Dogs are naturally curious animals, and they usually spend time exploring places they’re in. No matter how trained they may be, sometimes they can’t help but put things in their mouth, too! Their curious nature can get the best of them, so they can sometimes find themselves in unfortunate circumstances that may cause harm or injury to them. Similar to how we keep first aid kits for ourselves, pet owners should also have one prepared just in case.
Emergencies can happen at any time, so it’s best to have first aid supplies, alongside human ones, and to be prepared with remedies to help alleviate pain or discomfort before bringing them to the veterinarian. Here are some first aid tips every pet owner should know about to help save your dog’s life when the unexpected happens!
The 9 Basic First Aid Tips For Pet Owners
1. Always Have A First Aid Kit Prepared
Every pet owner should have a first aid kit or first aid supplies that they can access easily, whether they’re at home or travelling. You never know what kind of emergency your pet may require, so having these supplies at reach can help greatly, especially if you can’t have your pet rushed to the vet immediately. Here is a checklist of items that each first aid kit should contain:
- First Aid Manual
- Bandage Rolls
- Non-stick Bandages
- Adhesive Surgical Tapes
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Saline solution
- Antiobiotic spray or ointment
- Medications or Pills Your Dogs Take
First aid medical kits are also available to purchase that contains most of the items mentioned above.
2. Have a Muzzle Ready
The first instinct of a scared, confused, or hurt dog is to lash out or bite. To prevent your dog from inflicting pain on themselves and on you, make sure to have a dog muzzle ready to help keep their jaws closed. If you don’t have the proper muzzle on-hand, an alternative muzzle in case of emergency that can be used is a leash, belt, strap, belt, or sock. These can keep their mouths closed temporarily and can be kept for a short period of time. As long as they can still breathe through their nose, muzzles can be applied. You may help treat your dog properly after putting a muzzle on.
3. Clear Any Danger and Isolate Your Pet
If your dog is harmed, make sure to remove whatever source is causing it. Next, make sure to keep your dog isolated and away from any possible threat. Have someone assist you to move your pet in a stable platform or use a make-shift stretcher using a board with a towel on it.
4. Stop Bleeding By Applying Pressure
If your dog is wounded and is excessively bleeding, slow down the bleeding by applying pressure on it. This is to help prevent blood loss.
5. Remove the Object and Help Your Dog When They Choke
One of the most common dog emergencies involves choking on various objects. So, the common first aid that pet owners should know is how to dislodge the object when your dog chokes. Help your dog by opening their mouths and removing the item in their throat (if visible) using a pair of tweezers. Make sure to do it gently without pushing the object further into their mouth. Another way of helping them remove the item in their throats is by performing a Heimlich manoeuvre. There are several ways to do that and classes you can take to learn them properly.
6. Perform CPR When Your Dog Can’t Breathe
If you notice your dog has stopped breathing for 3-5 minutes, it may lead to brain damage. This is the best time to do CPR on your dog. Lay them down on their side, check for anything the obstructs their airway, pull their tongue as far as possible out of their mouth, close it without hurting the tongue, and blow air into the nostrils and mouth by cupping your hands around their nose. You may take first-aid classes to learn how to properly administer CPR to your dogs!
7. Treat Wounds, Burns or Insect Bites / Stings Gently
During playtime, your dog may end up wounded, burned, or stung. Stay calm and handle your pet gently. For wounds or lacerations, clean the wounded area with antiseptic solution or ointment, then wrap it with non-adhesive bandages. Next, for burns, gently clean and cool the area with cold water and apply soothing cream or gel. Lastly, for insect bites or stings, gently remove the insect or the stinger, then wash the affected area with warm water.
Do take note that for severe wounds, burns, or bites, it is required to take your pet to the veterinarian immediately, so they can be treated properly.
8. Have Your Vet’s Emergency Contact Information Ready At All Times
When the emergency cannot be treated with the first-aid kit, it’s best to have your vet’s contact details ready. You can immediately call them and relay what happened to your dog, so they can advise the best course of action for your pet. n You can also check if they are open, so you can quickly take your dog to the emergency for treatment.
Call Your Veterinarian Immediately In Case of These Instances Happen:
- Breathing stopped
- No pulse detected
- Heart stopped beating
- Unresponsiveness or not responding at all
- Looking and feeling disoriented
- Serious Injuries (Vehicular accidents, broken bones, fractured body parts, deep wounds, etc)
- Pet Poisoning
- Excessive Bleeding
9. Keep Your Pet Still But Comfortable When Injured
Once you have muzzled your pet, try to keep them from moving too much to avoid adding pressure to affected areas, especially if they have broken bones. If they move too much, it can worsen their condition. Use your supplies from the first aid kit to treat your dog’s injuries. Keep your dog comfortable on a stable surface. Add blankets to keep them warm and secure, especially if you are transporting them to the vet.