulty breathing, it sounds noisy or rapid
- They appear to be in pain or discomfort, whining, barking, crying or whimpering
- They’re having difficulty moving, with their balance, or coordinating movement
- You think they’ve eaten something toxic
- They’ve collapsed and can’t get up or they’re having a fit or seizure
- They can’t stop vomiting or have had diarrhoea for more than 24 hours
- They’re having difficulty passing urine or defecating
How to treat common (not serious) injuries before seeking help
Place a tight bandage around the cut, if you don’t have a bandage you will be able to improvise with strips of towel or clothing instead. Get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Falls can cause serious injuries, some we can’t see as they might be internal. Take your dog to the vet if they’ve fallen from a height, just in case.
If your dog is bleeding from a broken bone, treat the bleeding but do not apply a splint as this can cause additional problems like causing the bone to rip through their skin. Make sure your dog is safe and comfortable as you travel to the vet.
Burns or scalds
Run cold water over the burn for at least five minutes and never cover the burnt area. Do not use any creams or lotions and see the vet as soon as you can.
You will need to find the packaging of what they’ve swallowed, or if it’s a plant, bulb or flower you’ll need to identify what they’ve ingested and taken it and your dog to the vet immediately. Do not force your dog to be sick.
Put your dog somewhere cool, preferably with a draught, and wet their coat with tepid water and phone the vet right away.
Don’t hesitate, your dog needs medical attention straight away in case there is a life-threatening twist in their stomach.
If your dog is suffering a fit, do not touch them as this could prolong the fit. Darken the room, reduce noise, and make sure you remove any dangers or anything that will cause injury.
If your dog is involved in any other accident or are ill be sure to speak to your vet and they’ll be able to advise you on what to do.
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