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According to the Blue Cross for pets, hundreds of your furry family additions are being injured and even killed in accidents every year – accidents that could have been prevented and injuries that could have been avoided with a little common sense and some basic dog first aid.
Before you even bring a pooch home for the first time you should be aware of what to do in the case of an emergency, much in the same way as you would if you were having a bunch of kids over at your house. You’d know how to use a plaster, where to place ice to prevent bruising, and how to run burns under the cold tap to ensure it doesn’t blister.
A scared and injured pup will be an unpredictable one and if you don’t know to do or how to react, it could end up being more than just the dog who gets injured.
Here are 5 first aid tips for dogs to ensure that you are fully prepared should your pet get involved in an accident:
1 – Doggy First Aid Kit
You should have a first aid kit in your home to deal with any accidents that happen for your kids and even yourself. You should also have a doggy first aid kit too – a few things to hand to help in an emergency.
You can use many of the same things as you would in a human first aid kit – bandages, dressings, surgical sticky tape, cotton wool, sterile gauze, gloves – latex and thick gardening gloves (to prevent against bites), a soft, fluffy towel, and maybe even one of those dog collars that make them look funny but stop them from getting to any bad injuries.
You may also want to have a muzzle to hand too, just in case. You should definitely add a spare lead and collar. This is a great tip for when someone else’s dog has an accident too, or you find a stray dog.
2 – Doggy Resuscitation (CPR)
Do you know what the recovery position is for humans, right? You should know how to deal with a pooch that needs urgent medical attention too if you want to be a good dog owner.
Basic resuscitation will involve placing your dog on its side before checking the breathing – feel for air coming out of their mouth and nose and watching their chest to see if it expands and contracts with natural breathing. If your pooch isn’t breathing, open the mouth (carefully) and make sure there is nothing obstructing the airways. It might be worth wearing thick gloves at this point in case the dog wakes up and snaps it mouth shut.
If you can’t see anything obstructing your dogs airways then it is time to do CPR.
First of all, hold your dogs mouth closed and blow into your dogs nose, once every 3 seconds for a minute.
If you still can’t feel a heartbeat, then press on your dogs chest just behind the front legs, firmly, but not too hard.
For every 15 compressions, blow twice into your dogs nose.
Hopefully you will feel a heartbeat and your dog will start breathing for themselves again.
3 – Doggy Burns
If your pet has been scalded by hot water or has burnt themselves on a candle / fire / etc. you need to take the same approach as you would with your kids – run the affected area under cold water for as long as possible.
You shouldn’t put any cream or anything on the wound because this could irritate the dog’s skin, but if it is a bad scald or burn, you will want to seek medical attention from your vet. If you’re in any doubt, make sure you ring for some advice either way.
4 – Doggy Bleeding
If your pooch is injured and the wound is bleeding, you should take the same approach as you would with your kids and apply a bandage or dressing, elevating the wound to try and stem the flow of blood.
Do not attach a plaster to the wound as this will rip the hair out when you take it off. If you can, use a surgical, sterile dressing with a bandage and affix surgical tape to the dressing rather than the dog’s fur or skin itself.
If the bleeding doesn’t stop or is coming thick and fast, you should seek medical attention.
5 – Doggy Road Accidents
These are the worst accidents and sadly, with the speed that some dogs run at, we’ve all faced the thought of our pooch coming into a direct line with oncoming traffic.
If your dog has somehow managed to break free and has been hit by a car, do not move the animal in case you make matters worse. Always call your vet first before you take any other action, but try to cover the pet to keep it warm. You will be advised on the best course of action to take by your vet, and they will be able to assess the situation with the information you give them over the phone.
Knowing basic dog first aid is a sure fire way of keeping you and your pet healthy and happy. As much as we’d love to think that we prevent accidents as much as possible, sometimes they are caused by factors completely out of our control so by being prepared, you have the better chance of taking the right action should anything bad happen.
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