So, we live in an imperfect world, and occasionally things go wrong. If the worse does occur and your best furry friend suffers an accident or eats something toxic and needs some immediate help, what can we do?
Well, the first thing we need is some sympathy. An animal in pain may react in a way outside its typical character. It’s not unusual for scared animals to lash out or bite if they are in pain.
If the dog in question is a larger breed, then a makeshift muzzle can be fashioned from clothing or if you need to examine or touch it, make sure your arms are well wrapped up and covered. Smaller dogs can easily be secured by using something like a towel or a t-shirt.
Speaking to a vet should be your priority as the advice could make all the difference.
If the worst happens and your pet is hit by a vehicle, approach them slowly and use a reassuring tone. After speaking to a vet, follow any advice, or if you cannot speak to a vet, try to make your way to one as soon as possible. If the animal can walk, make your way as quickly as possible, as the dog may have internal injuries. Read our article on Dogs and Cars
Open wounds – If they are bleeding, do your best to stop the bleeding by improvising a bandage from any item of clothing you have to hand. Wrap the injury firmly but do not attempt to cut off circulation entirely. If the wound is in an inaccessible area, try to make a pad from clothing or tissue and press firmly. Bandages like gauze and cotton wool are ideal but do not use sticky plasters. Please read our article on cuts and wounds for more info.
Moving a wounded dog – If the dog is small enough to be carried, try to lift it by securing its chest and bottom and keep the movement to a minimum. If the dog is larger and there is help at hand, you could try to improvise a stretcher and look around you for materials. Be careful when moving injured animals, and keep talking to them in a reassuring tone.
Broken bones – Do not attempt to set or add a splint to a fractured leg as you risk causing more injury. Instead, try to find a way to get the dog to a vet as soon as possible. For larger dogs, you may need assistance. For smaller dogs, try and find a sturdy cardboard box. Once again, limiting the movement is the key here.
Burns – Treat burns the same way you would for humans, except avoid using creams. Cold water will help reduce the heat and keep the dog warm.
Toxins – We’ve covered poisoning before, but if you think your dog has eaten something dangerous, try and find a sample and get them to the vets as soon as possible.
Resuscitation – God forbid you’ll ever need to do this but forewarned is forearmed. Firstly, lay the dog on its side, then double and triple-check it’s not breathing. If you can’t detect breathing, put your hands on your dog’s snout to clear its airways. Then put your hands in its mouth, pull the tongue forward, and ensure the airways are clear. Then listen carefully for signs of breathing. If there is no breathing, hold your dog’s mouth closed and inhale into the nose once every 3 seconds. If you can’t feel a heartbeat try pushing on its chest behind the front legs once a second.
As a professional Dog Walker, I have recently undertaken various training courses in Canine First Aid, and I was amazed at how much I learned… but the article above is a good first step.
This blog post is purely meant to be helpful advice. We are not vets, and this info is not intended, in any way, to take the place of the advice from your Vet. If you have concerns, please contact your Vet or Verifone