Dogs are very curious creatures. They often lick or chew on objects that catch their interests, even if the item is unfamiliar. It’s also common for dogs to get themselves in unsafe situations like running out into the street since they don’t understand the dangers of doing so. If you’re a dog owner, you understand that the inquisitive nature of dogs can lead to accidents and emergency scenarios, whether at home or while you’re out for walks. As such, it’s best for you to stay vigilant of possible dangers and to be ready for when bad things do happen..
Although the best thing to do in such incidents is to get your pet immediate veterinary care, your quick response could prevent their injuries from worsening. When you’re far from a veterinary clinic, it could even save their lives. That’s why it’s important to learn different first aid techniques for pets.
To ensure you are prepared for anything, here are some first aid procedures you can administer in case of canine emergencies.
Stop External Bleeding
Pets can get injured due to an accident or from playing roughly with another animal. At times, they can become wounded and bleed. Fortunately, you can address this quickly. The first thing you need to do is find the site of the injury. Understand that your dog may react aggressively when you inspect their wound because they’re in pain, so you need someone to hold your pet steady while you apply first aid.
Once you have located the source of the bleeding, press a thick clean gauze pad over it. Apply consistent pressure until the blood clots. It can take a while for the blood to clot so it’s best to hold the gauze in place for at least a couple of minutes before lifting the covering to check if the bleeding has stopped.
If your dog has severe blood loss from their legs, use a thin strip of gauze to create a tourniquet between the wounded appendage and the rest of the body. This compresses the area where the wound is and limits blood flow as severe blood loss can be fatal for any pet. In case you don’t have the appropriate supplies to do this, you can use your dog’s customizable branded dog bandanas or a large clean handkerchief as a bandage until you can bring your pet to a veterinarian.
Learn to Muzzle Your Pet
If they’re scared or in pain, even the gentlest dogs could bite you. So before performing first aid such as treating wounds, it’s recommended to put a muzzle on pets. The exceptions to this rule are if your pet has difficulty breathing or is likely to vomit. Muzzling also isn’t good for overheating dogs because they need to pant to cool down.
In case you don’t have a muzzle, you can create a makeshift one so you can safely help your injured canine. You can use a scarf or a dog leash made of soft materials as an improvised muzzle. To start, make a loop out of the material and stand behind your dog. Then, calmly and swiftly slide the loop over your pup’s snout. Secure the knot on top of the snout to keep their mouth closed. Tie another knot under your dog’s chin and then take the ends to the back of their ears. Secure the ends with a slipknot or make a bow behind your pet’s ears.
Recognize Signs of Choking
Choking is common among dogs and can be life-threatening. This can happen at any time but is more likely to happen while they’re playing with small objects. Make sure to only give your pet durable dog toys that won’t tear easily or contain parts that can potentially be a choking hazard. Also, it’s important to recognize signs of choking and to act fast to save your pup. So, remember to watch out for these symptoms:
- Having difficulty breathing
- Producing choking sounds
- Coughing excessively
- Pawing their mouth and nose
- Their lips or tongue turning blue
If you suspect your pet is choking, try and look into their mouth and see if there are any blockages. Be very cautious while doing this because dogs can panic and accidentally bite you. In case you see something that’s obstructing your pet’s airway, carefully remove it using long tweezers or tongs. However, be very careful not to push the object further into their throat. Even if you’ve managed to dislodge the obstruction, take your pet to the veterinarian so you can make sure they’re healthy.
Wash Exposed Skin Gently
Pets are also likely to get exposed to toxic substances that can burn or irritate their skin. As a precaution, store medication and products containing hazardous chemicals in a locked cupboard or somewhere your dog won’t access them.
If you believe your pet’s skin was in contact with a toxic product like bleach or other cleaning solutions, follow the instructions on the product label for what you need to do if a human was exposed to the chemicals. Typically, the information would also apply to your dog. Alternatively, gently wash their fur or skin with a mild shampoo and water. Rinse well and dry them using a soft towel.
In case your dog gets into an accident and sustains an injury, the best solution is to take them to the veterinarian for immediate treatment. However, learning some pet first aid techniques could be valuable so make sure that you and your human family members know what to do during different emergencies. Your immediate action can be the very thing that could save your beloved canine’s life.