Despite the best precautions provided by pet owners, even the most well-protected dog can get hurt accidentally. Whether suffering from an insect sting or animal bite from the back yard or getting into the wrong food on the kitchen counter, your pet at some point may need immediate medical assistance. With the help of Dave Miller, owner of Cozy Crates, here are some tips for giving an injured dog detailed emergency care.
Move the Pet to a Safe Place
If the injury occurred in an unsafe location, for example, if your dog escaped through the fence and was hit by a car, carefully move the pet out of harm’s way. Backyard injuries could possibly be treated in that area, or you can move your pet indoors for clearer observation and assessment. An injured or ill dog may become upset and agitated, so the owner should stay calm and take the pet to a safe place where the dog feels safe and secure.
Do a Thorough Examination
Use a flashlight at night or daytime sunlight to examine your pet for injuries or signs of serious illness, such as dilated pupils or a swollen abdomen. Check the areas that seem likeliest to be affected, which is any area the dog seems to be trying to nurse or protect by licking it or withholding it from the owner’s handling. Gently pat your dog both to settle him down and to look for visible wounds or active bleeding. Remember to include the ears, paws, and tail area as possible injury sites.
Check for Serious Symptoms
If your dog is choking, try to look in his mouth to see the cause. If a visible item can be grasped, gently pull it out. Use a bandage to stop any bleeding. Carefully remove ticks or stingers from bees or wasps if you can find them in the skin. Take your pet’s temperature if you notice signs of lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea. Check the stools after toileting your dog for evidence of worms, blood, or other problems.
Prioritize Treatment Needs
If your dog has several kinds of injuries, such as those that could result from a fight with another animal, treat them in priority order. Start with the largest or most gaping injuries. Clean and disinfect each scratch or abrasion, applying a sterile bandage afterward. Even if you plan to take the dog to the veterinarian, you may want to informally cover the wounds to control or stop the bleeding and try to prevent infection. If you are unable to treat the injuries due to their nature, your lack of supplies, or your dog’s lack of cooperation, take him to the vet’s office or animal hospital immediately.
Use Sterile or Clean Products
Apply clean cloths or sterile bandages when covering any injuries. Make sure any topical ointments have not expired if you have had them for a while. Pain relievers should also be checked for the expiration date and proper dose for your pet. Keep your dog’s first aid kit up to date and refilled whenever you use some of the supplies.
Transport the Pet to the Veterinarian’s Office
Except for the most superficial scratches or injuries, take your pet to the vet’s office to be checked. Dogs aren’t always the most cooperative pets when you are trying to take care of wounds or sickness they have developed, and the vet can make sure your dog gets the necessary evaluation and treatment. Keep your dog crate clean for unexpected situations of this type so that it is ready to use instead of transporting your dog in a dirty crate, which could be especially harmful to any wounds. The crate should have a clean cloth or towel for your pet to lay on as well as a favorite toy for comfort. Make sure the lock works properly to avoid the latch coming loose while in transit.
Organize and Clarify the Circumstances
Jot down the details of how your pet got sick or hurt. Or you can have the information organized in your mind to inform the vet. What was the pet doing just prior to getting sick? What happened the day before? How has your dog been acting since you first noticed symptoms? The vet can provide a more analytical interpretation of the facts when you provide helpful details.
A sick pet is as needy as a sick child. Do your best to be ready with proper first aid care if your canine companion suddenly develops frightening symptoms of injury or illness. Knowing what to do and how can make the situation less scary and more manageable for everyone involved.