[image credited to www.homeremediesfordogs.org]

What is first aid?

First aid is emergency care that is administered before professional medical aid can be obtained. It is administered immediately after the injury or accident has occured, at the location where it occurs.

 As a pet owner, the last thing you want is for your beloved pet to be injured or get into an accident. But if anything untoward happens, what do you do? Here are some ways to handle pet emergencies.

 Bite wounds and bleeding

If your dog is not bleeding profusely:

  • Clean and flush the wound with saline, if available. If you do not have saline on hand, you may use clean water as well.
  • Keep all dirt and hair out of the wound to prevent contamination.
  • If the wound is deep and there is an object visibly protruding from it, do not attempt to remove it as this may cause profuse bleeding.
  • Cover the wound with sterile dressing to prevent contamination and bring your dog to the vet immediately.

If the dog is bleeding profusely:

  • Use sterile bandages and gauze to apply pressure on the wound.
  • Instead of constantly replacing dressing, apply more dressing on top of the old one and keep applying pressure.
  • Lifting the gauze up may break clots that have formed on the wound to stop the bleeding.
  • Bring the dog to the vet immediately to have the wound cleaned and stitched if necessary.

The use of a tourniquet is not recommended as it is a complex procedure that should be attempted by trained medical professionals.

 Bee and wasp stings

Dogs like to explore with their mouths and noses. Hence they are most likely to suffer from stings on their face, in the mouth and sometimes, on the foot. Wasp stings generally cause more pain and swelling. A bee sting on the other hand leaves an embedded stinger in the skin. Here’s what you should do if you suspect your canine friend has been stung:

  • Talk to your dog to calm him or her down.
  • If the stinger is visible, scrape it off using a stiff card or your fingernail.
  • Do not use a pair of tweezers as it may cause the stinger to release more venom.
  • Apply ice pack to relieve the stinging and itching.

Some dogs are highly sensitive and allergic to stings. If there are signs of vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, excessive swelling or difficulty in breathing, head to the vet immediately. If your dog stops breathing, perform mouth to nose resuscitation and chest compression (CPR) before bringing it to the vet. If swelling or discomfort persists after a few days, call your vet.

Broken or fractured bones

It is not an easy task for someone with an untrained eye to spot a broken bone or fracture. There are various causes of broken bones, such as road accidents, falling from a high place, fighting with another animal or even excessive running. Some symptoms include:

  • Appearance of an extra “joint” in affected area
  • Being in a constant state of shock and confusion
  • Growling when touched or approached
  • Inability to open or close mouth properly
  • Limping
  • Refusal to walk
  • Swelling or bleeding around the affected area
  • Whining in pain

If you dog has had an accident or if you suspect that your dog has broken his bones, the best thing to do is to bring it to the vet. He or she will be able to take an X-ray to check if there are any broken bones and treat your canine companion immediately. Follow these steps to transport your dog to the vet safely:

  • Keep the dog’s back straight while travelling
  • Use a flat, sturdy surface as a make-shift stretcher. Lay the dog down on its side. A large towel may also be used, but all four corners have to be held taut during transportation.
  • If you are unable to find a flat surface, scoop the dog up gently from the underside with both hands, keeping his back as straight as possible.
  • Do not lift the dog up by its front legs.