First Aid for Dogs

How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


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©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 6b

When a dog is choking on a foreign object, it needs help at once. The harder it tries to breathe, the more panicky it becomes. Your goal in this emergency situation is to open the dog’s airway without being bitten.

The signs that a dog is choking include pawing at the mouth, a pale or blue tongue, obvious distress, or unconsciousness. If the dog is unconscious and you believe a foreign object is present, you must open the airway before giving the dog cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If the dog cannot breathe, efforts to revive it will be fruitless.

While all this sounds quite overwhelming, you can help a choking or unconscious dog by following the basic tips outlined below. Your efforts may save a dog’s life!

Step 1: Restrain the dog if necessary.

Step 1a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 2: Clear the airway.

Step 2a: Open the dog’s mouth carefully by grasping the upper jaw with one hand over the muzzle.

Step 2b: Press the dog’s lips over the upper teeth by pressing your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other so that the lips are between the dog’s teeth and your fingers. Apply firm pressure to force the mouth open.

Step 2c: If you can see the object, try to remove it with your fingers.

Step 2d: If you cannot remove the object and the dog is small enough, pick it up by grasping its back legs; turn it upside down and shake vigorously. Slapping its back while shaking may help to dislodge the object.

Step 2e: If you cannot remove the object and the dog is too large to pick up, place the dog on its side on the floor. Place your hand just behind the rib cage and press down and slightly forward quickly and firmly. Release. Repeat rapidly several times until the object is expelled.

Step 3: If you cannot dislodge the object, transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Step 4: If you dislodge the object and the dog is not breathing, feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the middle of its chest.

Step 5: If the dog’s heart is not beating, proceed to Step 6. If it is, perform artificial respiration.

Step 5a: Turn the dog on its side.

Step 5b: Extend the dog’s head and neck. Hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Administer 1 breath every 3 to 5 seconds. Take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise.

Step 5c: After 10 seconds, stop. Watch the chest for movement to indicate the dog is breathing on its own.

Step 5d: If the dog is not breathing, continue artificial respiration.

Step 6: If the heart is not beating, perform CPR.

CPR for Dogs Weighing up to 45 Pounds

Step 6a: Turn the dog on its back.

Step 6b: Kneel down at the head of the dog.

Step 6c: Clasp your hands over the dog’s chest with your palms resting on either side of its chest.

Step 6d: Compress your palms on the chest firmly for a count of “2,” and release for a count of “1.” Moderate pressure is required. Repeat about 60 to 90 times per minute.

Step 6e: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Blow for 3 seconds, take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the dog’s chest rise. Try to repeat this 10 to 20 times per minute. As a general rule, use a CPR ratio of about 5 heart compressions to 1 breath of air.

Step 6f: After 1 minute, stop. Look at the chest for breathing movement, and feel for a heartbeat by placing fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the center of its chest.

Step 6g: If the dog’s heart is not beating, continue CPR. If the heart starts beating, but the dog is still not breathing, return to Step 5.

CPR for Dogs Weighing More Than 45 Pounds

Step 6a: Turn the dog on its side.

Step 6b: Place the palm of your hand in the middle of the dog’s chest.

Step 6c: Press for a count of “2,” and release for a count of “1.” Firm pressure is required. Repeat about 60 to 90 times per minute.

Step 6d: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Blow for 3 seconds, take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise. Try to repeat this 10 to 20 times per minute.

Step 6e: After 1 minute, stop. Look at the chest for breathing movement, and feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the center of its chest.

Step 6f: If the dog’s heart is not beating, continue CPR. If the heart starts beating but the dog is still not breathing, return to Step 5.

Step 7: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian. CPR or artificial respiration should be continued on the way to the veterinarian or until dog is breathing and its heart is beating without assistance.

Witnessing a seizure can be a scary thing, but don’t panic. Use the tips on the next page to help you if your pet experiences convulsions or seizures.

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 2

A convulsion or seizure is the result of constant electrical firing of the muscles of the body from the brain. Convulsions are rarely fatal, and most last only a few minutes. A typical seizure is then followed by 15 minutes to a half hour of recovery time, during which period the dog may be dazed and confused.

Not all seizures are due to epilepsy. Some are caused by lead or other poisons, liver diseases, and even brain tumors. Seizures or convulsions should never be taken lightly. The problem should be discussed with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

The most important thing to do if your dog is experiencing a seizure is to protect it from self-injury. Be patient, don’t panic, and use the following tips to provide proper care.

Step 1: DO NOT place your fingers or any object in the dog’s mouth.

Step 2: Pull the dog away from walls and furniture to prevent self-injury.

Step 3: Wrap the dog in a blanket to help protect it from injury.

Step 4: When the seizure has stopped, contact your veterinarian for further instructions.

Step 5: If the seizure does not stop within 10 minutes or if the dog comes out of the seizure and goes into another one within an hour, transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

A common ailment among most pets, diarrhea can become a serious problem if not treated properly. Turn to the next section for helpful tips

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog

Diarrhea is a commonly encountered problem that occurs when food is passed through a dog‘s intestine too rapidly. It can be caused by allergies, milk, parasites, spoiled food, or bacterial infection. There are also more serious causes such as tumors; viral infections; and diseases of the liver, pancreas, and kidney.

Be sure to seek professional help if blood, severe depression, or abdominal pain are present in your pet. Otherwise, use the following suggestions to help ease a dog’s discomfort.

Step 1: Remove all food for 12 to 24 hours. Water is important to prevent dehydration in severe diarrhea. It should not be removed.

Step 2: If blood appears or if diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours, contact the veterinarian. He or she will probably want to see a stool sample.

Step 3: After at least 12 hours, treat the dog by feeding it a bland diet such as boiled skinless chicken and rice (50:50 mixture). When stools begin to form, slowly phase back to regular diet. Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol can be safely used in dogs. Call your veterinarian for the correct dosage for your pet.

When people think of animal bites, they usually think of a human being bit by a dog. But dogs can also be the victims of bites from dogs or other animals lurking in the backyard. Check the next section for first-aid tips when your dog experiences an animal bite.

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


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When a dog gets into a fight with another dog, a cat, or a wild animal, damage can occur to both the skin and the underlying tissue. Many dogfights can be avoided by not permitting your dog to run loose and by keeping it on a leash when you walk it. The dog should also be trained to obey your commands.

If your dog does get into a fight, do not try to break it up with your bare hands. A fighting dog will bite anything in its way, including you. Pull your leashed dog out of harm’s way or use a long stick. After the fight is over, examine your dog carefully for hidden wounds. You’ll often find punctures around the neck area and on the legs. Look through the hair carefully to find bloodstains, which would indicate the skin has been punctured.

It is important to determine if the biting animal has been inoculated against rabies. If the biter is a wild animal such as a skunk or raccoon, efforts should be made to destroy it so the brain can be examined for rabies. Never touch the wild animal with your bare hands, even after it has been killed. Wear gloves or wrap the body in a blanket. Your veterinarian will take care of the rabies examination.

To provide proper care to a dog suffering from an animal bite, use the following tips.

Step 1: Restrain the dog if necessary.

Step 1a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 1b: Slip a leash around the dog’s neck, then place the leash around a fixed object. Pull the dog against this object and tie the leash so the dog cannot move its head.

Step 1c: Muzzle the dog to protect yourself.

Step 2: Clip the hair around the wound.

Step 3: Flush the wound thoroughly with clean water. Avoid home antiseptics, which may cause pain when applied.

Step 4: Examine the wound. If the tissue under the wound appears to pass by when you move the skin, the wound will probably require stitches.

Step 5: DO NOT bandage. Allow the wound to drain unless there is excessive bleeding. If the wound does bleed excessively, follow these steps:

Step 5a: Cover wound with clean cloth, sterile dressing, or sanitary napkin.

Step 5b: Place your hand over the dressing and press firmly.

Step 5c: Keep pressure on the dressing to stop the bleeding.

Step 5d: If blood soaks through the dressing, DO NOT remove it. Apply more dressing and continue to apply pressure until the bleeding stops.

Step 6: If the wound is deep enough to require stitches, transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Step 7: Be sure to contact your veterinarian if your dog is not current on its rabies vaccination.

Dogs are natural swimmers, but situations can occur where a dog swims too far and starts drowning. Turn to the next section to find out how to best handle this type of emergency.

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 1a
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Dogs are naturally good swimmers for short distances, but they can get into trouble. Sometimes they get too far from the shore and tire trying to swim back, or they fall into a swimming pool and cannot get up the steep sides.

Always protect yourself when trying to rescue a drowning dog. An extra few moments of preparation can save two lives — yours and the dog’s. Also be sure to watch for signs of shock, which include pale or white gums, a rapid heartbeat, or rapid breathing. Use the following tips when rescuing a drowning dog.

Step 1: Rescue the dog.

Step 1a: Holding the attached rope, throw a life preserver toward the dog. OR

Step 1b: Try to hook the dog’s collar with a pole. OR

Step 1c: Row out to the dog in a boat. OR

Step 1d: As a last resort, swim to the dog. Protect yourself. Bring something for the dog to cling to or climb on and be pulled to shore.

Step 2: Drain the dog’s lungs.

Step 2a: If you can lift the dog, grasp the rear legs and hold the animal upside down for 15 to 20 seconds. Give 3 or 4 downward shakes to help drain fluid from its lungs.

Step 2b: If you cannot lift the dog, place it on a sloping surface with its head low to facilitate drainage.

Step 3: If the dog is not breathing, feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the middle of its chest.

Step 4: If the heart is not beating, proceed to Step 5. If it is, perform artificial respiration.

Step 4a: Turn the dog on its side.

Step 4b: Extend the dog’s head and neck. Hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Administer 1 breath every 3 to 5 seconds. Take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise.

Step 4c: After 10 seconds, stop. Watch the dog’s chest for movement to indicate it is breathing on its own.

Step 4d: If the dog is not breathing, continue artificial respiration.

Step 5: If the heart is not beating, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

CPR for Dogs Weighing up to 45 Pounds

Step 5a: Turn the dog on its back.

Step 5b: Kneel down at the head of the dog.

Step 5c: Clasp your hands over the dog’s chest with your palms resting on either side of its chest.

Step 5d: Compress your palms on the chest firmly for a count of “2,” and release for a count of “1.” Moderate pressure is required. Repeat about 60 to 90 times per minute.

Step 5e: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Blow for 3 seconds, take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the dog’s chest rise. Try to repeat this 10 to 20 times per minute. As a general rule, use a CPR ratio of about 5 heart compressions to 1 breath of air.

Step 5f: After 1 minute, stop. Look at the chest for breathing movement, and feel for a heartbeat by placing fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the center of its chest.

Step 5g: If the dog’s heart is not beating, continue CPR. If the heart starts beating, but the dog is still not breathing, return to Step 4.

CPR for Dogs Weighing More Than 45 Pounds

Step 5a: Turn the dog on its side.

Step 5b: Place the palm of your hand in the middle of the dog’s chest.

Step 5c: Press for a count of “2,” and release for a count of “1.” Firm pressure is required. Repeat about 60 to 90 times per minute.

Step 5d: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Blow for 3 seconds, take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise. Try to repeat this 10 to 20 times per minute.

Step 5e: After 1 minute, stop. Look at the chest for breathing movement, and feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the center of its chest.

Step 5f: If the dog’s heart is not beating, continue CPR. If the heart starts beating but the dog is still not breathing, return to Step 4.

Step 6: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian. CPR or artificial respiration should be continued until the dog is breathing and its heart is beating without assistance.

Puppies love to chew — and they rarely discriminate between what they chew and what they avoid. If your puppy gets a hold of an electrical cord, you may be faced with treating electrical shock. Check the next section for tips on dealing with this type of pet emergency.

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


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©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 4b

Grown dogs are seldom victims of electrical shock. But puppies are naturally curious and will chew almost anything, including electrical cords. If the insulation is punctured and the mouth comes in contact with both wires, the dog will receive a shock and may be unable to release the cord.

Electrocution can cause severe heart damage and fluid accumulation in the lungs. Strong shock can stop the heart, and CPR will need to be performed immediately to start the heart beating again. In addition, the dog’s mouth will likely be burned from contact with the bare wires. Be sure to watch for signs of shock, which include pale or white gums, a rapid heartbeat, or rapid breathing.

To provide the proper care for your pet who is suffering from electrical shock, use the following tips.

Step 1: If the dog still has the electrical cord in its mouth, DO NOT touch the dog. First remove the plug from its outlet.

Step 2: If the dog is unconscious, check for breathing. If the dog is conscious and breathing, proceed to Step 6. If the dog is not breathing, feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the elbow in the middle of its chest.

Step 3: If the heart is not beating, proceed to Step 4. If it is, perform artificial respiration.

Step 3a: Turn the dog on its side, and extend its head and neck.

Step 3b: Hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Administer 1 breath every 3 to 5 seconds. Take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise.

Step 3c: After 10 seconds, stop. Watch the dog’s chest for movement to indicate the dog is breathing on its own.

Step 3d: If the dog is not breathing, continue artificial respiration.

Step 4: If the heart is not beating, perform CPR.

CPR for Dogs Weighing up to 45 Pounds

Step 4a: Turn the dog on its back.

Step 4b: Kneel down at the head of the dog.

Step 4c: Clasp your hands over the dog’s chest with your palms resting on either side of its chest.

Step 4d: Compress your palms on the chest firmly for a count of “2,” and release for a count of “1.” Moderate pressure is required. Repeat about 60 to 90 times per minute.

Step 4e: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Blow for 3 seconds, take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the dog’s chest rise. Try to repeat this 10 to 20 times per minute. As a general rule, use a CPR ratio of about 5 heart compressions to 1 breath of air.

Step 4f: After 1 minute, stop. Look at the chest for breathing movement, and feel for a heartbeat by placing fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the center of its chest.

Step 4g: If the dog’s heart is not beating, continue CPR. If the heart starts beating, but the dog is still not breathing, return to Step 3.

CPR for Dogs Weighing More Than 45 Pounds

Step 4a: Turn the dog on its side.

Step 4b: Place the palm of your hand in the middle of the dog’s chest.

Step 4c: Press for a count of “2,” and release for a count of “1.” Firm pressure is required. Repeat about 60 to 90 times per minute.

Step 4d: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Blow for 3 seconds, take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise. Try to repeat this 10 to 20 times per minute.

Step 4e: After 1 minute, stop. Look at the chest for breathing movement, and feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the center of its chest.

Step 4f: If the dog’s heart is not beating, continue CPR. If the heart starts beating but the dog is still not breathing, return to Step 3.

Step 5: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian. CPR or artificial respiration should be continued until the dog is breathing and its heart is beating without assistance.

Step 6: If the dog’s mouth or lips are burned (bright red), swab them gently with 3% hydrogen peroxide.

Step 7: To conserve body heat, wrap the dog in a blanket or jacket.

Just like humans, dogs often have problems with their eyes due to dust, allergies, and other culprits. See the next page for tips on dealing with eye injuries.

 

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


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Irritation of the eye in a dog can be caused by allergies, dust and dirt, lashes growing inward, fights, and more. It can result in a mild inflammation of the tissue around the eye (conjunctivitis) or severe damage to the cornea.

When examining a dog’s eye, it is important to know that dogs have a third eyelid located in the corner of the eye nearest the nose. This third eyelid can completely cover the eyeball and sometimes gives the appearance that part of the eye is gone.

In addition to being a protective mechanism, the third eyelid can indicate that something is wrong with the eye. If it is raised and looks red, the eye is inflamed. Do not try to touch or manipulate this eyelid.

Other indications that a dog’s eye is irritated are squinting and rubbing and pawing at the eye. Your first priority is to prevent your pet from further injuring itself since this often causes more severe damage than the original irritation. Use the following tips to treat your dog’s eye injuries.

Object in the Eye

Step 1: DO NOT try to remove the object.

Step 2: Restrain the dog if necessary.

Step 2a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 3: Prevent self-injury to the eye.

Step 3a: Dewclaws (if present) should be bandaged on the front paw on the same side as the affected eye.

Step 3b: For small dogs, cut a large piece of cardboard into an Elizabethan-type collar.

Step 3c: For larger dogs, cut the bottom from a plastic bucket, fit the bucket over the dog’s head, and hold it in place by tying it to the dog’s collar.

Step 4: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Scratched or Irritated Eye

The typical signs of a scratched or irritated eye include squinting; rubbing or pawing at the eyes; or thick discharge or redness in the eye.

Step 1: Restrain the dog if necessary.

Step 1a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 2: Flush the dog’s eye thoroughly with saline solution or plain water.

Step 3: Prevent self-injury to the eye.

Step 3a: Dewclaws (if present) should be bandaged on the front paw on the same side as the affected eye.

Step 3b: For small dogs, cut a large piece of cardboard into an Elizabethan-type collar.

Step 3c: For larger dogs, cut the bottom from a plastic bucket, fit the bucket over the dog’s head, and hold it in place by tying it to the dog’s collar.

Step 4: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

A dog can be sensitive to extreme cold, especially its ears and the tip of its tail. If you suspect your pet is suffering from frostbite, take note of the first-aid tips on the next page.

 

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 2

When a dog is exposed to freezing temperatures for a long period of time, there is always the possibility of frostbite. The signs of frostbite include pain, pale skin in early stages, and red or black skin in advanced stages.

The areas most likely to be frostbitten are those that have little or no hair and the ears and tail tip, which have a limited blood supply. Occasionally, if damage from frostbite is severe, part of the tail or ear tips may actually fall off. Professional attention should be sought before this happens. To provide proper care to a dog suffering from frostbite, use the following tips.

Step 1: Restrain the dog if necessary.

Step 1a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 1b: Slip a leash around the dog’s neck, then place the leash around a fixed object. Pull the dog against this object and tie the leash so the dog cannot move its head.

Step 1c: Muzzle the dog to protect yourself, if necessary.

Step 2: Warm the area with moist towels. The water temperature should be warm but not hot (75 degrees Fahrenheit/24 degrees Celsius). DO NOT use ointment.

Step 3: If the skin turns dark, transport the dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Just as exposure to extreme cold can be harmful to your pet, so, too, can extreme heat. Check the next section to learn how to treat a dog that has heatstroke.

 

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


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Heatstroke is caused by the inability of the body to maintain its normal temperature because of the environmental heat. It is often caused by keeping a dog in a locked car parked in the sun or by keeping it in any hot area without adequate ventilation.

The signs of heatstroke are excessive drooling, lack of coordination, rapid breathing, and a top of the head that is hot to the touch. Prompt treatment is urgent. Body temperatures often get as high as 107 degrees Fahrenheit/41.5 degrees Celsius, and without quick cooling, severe brain damage and death will occur.

Heatstroke can be prevented by making sure your dog has plenty of shade and ventilation. If you must take your dog driving with you, park in the shade and leave all the windows partially open.

Should heatstroke occur, use the following suggestions to help you provide your dog with the utmost care.

Step 1: Remove the dog from the hot environment.

Step 2: Immerse the dog in a cold water bath or continuously run a garden hose on its body; continue either treatment for at least 30 minutes.

Step 3: Apply ice packs to the top of the head; keep them there while transporting the dog to the veterinarian.

Step 4: Transport the dog to the veterinarian immediately after the above treatment.

Another pet injury that requires immediate professional treatment is hypothermia. Check the next page for tips on what to do if you suspect your pet is suffering from this condition.

 

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog

Exposure to either cold water or freezing temperatures can cause hypothermia, or subnormal body temperatures. A dog‘s survival will depend on how low its body temperature drops.

A dog’s normal body temperature is 100 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit/38 degrees Celsius. If it drops below 90 degrees Fahrenheit/32 degrees Celsius for any length of time, normal bodily functions will be severely impaired.

The signs of hypothermia include depression, subnormal body temperature, and coma. This condition always requires veterinary attention as soon as possible. Use the following tips to help you provide proper care to a dog suffering from hypothermia.

Step 1: Warm the dog.

Step 1a: Place a hot water bottle (100 degrees Fahrenheit/37 degrees Celsius) against the dog’s abdomen. Wrap the bottle in a cloth to prevent burns. Wrap the dog in a blanket or jacket.

Step 2: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to insect bites, so it’s important to know the warning signs. Learn more about treating insect stings on the next page.

 

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


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While most insect bites to a dogwill be uneventful, if your pet has been stung by a bee, wasp, yellow jacket, or hornet, the area will quickly become swollen and somewhat painful. A possible allergic reaction to the venom deposited by the insect is the most serious problem.

The signs of an insect bite include swelling, pain in the muscles and affected area, vomiting, weakness, fever, and shock. The signs of shock are pale or white gums, a rapid heartbeat, or rapid breathing. Below are helpful suggestions on what to do if your pet has been stung by a pest.

Step 1: Restrain the dog if necessary.

Step 1a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 1b: Muzzle the dog to protect yourself, if necessary.

Step 2: DO NOT pinch the area. If the dog has been stung by a bee, scrape the stinger off immediately with a credit card or dull knife. Other insects do not leave the stinger in the skin.

Step 3: If the affected area is swollen and hot, apply cortisone cream and hold ice on the dog’s skin for a short time.

Step 4: Administer antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) orally at a dose of 1mg per pound of body weight (e.g., a 25-pound dog would get 25mg pill or capsule).

Step 5: If the dog experiences any difficulty breathing or if its face seems swollen, transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Did you know your house is filled with products that are poisonous to your beloved pet? Check the next page to find out what they are and what to do if your dog gets a hold of one of these harmful substances.

 

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog

Dogs are curious creatures and like to investigate, which leads to many accidental poisonings each year. Often a dog will find an open can or bottle of some chemical and, accidentally or on purpose, spill it. Naturally the chemical gets on its fur and paws, and while licking the area clean, it swallows the possibly toxic substance. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to keep all potentially toxic products tightly closed and out of your dog’s reach.

Some of the signs of a possible poisoning include excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, twitching, nervousness, convulsions, coma, and a chemical odor on the body. Here’s what you can do if your dog is poisoned:

Step 1: If the dog is comatose or convulsing, wrap it in a blanket and transport your pet immediately to the veterinarian with the suspect poison container, plant, or leaf.

Step 2: If the dog has a chemical odor on its skin, wash the entire dog with mild soap until the odor is gone. If the poison was licked or ingested, flushing the dog’s mouth with clean water may also help in decontamination.

Step 3: If the dog has not already vomited and the poison is not a caustic or petroleum product (see lists below), induce vomiting by giving 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide per 20 pounds every 10 minutes until vomiting starts. If no vomiting occurs within 30 minutes, transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian with the suspected poison container.

Step 4: Call the Pet Poison Control hotline for further instructions at 888-426-4435. (There is a charge for this service.)

Caustics include battery acid, corn and callous remover, dishwashing detergent, drain cleaner, grease remover, lye, and oven cleaner. Petroleum products include paint solvent, floor wax, and dry-cleaning solution.

You might be surprised by the number of household items that are poisonous to your dog. Some of the most common are alcoholic beverages, ammonia, antifreeze, bleach, chocolate (baking chocolate is the worst), detergents, disinfectants, dry-cleaning solution, fertilizer, furniture polish, gasoline, glue, grapes and raisins, human medications, mothballs, mouse and rat poison, onions, oven cleaners, paint thinner and remover, shoe polish, silver polish, and toilet bowl cleaner.

In addition, some household plants are toxic to your pet, including aloe vera, amaryllis, avocado, azalea, bird of paradise, calla lily, castor bean, corn plant, cyclamen, daffodil, day lily, dieffenbachia, Easter lily, elephant ears, English ivy, gladiolus, holly, hyacinth, hydrangea, iris, kalanchoe, macadamia nut, mistletoe, narcissus, onion, philodendron, poinsettia, rhododendron, tomato plant, tulip, yew, and yucca.

(This is only a partial list. For a more complete listing, refer to the ASPCA Animal Poison Center at www.aspca.org.)

Dogs can also become poisoned from smoke or carbon monoxide. Check the next section for tips on what to do in this first-aid emergency.

 

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


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©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 4b

Fires are another possible threat to dogs. Do not risk your own life to save your dog. Leave that task to the firefighters or those trained in rescue.

The signs of smoke or carbon monoxide inhalation include depression, lack of coordination, heavy panting, deep red gums, and possible convulsions. Also watch for signs of shock, which are pale or white gums, a rapid heartbeat, or rapid breathing.

If suspect your pet is suffering from smoke or carbon monoxide inhalation, use the following tips to provide the dog with proper care.

If the Dog Is Conscious

Step 1: Remove the dog from the area and into fresh air immediately.

Step 2: Flush the dog’s eyes thoroughly with saline solution or clean water.

Step 3: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

If the Dog Is Unconscious

Step 1: Remove the dog from the area and into fresh air immediately.

Step 2: If the dog is not breathing, feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the middle of its chest.

Step 3: If the heart is not beating, proceed to Step 4. If it is, perform artificial respiration.

Step 3a: Turn the dog on its side.

Step 3b: Hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Administer 1 breath every 3 to 5 seconds. Take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the dog’s chest rise.

Step 3c: After 1 minute, stop. Watch the chest for movement to indicate the dog is breathing on its own.

Step 3d: If the dog is not breathing, continue artificial respiration.

Step 4: If the heart is not beating, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

CPR for Dogs Weighing up to 45 Pounds

Step 4a: Turn the dog on its back.

Step 4b: Kneel down at the head of the dog.

Step 4c: Clasp your hands over the dog’s chest with your palms resting on either side of its chest.

Step 4d: Compress your palms on the chest firmly for a count of “2,” and release for a count of “1.” Moderate pressure is required. Repeat about 60 to 90 times per minute.

Step 4e: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Blow for 3 seconds, take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the dog’s chest rise. Try to repeat this 10 to 20 times per minute. As a general rule, use a CPR ratio of about 5 heart compressions to 1 breath of air.

Step 4f: After 1 minute, stop. Look at the chest for breathing movement, and feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the center of its chest.

Step 4g: If the dog’s heart is not beating, continue CPR. If the heart starts beating, but the dog is still not breathing, return to Step 3.

CPR for Dogs Weighing More Than 45 Pounds

Step 4a: Turn the dog on its side.

Step 4b: Place the palm of your hand in the middle of the dog’s chest.

Step 4c: Press for a count of “2,” and release for a count of “1.” Firm pressure is required. Repeat about 60 to 90 times per minute.

Step 4d: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Blow for 3 seconds, take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise. Try to repeat this 10 to 20 times per minute.

Step 4e: After 1 minute, stop. Look at the chest for breathing movement, and feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the center of its chest.

Step 4f: If the dog’s heart is not beating, continue CPR. If the heart starts beating but the dog is still not breathing, return to Step 3.

Step 5: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian. CPR or artificial respiration should be continued on the way to the veterinarian or until the dog is breathing and its heart is beating without assistance.

A puncture wound can be quite painful and traumatic for a dog. In the next section, we’ll learn how to treat this type of injury.

 

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 3
©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 2
©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 4

A puncture wound on a dog may be difficult to see because it is often covered with hair. Since the most common location for a puncture wound is the bottom of the paw, the first sign may be a limp. Slightly blood-tinged fur is a common sign of a puncture wound on other parts of the body.

If you suspect your dog has a puncture wound, be sure to watch for signs of shock, which include pale or white gums, a rapid heartbeat, or rapid breathing. The following tips will help you treat your wounded pet.

If the Object Is Protruding

Step 1: Restrain the dog if necessary, taking care not to touch the object.

Step 1a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 1b: Slip a leash around the dog’s neck, then place the leash around a fixed object. Pull the dog against this object and tie the leash so the dog cannot move its head.

Step 1c: Muzzle the dog to protect yourself if necessary.

Step 2: DO NOT attempt to remove the object.

Step 3: Place clean cloths, sterile dressings, or sanitary napkins around the point of entry.

Step 4: Bandage tightly around the point of entry.

Step 5: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Other Puncture Wounds

Step 1: Restrain the dog if necessary.

Step 1a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 2: If the wound is in the chest and a “sucking” noise is heard, bandage tightly enough to seal the wound, and transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Step 3: If the wound is not in the chest, clip the hair around the wound.

Step 4: Examine the wound carefully for foreign objects. If present, remove the object with tweezers or needle-nose pliers.

Step 5: Flush the wound thoroughly with clean water. Avoid home antiseptics, which may cause pain when applied.

Step 6: DO NOT bandage. Allow the wound to drain unless there is excessive bleeding. If the wound does bleed excessively, follow these steps:

Step 6a: Cover wound with clean cloth, sterile dressing, or sanitary napkin.

Step 6b: Place your hand over the dressing and press firmly.

Step 6c: Keep pressure on the dressing to stop the bleeding.

Step 6d: If blood soaks through the dressing, DO NOT remove it. Apply more dressing and continue to apply pressure until the bleeding stops.

Step 7: If the bleeding does not stop within 5 minutes, continue to apply pressure on the wound while transporting the dog to the veterinarian.

Knowing how to identify the signs of shock and how to treat it will help you in many pet first-aid situations. In the next section, learn about proper care for dogs experiencing shock.

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 1a
©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 3
©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 4

Shock is extremely serious; it is the No. 1 killer in accidents. Shock is a reaction to heavy internal or external bleeding or any serious injury that “scares” the body; for example, a large wound or amputation with heavy blood loss. The body tries to compensate for the loss by speeding up the heart rate to keep the blood pressure from falling. At the same time the blood vessels that supply the outside of the body narrow. This is to conserve blood so vital organs of the body can continue to receive their normal blood supply.

However, if there is heavy blood loss or other serious injury, the body overreacts and causes a pooling of blood in the internal organs. This can cause death due to a drop in external blood pressure and possible oxygen starvation of the brain.

The signs of shock include pale or white gums, a rapid faint heartbeat, rapid breathing, or below-normal body temperature (feels cold). If your dog is in shock, use the following tips to provide proper first aid.

Step 1: Examine the dog for shock.

Step 1a: Examine the gums by gently lifting the dog’s upper lip so the gum is visible. Pale or white gums indicate the dog is almost certainly in shock and may have serious internal injuries and/or bleeding. If the gums are pink, the dog is probably not in shock.

Step 1b: Determine the dog’s heartbeat. Place your fingers firmly on the dog about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the center of its chest. Count the number of beats in 10 seconds and multiply by 6. If the dog is in shock its heartbeat may be more than 150 beats per minute.

Step 2: Place the dog on its side with its head extended.

Step 3: Gently pull out the dog’s tongue to keep the airway open.

Step 4: Elevate the dog’s hindquarters slightly by placing them on a pillow or folded towels.

Step 5: Stop visible bleeding immediately. If blood is spurting and the wound is on the leg or tail, proceed to Step 6.

Step 5a: Cover the wound with a clean cloth, sterile dressing, or sanitary napkin.

Step 5b: Place your hand over the dressing and press firmly.

Step 5c: Keep pressure on the dressing to stop bleeding. If blood soaks through the dressing, DO NOT remove it. Apply more dressing and continue to apply pressure until the bleeding stops. If bleeding does not stop within 5 minutes, continue to apply pressure on the wound while transporting the dog to the veterinarian.

Step 5d: Wrap torn rags or other soft material around the dressing and tie or tape it just tightly enough to keep the bandage on. Start below the wound and wrap upward.

Step 6: If bleeding does not stop within 5 minutes, transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Step 7: To conserve body heat, wrap the dog in a blanket or jacket.

A dog’s encounter with a skunk is not only smelly, but it can also be dangerous, since skunks are a major carrier of rabies. Turn to the next page to find out what to do if your pet has been sprayed by a skunk.

 

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 2
©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 4

Skunks are one of the major carriers of rabies in North America. Therefore, a dog‘s encounter with a skunk should be treated as more than just a stinky situation. Use the following suggestions to provide proper care for your pet.

Step 1: Restrain the dog if necessary.

Step 1a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 1b: Slip a leash around the dog’s neck, then place the leash around a fixed object. Pull the dog against this object and tie the leash so the dog cannot move its head.

Step 1c: Muzzle the dog to protect yourself.

Step 2: Flush the dog’s eyes with fresh water.

Step 3: Remove and destroy leather collars or harnesses.

Step 4: Bathe the dog thoroughly with soap or shampoo and water. Repeat several times.

Step 5: Apply plain tomato juice liberally. After several minutes, bathe the dog again with soap or shampoo and water. Time will eventually remove the odor. Skunk odor neutralizers are available.

Step 6: If the skunk is destroyed, take it to the veterinarian for a rabies examination. DO NOT touch the skunk with your bare hands.

Step 7: If the dog is not currently vaccinated for rabies, contact the veterinarian.

An encounter with a snake can also create a pet emergency situation. See the next section for how to treat snakebites.

 

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Poisonous bite
©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Nonpoisonous bite

Poisonous snakebites are rare in North America. Most snakes are nonpoisonous, and neither poisonous nor nonpoisonous snakes will attack a dog unless provoked. But many pets are curious, and bites will occur.

If you live in or visit a snake-inhabited area, you can expect problems if you let your dog run loose. Be prepared by reading the following tips for treating snakebites.

Poisonous

The signs of a poisonous snakebite are two fang marks, pain, swelling, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and possible paralysis and convulsions. Be sure to watch for sings of shock, which include pale or white gums, a rapid heartbeat, or rapid breathing.

Treatment must begin as soon as possible after the bite. If the snake was killed, bring it to the veterinarian for identification. Otherwise, try to remember identifying marks.

Step 1: Restrain the dog if necessary.

Step 1a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 1b: Slip a leash around the dog’s neck, then place the leash around a fixed object. Pull the dog against this object and tie the leash so the dog cannot move its head.

Step 1c: Muzzle the dog to protect yourself if necessary.

Step 2: Clip the hair from the bite area.

Step 3: Flush thoroughly by pouring 3% hydrogen peroxide directly on the bite.

Step 4: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Nonpoisonous

The signs of a nonpoisonous snakebite are a U-shape bite and pain in the bite area. If you are not sure the snake is nonpoisonous, treat as poisonous. See above.

Step 1: Restrain the dog if necessary.

Step 1a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 1b: Slip a leash around the dog’s neck, then place the leash around a fixed object. Pull the dog against this object and tie the leash so the dog cannot move its head.

Step 1c: Muzzle the dog to protect yourself, if necessary.

Step 2: Clip the hair from the bite area.

Step 3: Flush thoroughly by pouring 3% hydrogen peroxide directly on the bite.

Various injuries may cause unconsciousness in a dog. Turn to the next section for tips on what to do in this emergency situation.

 

 

 

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How to Give First Aid to Your Dog


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Steps 1a, 1b, and 1c
©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 2c
©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 3


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 5c


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 5b

Your first priority when dealing with an unconscious dog is to get the heart beating and the dog breathing. Also be sure to watch for signs of shock, which include pale or white gums, a rapid heartbeat, or rapid breathing. Use the following tips to provide proper treatment to a dog that has lost consciousness.

Step 1: If you suspect choking, clear the dog’s airway. If the dog is not choking, proceed to

Step 2.

Step 1a: Open the dog’s mouth carefully by grasping the upper jaw with one hand over the muzzle.

Step 1b: Press the dog’s lips over the upper teeth by pressing your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other so that the lips are between the dog’s teeth and your fingers. Apply firm pressure to force the mouth open.

Step 1c: If you can see the object, try to remove it with your fingers.

Step 1d: If you cannot remove the object and the dog is small enough, pick it up by grasping its back legs; turn it upside down and shake vigorously. Slapping its back while shaking may help to dislodge the object.

Step 1e: If you cannot remove the object and the dog is too large to pick up, place the dog on its side on the floor. Place your hand just behind the rib cage and press down and slightly forward quickly and firmly. Release. Repeat rapidly several times until the object is expelled.

Step 1f: If you cannot dislodge the object, transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Step 2: If the dog is breathing, check for shock. If the dog is not breathing, proceed to Step 3.

Step 2a: Examine the gums by gently lifting the upper lip so the gum is visible. Pale or white gums indicate the dog is almost certainly in shock and may have serious internal injuries and/or bleeding. If the gums are pink, the dog is probably not in shock.

Step 2b: Determine the heartbeat. Place fingers firmly on the dog about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the center of its chest. Count the number of beats in 10 seconds and multiply by 6. If the dog is in shock its heartbeat may be more than 150 beats per minute.

Step 2c: Place the dog on its side with its head extended. Gently pull out the dog’s tongue to keep the airway open.

Step 2d: Elevate the dog’s hindquarters slightly by placing them on a pillow or folded towels. To conserve body heat, wrap the dog in a blanket or jacket.

Step 2e: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Step 3: Feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the middle of its chest.

Step 4: If the dog’s heart is not beating, proceed to Step 5. If it is, perform artificial respiration.

Step 4a: Turn the dog on its side.

Step 4b: Hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Administer 1 breath every 3 to 5 seconds. Take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the dog’s chest rise.

Step 4c: After 10 seconds, stop. Watch the chest for movement to indicate the dog is breathing on its own.

Step 4d: If the dog is not breathing, continue artificial respiration.

Step 5: If the heart is not beating, perform CPR.

CPR for Dogs Weighing up to 45 Pounds

Step 5a: Turn the dog on its back.

Step 5b: Kneel down at the head of the dog.

Step 5c: Clasp your hands over the dog’s chest with your palms resting on either side of its chest.

Step 5d: Compress your palms on the chest firmly for a count of “2,” and release for a count of “1.” Moderate pressure is required. Repeat about 60 to 90 times per minute.

Step 5e: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Blow for 3 seconds, take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the dog’s chest rise. Try to repeat this 10 to 20 times per minute. As a general rule, use a CPR ratio of about 5 heart compressions to 1 breath of air.

Step 5f: After 1 minute, stop. Look at the chest for breathing movement, and feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the center of its chest.

Step 5g: If the dog’s heart is not beating, continue CPR. If the heart starts beating, but the dog is still not breathing, return to Step 4.

CPR for Dogs Weighing more than 45 Pounds

Step 5a: Turn the dog on its side.

Step 5b: Place the palm of your hand in the middle of the dog’s chest.

Step 5c: Press for a count of “2,” and release for a count of “1.” Firm pressure is required. Repeat about 60 to 90 times per minute.

Step 5d: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Blow for 3 seconds, take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise. Try to repeat this 10 to 20 times per minute.

Step 5e: After 1 minute, stop. Look at the chest for breathing movement, and feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the center of its chest.

Step 5f: If the dog’s heart is not beating, continue CPR. If the heart starts beating but the dog is still not breathing, return to Step 4.

Step 6: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian. CPR or artificial respiration should be continued on the way to the veterinarian or until the dog is breathing and its heart is beating without assistance.

Like diarrhea, vomiting is not necessarily a serious problem unless a dog becomes dehydrated. Check the next page for tips on what potential problems to look for.

 

 

 

 

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