Essential First Aid for Dogs
Every owner should know how to give first aid to their dogs.
Dogs can suffer from different wounds or bites, or shock or
cardiac arrest; emergency help should be given before getting to
Wounds and Bleeding
When your dog has a wound or is bleeding, you need to stop
the bleeding by applying compresses. Next, remove any foreign
particles from the wound, clip the hair around the wound and
clean the wound with betadine or chlorhexidine, solutions that
should be present in dog first aid kits. You may also use
If the wound is a burn wound, keep cool compresses on the
wound before cleaning and covering it.
Cover the wound with an antibiotic cream and use some gauze
bandages to cover the wound. Bandages are recommended to prevent
infection which may be caused by the dog licking the area or by
This treatment is sufficient if the wound is superficial;
however if the wound is deeper, apply pressure to stop the
bleeding first. Get immediate help; some sutures may be needed.
A fracture may be easily identified; before acting
on the fracture make sure to control the bleeding or shock, as
the case may be. Immobilize the joints above and below the
fracture. Don’t push bones back and if the wound is open, cover
it with sterile bandages. Go to the vet.
First Aid for a Dog Bite
If the dog bite is caused by another
dog, the bite should be treated like a wound.
In case the bite is provoked by a snake, go to the vet
immediately. Keep the area immobilized; making sure that it is
below heart level, to prevent the spreading of the venom. If the
bite is on the limbs you may use a bandage above the wound, so
that the venom doesn’t spread. Don’t wash the area, as this may
help the absorption of the venom. Don’t try to suck out the
venom; this may hurt you.
Keep your calm and go to the vet.
Dog in Shock
Shocks are caused by lack of oxygen, trauma,
burns, bites or poisoning. You will notice symptoms including
paleness, weak pulse, cold limbs, rapid and shallow breathing,
confusion, low body temperature or dilated pupils.
If the dog is bleeding, keep the bleeding under control.
Keep calm and use reassuring words; dogs in shock are scared
and may even bite you. You may place a muzzle on, but supervise
your dog and remove it if he has breathing difficulties or wants
Make sure to keep your dog warm. Go to the vet immediately.
There are a lot of things that may be
poisonous to dogs: plants, antifreeze, rat poison or chocolate.
As first aid, try to make your dog vomit. Use a few drops of 3%
solution of hydroxide peroxide dilated in water; use a syringe
to make your dog ingest the solution. Take your pet to the vet
and he will give an antidote or medicine to absorb the poison in
your dog’s system.
Breathing and CPR
Before performing CPR or breathing, make
sure that the airways of the dog are not obstructed. See if
there are any signs of breathing.
If the dog is not breathing, breathe into his nostrils and
cover the mouth. If the air gets into the lungs, you will notice
chest growth. Administrate 8 to 10 breaths per minute.
CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is needed when the dog
doesn’t have a pulse. Use your hand heel to apply firm
compressions on your dog’s chest. Apply 80 to 120 compressions
per minute. CPR may be accompanied by breathing help, so it’s
recommended that two people perform the resuscitation.
Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke
Keep the dog in the shade,
make sure he gets rest. Offer him water and try to cool his body
by using cold compresses. You may also use ice wrapped in a
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