Administer Canine First Aid

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Graeme, Anonymous, Lynn and 6 others

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Accidents and emergencies happen. The best way you can deal with them is to be ready at all times. This way, you can effectively save a loved one, a friend, or even a stranger in need. The same principle applies to your furry companion. Your dog is naturally adventurous. A day will rarely go by when you don't have to clean up a mess that your dog makes, or repair something that he or she may have mistaken for a chew toy. Because of your dog's sense of adventure, he or she often finds himself, or herself, in trouble when it comes to health and safety. Your job as a responsible dog owner is to make sure that your pet gets proper medical attention, especially if the vet is a long way from your home. The first thing you should do is gather the supplies and knowledge you need in order to be prepared to help your fur-baby feel better in any situation. Knowing how to administer canine, first aid will definitely make a huge difference in your dog's recovery from any kind of accident.

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How to Administer Canine First Aid

Before you do anything else, know that your first task is to remain calm.

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No matter what happens, stay composed. Your presence of mind is important when it comes to handling lives. Your dog's well-being and survival depend on how you handle the emergency. Below are some of the common canine emergencies and ways you can provide the best immediate care to your dog:

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  1. 1
    High-impact or traumatic injuries.
    These are accidents in which your dog may have fallen or have been hit by a vehicle. Your priority here is to stabilize your dog until proper emergency veterinary care is provided.
    1. Get a piece of plywood or a blanket to place under your dog.
    2. Keep your dog steady to avoid other aggravating injuries.
    3. Call your veterinarian.
    4. Rush your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital.
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  2. 2
    Ingestion of something poisonous.
    1. You cannot monitor your dog all the time. However, if you know your dog well, you can detect possible behavioral or physical changes that may indicate poisoning.
    2. Do not wait for one or two days to pass.
    3. Rush your dog to the 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital.
    4. Call the emergency dog poison control hotline if you think you will be delayed in leaving for the hospital.
    5. Be prepared with your name, phone number, and address. Note the type of poison. You'll also need to be prepared with the dog's breed, name, age, weight, sex, and the symptoms manifested.
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  3. 3
    Ingestion of anti-freeze.
    1. If you suspect that your dog has ingested anti-freeze take your dog to the vet immediately. Your vet has a test kit to see if ethylene glycol is present in your dog's system. This compound is the active ingredient in anti-freeze. If your dog tests positive for ethylene glycol, ethanol will be administered through the veins to prevent ethylene glycol from releasing its poisons. Your dog may also have to undergo dialysis to cleanse the blood of the compound. Anti-freeze is a very toxic substance to dogs. Symptoms that indicate anti-freeze poisoning are:  
      1. Frequent urination
      2. Excessive thirst
      3. Tremors
      4. Nausea
      5. Generalized weakness
      6. Rapid heart rate and respiration
      7. Convulsions
      8. Vomiting
      9. Paralysis
      10. Diarrhea
    2. If you are going to be delayed in getting your dog to the vet, you may need to induce vomiting with your vet's instructions. You can introduce alcoholic drinks like vodka, then alcohol, to your dog's system orally. You can also use activated charcoal.
    3. Dissolve an activated charcoal capsule in two teaspoons of water. Give a teaspoon for every two pounds of your dog's weight.
    4. Give water.
    5. Rush your dog to the nearest emergency vet.
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  4. 4
    Burns from chemicals, flames, or electricity
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    1. Look at the area to see if it is red, swollen and blistered and if the fur is singed.
    2. Flush your dog's burns with cool water, preferably running water.
    3. Place an ice pack over the affected area for 15-20 minutes. Wrap the ice pack first with a cloth or towel. Do not apply the ice pack directly on the affected area.
    4. For acid burns, use water and baking soda solution to rinse the skin.
    5. For strong base or alkali burns, use a very weak solution of vinegar and water.
    6. Blot the area dry.
    7. Trim (do not shave) the fur around the burned area.
    8. Apply antibiotics. You can also apply olive oil.
    9. Loosely wrap a bandage over the affected area.
    10. For dry chemical burns, do not rinse. Just brush the chemicals off your dog's skin, and rush your dog to the vet.
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  5. 5
    Open wounds
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    1. Since any animal experiencing pain may bite, muzzle your dog using gauze, nylon stocking, rope, a necktie, or a piece of cloth, by wrapping your dog's nose. Let the cloth go underneath the chin and then tie it right behind the ears. Do not obstruct your dog's breathing. If you have a small dog, just place a towel around his or her head.
    2. Thoroughly wash your hands. Wear sterile gloves.
    3. Assess the wounded area.
    4. Shave the area surrounding the wound.
    5. Clean out the accumulated debris and blood. Use diluted betadine, saline, or electrolyte solutions. You can use clean water if these are not available. Do not use alcohol because it will damage the tissue. Hydrogen peroxide is ideal for infected wounds.
    6. Apply some Neosporin on the cleaned up wound. If your dog is suffering from bite wounds, an antibiotic prescribed by a vet would be better.
    7. Dress the wound to prevent contamination. See to it that the bandage is not too tight.
    8. Frequently change the bandages and apply antibiotic each time.
    9. Remove the muzzle.
    10. Note: If your dog's wound is progressively bleeding, apply direct, firm pressure on the wound with a clean cloth or gauze until bleeding is impeded.
    11. Excessive bleeding needs continuous pressure for about 10 minutes. Do not check until the 10 minutes are up because if you constantly release the pressure, clotting won't happen. Only when the bleeding stops should you treat the wound.
    12. Avoid the use of tourniquets.
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  6. 6
    Puncture or stab wounds
    1. Dab Betadine solution on the punctured area.
    2. Delay scab formation by using a warm compress. The scab will contain any infection underneath the skin. The heat will also help heal the wound.
    3. Do not bandage puncture or stab wounds.
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  7. 7
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    1. Assess your dog for the following symptoms:  
      1. Odd posture of the neck
      2. Pawing the mouth
      3. Gasping
      4. Difficulty in breathing
      5. Gagging
      6. White, grey, or blue gum color
      7. Unconsciousness
    2. Check the oral cavity for any obstruction.
    3. Remove the object once you feel it. Avoid causing trauma to the throat.
    4. Perform a modified Heimlich maneuver by pushing up under your dog's belly. Do this if you cannot clear your dog's airway. Note that too much force can injure your dog.
    5. Rush your dog to the nearest vet.
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  8. 8
    Wounded paws
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    1. Dilute betadine in water until it's the color of tea. Apply this on the paw pad wound.
    2. Add Epsom salt to clear the wound of any debris.
    3. Bandage the wound with sterile gauze.
    4. Big Balm can help heal chaffed paw pads.
    5. Help your dog put on his or her booties or socks to prevent further injury.
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  9. 9
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    1. Place your dog on a flat surface and resuscitate. Open the mouth, pull the tongue out, and eliminate any debris.
    2. If your dog is small and in distress, hold him by the hind legs. Swing him to clear away the water from the stomach or lungs. If your dog is too big, position him on his side and press the abdomen upwards.
    3. Rush your dog to the nearest vet.
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  10. 10
    Electric shock
    1. Assess your dog for the following symptoms:  
      1. Burn on the tongue or lips
      2. Difficulty in breathing
      3. Panting
      4. Unconscious
    2. Turn the power supply off.
    3. If your dog is unconscious, use cold water to rinse the mouth.
    4. Use mouth-to-snout rescue breathing and check for a pulse. (There are online guides demonstrating how to perform CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation on your dog.)
    5. Wrap your dog in a blanket. This will prevent shock.
    6. Rush your dog to the vet.
    7. Check your dog's mouth everyday for three weeks.
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  11. 11
    Stings and insect bites
    1. Use tweezers to remove the stinger or gently scrape it away with any plastic card.
    2. Rinse the area with water-baking soda solution.
    3. Apply ice pack (wrapped in a cloth) on the affected area for five minutes.
    4. Treat the area with plain Benadryl. If your dog is below 30 lbs., administer 10 milligrams. For dogs that weigh between 30 and 50 lbs., give about 25 milligrams. If your dog is above 50 lbs., administer 50 milligrams.
    5. Watch out for the following signs of allergic reaction to the sting or bite:  
      1. Difficulty in breathing or moving
      2. Sick
      3. Disoriented
      4. Severe swelling
    6. Rush your dog to the vet.
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  12. 12
    Poisonous and barbed plants
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    1. Rinse the affected area with water-baking soda solution.
    2. Add a teaspoon of Epsom salt in about 2 cups of warm water. Use this to rinse the itchy skin and paws.
    3. Be aware of foxtails because these are barbed plants that can be inhaled by your dog. Observe your dog for the following symptoms:  
      1. Pawing of the eyes, nose, or ears frantically
      2. Rubbing or shaking the head
      3. Blood dripping from the nose
      4. Biting the anal area
      5. Prolonged sneezing
    4. Rush your dog to the nearest vet.
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  13. 13
    Shock from a fight or serious injury
    1. Assess your dog if the pupils are dilated or if there is irregular breathing.
    2. Restrain your dog.
    3. Keep your dog warm and quiet.
    4. Elevate the lower half of the body.
    5. Call the vet immediately.
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  14. 14
    Heat stroke
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    1. Assess your dog for the following symptoms:  
      1. Bright red tongue, eyes, or gums
      2. Generalized weakness
      3. Lethargy
      4. Panting excessively
      5. Difficulty in breathing
      6. Seizures
      7. Elevated body temperature
      8. Collapse
    2. Place your dog inside a cool, shaded area.
    3. Apply a cool wet towel over the dog's body.
    4. Submerge your dog in cool water.
    5. Do not use ice because this can damage your dog's skin.
    6. Take the rectal temperature. If the temperature is above 105 degrees F, rush your dog to the nearest vet.
    7. Let your dog drink water but never force him or her to drink it.
    8. Apply rubbing alcohol on the skin.
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Being prepared to care for your dog in every situation is the best way to demonstrate your love and concern for your four legged friend. Taking the time to learn canine first aid and having the needed supplies on hand is well worth the time, effort and expense. Your dog is in the best of hands, yours.

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Additional Instructions

  1. 1
    You should never induce vomiting when your dog is convulsing, in a seizure, unconscious, in shock, or lethargic.
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  2. 2
    Do not induce vomiting if your dog has ingested an alkali or an acid (cleaners, paint thinner).
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  3. 3
    Refrain from inducing vomiting if your dog has ingested sharp objects, bones, petroleum products (lighter fluid, gasoline), and tranquilizers.
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  4. 4
    Assess the color of the blood first before applying a tourniquet.
    Bright red blood is oxygenated blood. This means that the artery (moves blood away from the heart) is injured. Apply the tourniquet above the wound or on the area closest to the heart. Dark red blood is de-oxygenated blood. This means that a vein (moves blood back to the heart) is injured. Apply the tourniquet on the area away from the heart or below the wound. The tourniquet should be tight enough to impede the bleeding. Loosen the tourniquet every 10-15 minutes for about 5-10 seconds. This will reestablish blood circulation.
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How to Administer Canine First Aid: Immediate Pet Care

Maybe for some people the statement, "Dogs are man's best friend" is somewhat overrated. However, the fact prevails that there are a lot of people who have deep love and admiration for dogs. After all, dogs are also among the greatest species that live in this planet. Suffice to say, if humans need immediate care- first aid, so as the furry friends.

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First Aid for Canines:

  1. 1
    Muzzle or Restrain the furry friend in order to avoid it from struggling, as well as panicking.
    In terms of materials that can be used for muzzling, one could utilize a necktie, cotton bandage, panty hose, anything that is strong enough to muzzle the dog, preferably about 2 feet long. Make a knot know at the center, leaving a huge loop. The loop should be slipped over the nose of the dog, and then tighten it yet firmly, approximately halfway to the nose. Put down the ends and then knot under the chin of the dog. After which, the ends must be brought behind the back, and then tie once more.
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  2. 2
    Transport the furry friend cautiously in order to avoid imposing further injuries.
    When it comes to transporting the canine friend, one could use a piece of plywood, or anything that has hard, sturdy surface, strong enough to hold the dog. In terms of puppies or small dogs, they could be secured in a box. Blankets could also serve as stretchers.
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  3. 3
    It is crucial to perform Artificial Respiration on the dog, especially if it is having difficult time breathing.
    Check as well the mouth of the canine friend to see if there is anything that obstructs the airways. Blood and mucus may cause difficulty of breathing among dogs. Never blow aggressively. Repeat the process every 5 to 6 seconds.
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  4. 4
    CPR or Heart Massage could be done along with Artificial Respiration, especially when the heart of the dog ceased beating.
    The dog must be laid on its side, and then put the hands over the area of the heart, then press it firmly for about one minute. When it comes to small dogs, put 1 hand on every side of the chest, proximal to the elbow. Pressing must be done gently in order to avoid imposing injury to the ribs of the dog.
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  5. 5
    In order to stop external bleeding, it should be staunched gently using bandages, cloth, or the hands.
    Do not clean the dog's wound until it stops bleeding. It's much better to take the furry friend to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Giving the dog antibiotics may be necessary in order to avoid infection.
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  6. 6
    When it comes to internal bleeding due to a fall or if the dog has been hit by a vehicle or any heavy material, the furry friend must be rushed to a veterinarian right away.
    Internal hemorrhage could be very dangerous. Among the signs of internal hemorrhage are: pale gums, swollen abdomen, painful abdomen, blood tinged urine, vomit, stool, nose discharge or saliva.
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  7. 7
    Fractures also need immediate attention.
    Furry friends hold their dislocated or fractured limb in a very peculiar position. There are cases whereby the broken bone protrudes via the skin. Thus, fractured dogs must be taken to a veterinarian right away.
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  • Always have milk of magnesia handy to neutralize ingested acids or bases in your dog's stomach.
  • Canine first aid is only temporary. You should always rush your dog to the vet for proper veterinary attention.
  • Panting is good for cooling down when done in short periods. If it is prolonged, it puts the dog's metabolism in danger.
  • If there is humidity, panting is not enough to cool your dog.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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