As the weather warms up, many dogs find themselves spending more time outdoors with their owners and this leads to more accidents.
This is an excellent time to familiarize oneself with the basic principles of first aid.
Always be prepared! Make a first aid kit and have it on hand wherever you go.
It is worth having several kits, such as a large fully stocked kit for home and a smaller kit for the car or family outings.
Within your First Aid Kit you should have:
the telephone number of your vet and the nearest vet to your intended destination – just in case
water for drinking / cooling and flushing out wounds
tweezers and nail clippers
a blanket, – this can be used to cover or as a makeshift stretcher
a roll of gauze (can also be used to create a makeshift muzzle if needed)
square gauze to cover a wound
first aid tape to stick the gauze or a bandage in place
Anti-histamine cream for itchy insect bites
If an emergency occurs:
Take a moment to look around and fully assess the situation. For example, if your dog was hit by a car, don’t immediately rush out in traffic. You won’t do him any good if you end up in the hospital yourself.
Carefully approach your pet and assess his condition:
Is he breathing? If not, you will have to breath for him – hold his mouth closed and breath into his nostrils, sit up, take a deep breath and repeat.
Is he bleeding? Cover with the square gauze and stick in place. Apply direct pressure to the wound.
Remember to handle your injured dog gently and carefully. Even the gentlest dog may bite when scared or in pain. Keep your face away from the mouth (unless you need to breath for him), and resist the urge to hug your dog to comfort him as this may scare him more or worsen his injuries.
Use a calm soothing voice to reassure your dog – if you appear excited or distressed, this will make your dog worse.
If you need to transport him and his wounds are painful you should place a muzzle on – you can make one out of a roll of gauze. If your dog is small, wrap him in a blanket or towel and carry him. Larger dogs can be transported on makeshift stretchers such as a large blanket to make a hammock-style sling.
Finally, remember that first aid is not intended to be a substitute for veterinary care, it is meant to stabilize the animal until proper veterinary care can be given.
Any first aid care given to your dog should be followed by immediate veterinary attention, either by your usual veterinarian or the nearest animal emergency clinic.