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first aid tips for dogs

8 First Aid Tips for Dogs

First Aid is important to know in case of an emergency. It is a knowledge that every pet parents should be aware of when caring for a pet. The purpose of first aid is to care for a life by providing the necessary actions to aid the pet. Accidents happen and emergencies do occur even when we least expect it. Having that knowledge will come in handy when the time does happen. So keep in mind these 8 first aid tips for dogs. Save this for future reference and follow along on our social media for more pet tips. 

Restraining Pets

For the safety of them, yourself, and others, you must restrain your pet. Dogs can panic, wiggle, and bite. Just like humans, dogs will react to their pain and discomfort. The best way to ensure they are safe before treatment is to make sure they are stable and calm. There are 3 ways you can restrain your dog:

  • Muzzling–If you don’t have a muzzle on hand, create a muzzle out of a leash, belt, necktie, sock, rope, or strap. Loop the cord around your dog’s muzzle and tighten it to prevent him from biting. Don’t worry, dogs can still breathe through their nostrils; unless their nose is injured or obstructed, then you will need to restrain in a different way. 
  • Wrapping–For an unmanageable dog, you will need to wrap them in a blanket or towel. Keep their head exposed and do not cover or put weight on their throat.
  • Immobilizing–If they show signs of a spinal injury, lay your dog on a board and secure him on the board with straps or cords. Keep their head and neck immobilized as well.

Check for pulse 

When looking of a dog’s pulse, try their upper third thigh. Place your hand over the top of their thigh and gently squeeze your fingers just underneath their leg. There should be an artery pulsing where your fingers are. Time their pulse for 15 seconds and then multiply the result by 4 in order to calculate the number beats per minute.

Prevent Licking 

When you apply that small amount of antibacterial ointment with a sterile gauze, your dog will have the habit of licking the wounded area. Although it should be a disinfected area, avoid having your dog lick. If they try to lick the wound, you will have to prevent that from happening. You can try dog cones,  soft collars, flexible fabric E-Collars, inflatable E-Collars, onesies or clothing. 

Signs of Shock

Shock occurs when your pet has gone through a traumatic event. It is important to watch out for the signs of systemic shock. Remember to observe your pet and be prepared for anything that happens during shock. The signs are: rapid breathing and elevated heart rate with pale mucous membranes (gums, lips, and under the eyelids), cold feet and/or ears, vomit, and shivers. 

Foreign Objects 

Sometimes a foreign object may be lodged in their wounds or stuck in their throat. If the object is on their body and you can remove it, use tweezers and gently remove it off. If the object is stuck deeply onto their bodies, leave it and call your vet for assistance. 

Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock

A severe allergic reaction can happen at anytime. Your dog may suddenly collapse and/or have severe breathing difficulties, swelling around the face or muzzle, bumps or hives on the skin, vomiting or diarrhea, and restlessness. Left untreated, severe anaphylactic shock can result in death. Anaphylaxis can happen from a variety of events such as insect stings and injection reactions. Go to your veterinary immediately if you think your pet may be experiencing anaphylaxis.

Convulsions or seizures

Do not attempt to interrupt the seizure. You will have to let the seizure ride out. You can clear the area to prevent any injury your pet might sustain. Remember to not put your hand in your dog’s mouth. The dog will not swallow its tongue during the seizure. (This is a good rule of thumb for any medical event, do not put your hands near their mouths) After the seizure, give your dog much needed reassurance by talking calmly or petting them. Your dog will often be disoriented for a short time after a seizure, and that’s ok. Contact your vet for added assistance and take them to the office is another seizure occurs. 

Heart failure

Just like humans, pets can have a weakening heart. This is often due to aging but can happen when least expected unless you watch out for the signs. An impending heart failure symptom can be: coughing, difficulty breathing, bluish discoloration of the tongue (and other mucous membranes), decreased stamina, and exercise intolerance or inability to exercise for as long as they used to. When your pet is exercising or is excited, they may collapse. Contact your veterinarian immediately if any of these symptoms occur.

First Aid Awareness Month is this April. Check back on our blog for more first-aid tips (6 Important Steps to Perform CPR on Cats, 5 Crucial Tips to Prevent Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs), and remember to follow us on Instagram and Facebook. 

Hope this was helpful, from the Fire Hydrant Team!

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