10 Pet First Aid Tips Every Dog Owner Should Know

10 Pet First Aid Tips Every Dog Owner Should Know

Pet first aid is an essential part of caring for your beloved canine. While it’s a situation that no pet parent wants to be in, it’s vital to know what to do should your dog ever need urgent assistance. We’re sharing some of the basic steps involved, related a range of common scenarios, read on to find out more. 

1. Keep a fully stocked, pet first aid kit

Some simple preparation can go a long way and given how much mischief we know our canine companions are capable of getting up to, accidents can spring up out of the blue. If you’re venturing further afield for a walk or even taking a holiday with your dog in tow, this can be a great way to anticipate any accidents. We’ve compiled a list of essentials, take a look and create your own pet-friendly first aid kit.  

  • Bandages
  • Wound wash
  • Cotton wool
  • Tweezers – and tick tweezers, too!
  • Wound dressing
  • Vinyl gloves
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Blunt ended scissors
  • Self-adhesive tape
  • Foil blanket

2. Bleeding claws

If you’ve clipped your dog’s nails too far up, you’ll need to tend to any bleeding with an absorbent dressing and secure with a bandage – avoid doing so too tightly.  

3. Know the basics of pet CPR

If your dog ends up in a situation where resuscitation is needed, knowing how to respond could be lifesaving. Pet CPR follows some of the same steps as the human practice, knowing how to give a dog CPR would benefit all pet parents. Owners could even learn more about pet CPR by finding local dog first aid courses. The basic steps are as follows: 

  • Always check for a heartbeat before beginning CPR and place your dog on its right side. 
  • Compress the chest between 100-120 times per minute – for a small dog, compress with one hand, and for bigger dogs, interlock your arms between your elbows and use both hands.  
  • Compressions should follow the rhythm of the song ‘Staying Alive’. 
  • Compression also depends on dog size – for a large dog, compress the chest an inch and a half deep, and for small dogs, compress at half an inch. 
  • Alternate 30 compressions with 2 rescue breaths – a rescue breath involves covering the dog’s mouth and blowing on their nose creating a seal over the nostrils with your mouth. Hold the tongue out of the way and keep the muzzle together.  
  • If you can’t create a seal over the nostrils, cover the sides of them with your fingers and then blow air into them. During a rescue breath, the dog’s chest should rise when you breathe in. 

4. Know the signs of heatstroke

Any dog can fall victim to heatstroke in extreme weather conditions and keeping the space your dog occupies ventilated and airy is key, while also encouraging them to stay hydrated. Common signs of heatstroke in dogs include:  

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of coordination
  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Fast heartbeat

What to do if your dog has heatstroke

Take your dog out of the heat into a cool space, give it plenty of water and encourage drinking. You could also soak a towel in cool water and place it over the dog. If symptoms don’t ease, call a vet.  

5. Treating burns

If your dog experiences a burn, cool the area with water for a minimum of 10 minutes, and avoid applying bandages that may stick to the affected area.

6. Knowing the signs of shock

A dog can go into shock for a variety of reasons, from excessive dehydration to vomiting & diarrhoea or internal injury. Other causes include poisoning (see below), blood thinners, and high stomach pressure, and all of these can pose serious health risks. Signs of shock to look out for include  

  • Weak pulse
  • Confusion
  • Hyperventilating
  • Lethargy
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pale skin/gums
  • Collapse
  • Vomiting/trying to vomit

7. Choking: when to intervene

Unless your dog is limp or unconscious, you should avoid intervening if they appear to be choking as their airways tend to clear effectively by themselves through coughing.  

8. If your dog has ingested a poisonous substance

Cases of mystery ‘toxins’ have affected thousands of dogs in the past couple of years, typically affecting regional walking routes, resulting in handfuls of cases. Ingesting a poisonous substance or toxin is an emergency and will require treatment from a vet, and owners should not attempt CPR in these situations to reduce the risk of further contamination. 

9. Suspected broken bones

If you think your dog nay have a broken bone, keeping them as calm and still as possible is the first step. Ahead of vet treatment, create a splint using everyday objects such as toilet roll tubes or bubble wrap. 

10. Consider risks around you

One of the key ways to manage each of the emergencies outlined above is to consider the risks around your dog just as you would with a child — check the surroundings that your dog is playing in or exploring, and remain vigilant.  

We all know how curious our pooches can be, so being prepared for any adventures that result in a bash or scrape is an essential skill for dog owners. Keep your dog feeling and looking great all of the time with the muddy paw grooming and spa treatments , contact your local salon to make an appointment today.