How To Administer First Aid To Your Dog
What is first aid?
First aid is very essential to your pet especially in emergencies cases. By gaining skills for first aid you can help your dog or pet in time of need. It is good to know the basic skills being the pet owner as that first help can save your pet from a fatal occurrence before you seek veterinarian care. Remember when your pet is in danger immediate action is required, every second counts. Remain calm and act with caution.
When your pet might require first aid
Accidents occurs even to our furry friends it is good to be safe and get on with emergency classes to be prepared in case your pet ingest poisonous substances, chokes, burns, is bleeding, is unconscious or has a fracture. Administering CPR also come in handy when your dog chokes or is not breathing. CPR can saves your dog’s life, it is an emergency procedure performed if your pet has stopped breathing. You are supposed to continue giving CPR until your pet starts breathing unaided or a veterinarian can take over.
Importance of first aid
They are different courses online to help you gain the necessary skill. Do not wait until there is an emergency to get information it might be late for your pet. We have free online courses and paid courses which I will touch on as we go along. You will also need a first aid kit for your dog emergencies.
Your pet first aid kit should be kept away from children and pet. Ensure you check on expiration date to avoid poisoning your dog. The items in the first aid kit are many but I will just mention the major things. First aid kits can be bought in pet stores or you can improvise one to suit your pet needs.
What should be in your furry friend first aid kit that are important?
- Medicine prescribed by your vet.
- Hydrogen peroxide.
- Surgical sticky tape and a scissors.
- Gloves and wipes.
- Notebook with important telephone contacts.
- Your pet medical history and vaccination in waterproof paper.
- Notes on how to cope with your pets different emergencies.
- Muzzle and lead.
The major emergencies that can occur to your dog are as follows below.
A dog that is choking will be unable to breathe due to an object geting stuck in the airway. Choking happens when an object, often a piece of food or toy gets stuck in the airway.
Assess the situation and check whether the object is visible in the mouth. Do not perform blind sweeps. Chest compressions might dislodge the object if pulling it out is not possible.
Chest thrusts squeeze the air out of the dog’s lungs and may dislodge the blockage as the strong vibration and pressure in the airway, can dislodge the blockage. If this fail take your dog to the vet immediately.
Heatstroke occurs mostly during summer when temperatures are high. Leaving your dog in a closed car can be detrimental. Your dog love the long day at the park and enjoy summer too but keep them indoors when there is a heat wave to avoid heatstroke and seizures as your pet skin will become hot, dry and red with an increased pulse.
When this occur to your pet soothe the burn area as quickly as possible with cool water or cool mats and let your pet rest in a cool room.
Apply cream to relieve itch from your dog dry coat and avoid peeling. Give enough water for your dog hydration with a good dog bottle or feeder. Let your pet stay out of the sun between 10am and 3pm, especially in summer.
- Poisonous substance
If your dog does ingest something toxic, you may have to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. Always check with a poison control professional or your veterinarian before inducing vomiting and be sure you are familiar with the proper instruction on how to do this.
Call your veterinarian or a pet poison helpline immediately! Dogs are curious animals and if they find anything lying around it might end up in their mouth, be it toys, leftovers or medication you forget on your counter. Remember human drugs are poisonous to your pet and if your pet has been poisoned you can do the following.
Remove your pet from the poisonous substance ensure you wear gloves and mask to safeguard yourself. If your dog vomit put a sample in a plastic bag and present it to your vet for analysis. To induce vomit you can also use hydrogen peroxide but after your vet approves. Certain types of poisons can be made worse when vomiting is induced.
Call your vet on your way and schedule for a checkup immediately, for them to prepare for your arrival.
- Broken limp
Your dog can suffer from a fracture sometimes. The limp could be swollen, hangs limply, and cannot hold body, dog walks with three limbs, and these are all tell signs. You need to identify the type of fracture so that you can treat your dog accordingly.
If bone has torn the skin do not attempt to splint the fracture. Hold a large folded towel under the unsplinted limb and transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian because if done incorrectly, it can apply pressure to the ends of the broken bone and cause more pain for your dog.
A muzzle would be great if your dog is in pain to avoid him biting you.
Unconsciousness or not breathing by your dog can be as a result of heatstroke, shock, respiratory diseases etc. A CPR can save your dog in this case which can be a combination of chest compression and artificial respiration. It is normally used when you cannot feel or hear the dog’s heartbeat, when necessary.
Get a flat surface to lay your dog on its right side and ensure it has a muzzle to avoid biting in case he wakes up.
Near your dogs heart place your hands on the rib cage and push your palm down and start doing downwards motions. Try to do 100-120 compression in a minute so it will be quick pushes.
Breathe on your dogs’ nose after every 10-15 compressions until you get a pulse. If your dog is unresponsive take him to the veterinarian.
Your dog could be unconscious due to choking and to avoid suffocating start the first aid immediately. Check the throat and mouth for foreign objects, at this point your dog can be in panic, do not muzzle it but try restraining her.
To remove the visible object without sliding it much down into the throat hold your dogs upper and lower jaw with both your hands. Use your fingers to reach and remove the object.
If your dog slips into unconsciousness lay the dog down, place one hand on the back for support and use the other hand to squeeze the abdomen upwards and forwards until the object comes out. In critical cases your dog might need hospitalization as per the vet recommendations.
To avoiding choking incidences that can lead to unconsciousness supervise your dog while playing with its toys.
When your dog has a bleeding injury your main worry is to prevent excessive blood loss for your pet. The most common body parts of your dog body that suffer from this are the paws and legs. Excessive bleeding can make your dog go to shock state.
If the blood is not to much as a pet owner you can handle it but if your dog has a cut artery and blood is splashing out you need to take him to the vet immediately. Cover the wound with a sterile gauze pad, clean folded towel, or sanitary napkin. Keep pressure on the dressing to stop bleeding while transporting the dog to the veterinarian.
If it is not very alarming clean the wound with clean water, remove any foreign object if any. Use a sterile pad, bandage the wound and keep the dog off the injured limp. For deep cuts your dog will requires stitches hence take him to the vet.
Free and Paid First Aid Courses to assist you when your dog is in an emergency
With modern technology you can train for first aid free and paid online courses and have the information before any harm befalls your pet. From CPR, burning, unconscious to choking courses that give you basic saving skills. Get more information on the links below.
At firstaidforpets learn thorough step by step procedures for 12 months on how to do CPR, how to deal with a dog that has choked, is unconscious etc. using diagrams, flowcharts, videos that would potentially save your pets life as it will improve the chances of prognosis your animal well. For more information check the link above.
At PDSA their pet first aid workshop provides 4-6 hour training that focus on how to prevent accidents and how to deal with them if they occur before you get your pet to the vet. The course provides a mixture of theory, discussion and practical tasks and covers the following subjects from heatstroke, poisoning, seizures, choking, resuscitation, bloating and bandaging. For more information check the link above.
Sometimes a paid courses will go a long way if it comes with more information. Anything for your pet is worth it and both links above also have paid courses that will be beneficial for you and your pet. The paid courses are much cheaper compared to when your pet is hospitalized at the end of the day. Information is power and if you need to pay for it to keep your pet safe it is worth it.
You love your pets and want to provide a healthy lifestyle. Ensure you are fully equipped and prepared to deliver first aid care in case of any emergencies and with the right basic information it will save your pets life in time of need.