first-aid measures for dogs

It is necessary to know some first-aid measures for your dog in case of an emergency.

If your dog is healthy, then you are happy – you will definitely agree with me. Unfortunately, an injury or illness can occur in the life of every dog. Some of them aren’t that serious and you can handle yourself. Others require your immediate intervention to avoid a worse situation. First-aid measures are often used to take care of your pet until a veterinarian can take over further treatment.

But what exactly do first aid measures look like for dogs? What do you have to consider and what are your limits? You will learn more in this post.

First-aid Treatment for Dogs – An Overview

The range of possible injuries and illnesses is just as extensive for our dogs as it is for us humans. Broken bones, allergic reactions, heatstroke, or a twisted stomach are just a few of the emergencies that can arise. They all require different first aid measures. In a life-threatening situation, these can be crucial to saving the life of your dog. There are also less drastic emergencies, for example, bite wounds or insect bites. The better prepared you are for the different possibilities, the better you can help your own dog – or someone else’s dog.

Sometimes dog training schools and clubs or veterinarians offer such a first-aid course for dogs, online and offline, so you can also consult there.

Basic Emergency Measures

Regardless of the emergency, you should always follow these steps:

Keep Calm.
If you panic, it won’t do your dog any good. Take a few deep breaths and focus on what you can do. when I am very stressed, I always hum a song. This will calm your breathing and yourself.

Secure
Secure your dog with a leash so that it cannot run away. Perhaps he is shocked or panicked by the serious injury and wants to flee. Depending on how he behaves, you should muzzle him for your own protection.

muzzle your dog

Getting your dog used to a muzzle is helpful during an emergency.

Calm Down
Talk to your dog reassuringly. Avoid unnecessary contact, as this could be threatening or uncomfortable for the dog.

Avoid Stress
Keep away those who cannot or should not help. That just creates a mess and unnecessary unrest.

Stable Side Position
Make sure that your dog is in the stable side position and check that his airway is clear.

Emergencies and First Aid Measures

If your dog got a small scratch from fighting, you can take care of it yourself. It is different from a life-threatening emergency. In a life-threatening situation, Every minute counts and you should not lose time under any circumstances. This is why it is so important to be well prepared by:

  • attending a first aid course,
  • get yourself a first- aid kit
  • always have a vet’s phone number close at hand.

Life-threatening emergencies include, for example, respiratory or cardiac arrest, but also suffocation or severe bleeding. In some cases, even CRP (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) may be necessary. However, I will deal with the emergencies that are most likely to occur. 

The following measures are actually only used as first aid. In a life-threatening situation, it is always important to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Severe bleeding
The reasons for this range from accidental bite to open fractures.
Measure: Try to stop the bleeding as quickly as possible with a pressure bandage or a bandage. You can bind it if the pressure bandage is insufficient. 

Suffocation
Suffocation can be caused by your dog swallowing something stuck in the airways, an insect bite can also be the cause of suffocation.
Measure: If your dog suffocates because something is stuck in its throat, you must remove the object immediately. If the cause is an insect bite, you should get rid of the sting in the throat first. Then It is important to cool your dog’s throat, for example with ice cubes or cold water.

Poisoning
Poisonous plants and certain foods, medicines or poisonous baits can lead to life-threatening poisoning in your dog. Many years ago, my dog ​​ate a large portion of milk chocolate, but luckily she survived. The higher the proportion of cocoa in the chocolate, the higher the risk for your pet dog. 
Measure: If your dog has eaten something poisonous, you should go to the nearest vet immediately.
Important: Do not make your dog vomit, as that can be very risky for him and you may lose time. Do not put a muzzle over your dog’s face on the way to the vet. He could vomit at any time, but this is not possible with a muzzle.

No chocolate for dogs

chocolate is life-threatening poison for your dog

Heatstroke
As the temperatures rise in spring, the risk of heatstroke increases extremely. In a car, in particular, it can get scorching hot within a very short time. If you let your dog sit in the car for only a few minutes in the heat, he can suffer from heatstroke and in the worst case die from it. 
Measure: You have to put your pet dog in the shade immediately and cool it carefully. For example, you can place a damp cloth on its neck or head and offer him something to drink.
Important: Under no circumstances should you just pour cold water over your dog. You have to cool it slowly and carefully. Too fast cooling would put too much strain on the already weak circulation and could lead to further problems.

dog has a heat stroke in a car

The sun may increase the risk of heatstroke in your dog.

Bone fracture
A bone fracture occurs mostly due to an accident such as an accidental fall. However, the bones in your dog’s paw can also break if someone accidentally steps on it.
Measures: Make sure your dog behave calmly. He will try to protect the broken area. In addition, you should immobilize the broken limb and splint the fracture. It is important to remember that such a fracture is damn painful and your dog may snap at you if you touch it. Therefore, if necessary, put a muzzle over his head to protect yourself.

dog bone fracture

It is necessary to go to the vet after first aid for bone fractures.

Bite injury
Just recently, a friend’s dog was involved in a dog fighting in which he was bitten in the cheek. The very next day a serious inflammation developed there, which had to be treated by the vet. Although it was only a minor bite injury at first, it could have taken a turn for the worse later. In addition to a visible wound, injuries to the spine, nerves, and even bones are possible.
Measure: What you can do with a bite wound depends on the injury. Basically, it is important that you clean and disinfect the wound. You should definitely get a first-aid kit.

dog fighting

Dogfighting can lead to injury

Gastric torsion
A stomach torsion can occur in a perfectly healthy dog. Large dogs with the deep chests are most commonly susceptible. The older your dog is, the more likely it will suffer from stomach twisting. With a twisted stomach in your dog, every second counts, and unfortunately, there is nothing you can do as a first-aid measure. You must immediately take your dog to a nearby veterinarian for an operation. However, there are a few things that you should always pay attention to in order to get a sign of gastric torsion.
Recognize stomach torsion: Your dog has a badly bloated stomach, is extremely restless, and salivates excessively. He may try to vomit or defecate in vain.

an surgical operation for dog with gastric torsion

A surgical operation is needed for a dog with gastric torsion.

Insect bite
I know that dogs snap at insects. If they get stung, it can be quite dangerous. It can also happen when your dog steps on a stinging insect or comes across a nest while digging, for example, wasps. This is exactly what happened to my dog and he was badly bitten by the wasps with numerous stings.
Measures: If possible, drive away the stinger. Afterward, you should immediately cool the area with cold water or ice cubes. If your dog has been stung in the neck, you can offer them ice cream to lick.
Important: Dogs can also be allergic to insect bites and even suffer from what is known as anaphylactic shock. So keep an eye on your dog after a sting.

dogs may get stung by bees

dogs may get stung by bees

Take Your Dog to a Veterinarian

The measures mentioned above are usually only intended for first aid. You can treat minor injuries or illnesses on your own with your first-aid kit, without necessarily having to visit a veterinarian. In the emergencies listed above, however, you must definitely go to a vet after first aid.

There are also a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the transportation of your dog to the vet.

  • Call the vet beforehand to make sure the operation gets prepared.
  • If possible, get someone else to help you with transportation.
  • If your dog is able to walk, let him walk on its own.
  • While driving, make sure that your dog does not get cold and cover him with a jacket, blanket, or thermal blanket if necessary
  • Secure your dog with a leash during transport.
have a vet examine your dog

Have a vet examine your dog after first aid.

Conclusion: Better Safe than Sorry!

The list of emergencies could fill an entire book. As a non-medical practitioner, it is hardly possible to be prepared for all of them. That’s why you shouldn’t drive yourself crazy.

Nevertheless, it is good to get first aid for your dog. Should an emergency actually occur, you are guaranteed to remain calmer than if you were completely clueless. The most important thing is not to panic.

With a well-stocked first-aid kit and by attending a first aid course, you will ensure your safety and that of your pet dog.