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Accidents without a dog first aid kit

So, if you’re in the middle of nowhere and a dog comes back to you covered in blood, you’re out on a walk and you haven’t got your kit or dog first aid pouch to hand. It’s in the car which is three miles away from where you are.

You need to be prepared to act even when you have nothing and there are steps that you can take to enable you to do that.

You always need to strip things back to basics, so you need to do your visual risk assessment. Check to see in the area what could possibly have caused your dog to be injured because you don’t want to rush in and end up being injured yourself by whatever has injured the dog, meaning that you’re not able to administer first aid to that dog and that you’re in pain yourself.

The second thing you need to do is call for help. Even if there is no one around that you can see, you still need to be calling for help. There could be someone in the next field that might be able to hear you or another dog walker at the bottom of the lane or something so always call for help and try and get someone else to you.

The third thing you need to do is secure the dog because dogs have that Flight Freeze Fight reaction. So, you’re going to secure the dog and examine where the bleed is coming from, how many bleeds are there and what sort of bleed is it. Are they bleeding from an artery, is it an arterial bleed with a fresher bright red blood because it’s oxygen-rich? Or is it a venous bleed so it’s that darker more seeping blood?
If it’s an arterial bleed you’re going to apply significant pressure immediately. You can use the heel of your hand for example and just apply significant pressure to that bleed immediately. And, if it’s a venous bleed you can get an item of clothing and start packing that bleed straight away.

With an arterial bleed, once you’ve applied that significant pressure you can then also start getting your items of clothing, whether it’s socks or trousers, and get something on it that’s absorbent and really keep that pressure on best you can. Then get the dog safely to your vehicle and ring the vets and let them know you’re on your way.

If a dog collapses on a walk and you’re not able to find a pulse, you shouldn’t use a defibrillator as you would with a human. It’s really rare that a dog would go into true ventricular fibrillation like a human would, so they rarely have heart attacks and therefore the need for defibrillation is also rare. So, you wouldn’t use a defibrillator on a dog, you would go into your canine CPR.

About Jo Middleton

Dog first aid trainer and founder of Dog First Aid Franchise Ltd – an organisation with a veterinary team boasting over 50 years experience.