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First Aid for Dogs

While no pet owner wants to think about an emergency, accidents are likely to happen at one point or another. Being well-informed and prepared are the best ways to give your dog the best chance for a full and speedy recovery. First aid can be life-saving when it is the initial treatment administered in an emergency situation.

Emergency Protocol

These are four steps to take hen responding to an emergency situation involving your pet:

  1. Stay Calm- Avoid panicking, as it will only make things harder. Do your best to breathe normally and think clearly.
  2. Assess the Scenario- Assess the situation in front of your and decide what to do next.
  3. Administer First Aid- Apply first aid as needed--this will be discussed further in the sections below.
  4. Take Your Pet to the Veterinarian- After you've stabilized the situation as best as you can, contact your vet immediately and begin transporting your pet to the office.

Shock Assessment

Shock is the body's response to trauma or other serious injury, and is characterized by a quick drop in blood pressure and unresponsiveness. Other symptoms of shock includ vomiting, shaking, rapid breathing and pale lips and gums. If you witness these indicators, try to keep your dog as still and calm as possible, Cover your pet with a warm blanket to conserve body temperature and offer some security. Remeber, pets that in pain can behave differently than usual. Even well-trained animals can bite out of panic, fear and pain. Always take steps to keep yourself safe in an emergency situation.

Broken Limbs

If your dog suffers a broken bone, slide a clean towel under the affected limb. If the break is "open" and you can see the bone, cover the srea with a clean gauze patch. If the break is closed, you don't need to cover it. In both cases, keep your dog as still and flat as possible, supporting the broken limb with a folded towel, while transporting your pet to the vet's office. 

Burns, Cuts, Heatstroke

If your dog has suffered a burn, cool the area quickly with water and cover it with a damp, cool towel before taking your pet to the hospital. If you pet was burned with a chemical, flush the affected area with cool water for 15 minutes before transporting your pet to the vet's office. Bleeding cuts should be cleaning with gresh water and covered with a gauze pad. Get your dog to the vet's office as soon as possible--the longer you wait, the greater the risk of infection becomes. Hearstroke is common during the deep summer months when it is hottest outdoors. It's also likely to occur when pets are left outdoors without adequate hydration or ventilation. Signs of haetstroke include exvessive panting, drooling, diarrhea and vomiting, and lethargy. Take immediate steps to cool your dog down--bring them to a cooler area, offer fresh water and soak your pet with cool, damp towels. Call your bet for follow-up instructions.