First Aid for Dogs

“Your dog stubbed its paw a few days ago and now he walks with a limp?”

“Did your dog just eat something he/ she was not supposed to?”

“My dog’s having a seizure, help!”

Is this you? Can you relate to the panic induced thoughts that flood your brain every time your pet is remotely harmed? The ideal way to tackle this problem is to educate and arm yourself with some handy first aid knowledge that is specific to animals.

To start off, remember that any first aid care administered must be followed by immediate medical and veterinary care. Don’t waste time and don’t take a risk, even if it’s nothing major. Better safe than sorry, right? Since our brains are notorious for going blank just when you need them to work the most, it would be a good idea to make a quick checklist for medical supplies. Also print a brief guide and along with your vet’s number, keep it in the first aid kit.

Following are some common scenarios /medical emergencies that may arise while dealing with your pet and how you should handle them.

My dog is hurt and bleeding, how can I help?

Take a clean and thick gauze, gently press it over the wound. Keep pressure over the wound for about 2 minutes to help the blood clot. Do not remove the gauze and keep checking every 10 seconds. Repeat procedure with a clean gauze and disinfect (please name an appropriate disinfectant - betadine or vetericyn we cannot use Dettol or savlon) the wound after the blood clots.

If the bleeding is severe, tie a tourniquet between the wound and the body. Cover the wound with a thick gauze and keep pressure while you rush your dog to the vet.

My dog is suffering from internal bleeding, what should I do?

Internal bleeding has a few obvious symptoms like bleeding from the nose, mouth, rectum, coughing blood, blood in urine, pale gums, weakness and rapid pulse. If you notice any of the above signs, make sure you keep your pet comfortable and warm and consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible.

My pet just consumed something toxic or poisonous, what to do?

If your dog has just had physical contact with a toxic substance, check the product label and follow the safety procedure as instructed. If it tells you to rinse the exposed area with soap and water, do the same for your pet. Be careful not to spread the toxic substance to other areas, especially the eyes.

If your pet has consumed something harmful and is having seizures or difficulty in breathing, take him/her to the vet immediately.

My dog is choking, help!

If your pet is choking, chances are you won’t notice it immediately. So look out for these signs; excessive pawing, blue tinged lips and tongue, choking sounds while coughing and difficulty in breathing. If you notice anything like this, calm your dog down and examine its mouth for foreign objects. If it’s visible, try to gently remove it with a pair of tweezers. If you cannot reach it, immediately rush to the vet.

In case your dog collapses, place both your hands on the side of its rib cage and apply firm quick pressure to force the object out. Alternately, you should lay your pet on its side and strike the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand a few times. This procedure will sharply push the air out of their lungs and force the object to dislodge. If this doesn’t work too, get a vet to attend to your dog immediately.

My dog just got bit by an insect, what should I do?

Some animals may be allergic to insect bites or a bee/spider sting. So it is important that you pluck out the stinger as soon as you spot it. But be careful not to put too much pressure on the venom sac. Apply a cool compress to the stung area and use a paste of baking soda and water to neutralize some of the acidic venom. Consult your vet immediately.

Bee and Wasp Stings can be painful and frightening for a dog. Follow these procedures if your dog is stung:

• Carefully remove the stinger with tweezers, if possible. (Only bees leave stingers.)

• Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the area.

• Apply an ice pack to relieve swelling and pain.

• Comfort the dog until the pain has diminished.

Usually a single sting does not present a serious problem. If the sting is on the nose, mouth or around the head, watch your dog carefully to make sure that any swelling does not interfere with breathing or swallowing. If the swelling increases dramatically just a few minutes after the sting, see a veterinarian immediately.

Multiple stings can cause more damage, and may be life-threatening. If you see your dog disturb a hive or swarm of wasps or bees, call the dog to you and run, or, if necessary, pick up your dog and carry it away. Try to put distance between your dog and the swarm as quickly as possible. Once you and the dog are safe, get medical attention as soon as possible.

If possible, give antihistamines to your dog right away (Your veterinarian can give you a supply for your dog's first aid kit, and advise you on dosage and administration). Then take your dog to the closest veterinarian. Treatment for massive stings usually involves intravenous cauterization, the administration of fluids, giving of corticosteroids and monitoring of vital signs. The goal of treatment is to prevent shock and circulatory collapse and to minimize damage to organ systems.

(this is where you picked up this point from u can add a few more pointers from here since its very abrupt)

My dog is having seizures, what to do?

First thing, move away all objects (sharp or blunt, big or small) from your pet and do not try to restrain it. Time the seizures accurately and once they stop, make sure your pet is warm and comfortable. Try to keep it as calm as possible and make a note of all the observations for your vet. Call the vet asap

My dog has a broken bone, what should I do?

It is important to make sure that your pet do not accidentally cause more harm to themselves. If possible muzzle them up or just make sure they don’t move around too much. Use a make-shift stretcher to support them while transporting them to the vet. If you have a little experience, you may attempt to set it in place with a splint and then head to the doctor. But attempt this only if you are sure, or you might end up hurting your dog instead of helping it.

My dog just got burnt, what to do?

If the burn is chemical, douse the acid exposed area immediately with cool water till it is clean and your pet calms down. Consult your vet and get the right antiseptic to apply. In case of severe third degree burns, apply an ice water compress to the burned area and pay a visit to your vet.

My dog is suffering from a heatstroke, what can I do to help? Most imp

With summer approaching rapidly, remember to never leave your pet outside or in a locked car for prolonged periods of time. If an unfortunate situation does arise, immediately move your dog to a cool shaded place and away from sunlight. Place a wet towel around its head and neck to bring the body temperature down. Make sure to keep cool water running on their abdomen and between their hind legs. Consult a vet as soon as possible.

Heatstroke may occur when dogs are left in cars on hot, or even warm, days; when kennel areas do not have proper ventilation; or when dogs are overexercised on hot days. The signs are rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, high body temperature (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit), and collapse.

My dog has stopped breathing / has very low heartbeat, help!

Don’t panic, ask a friend or a family member to call the vet while you try and help your pet. If they’ve stopped breathing, try and gently open their airway. This can be done by holding the tongue and pulling it forward to check for objects that might be choking them. If all is clear, perform rescue breathing by holding your dog’s mouth closed and breathing in directly into its nose. Repeat procedure every 5 seconds till your see your dog breathe again.

If low heartbeat is the problem, administer chest compressions and rescue breathing till you reach the doctor.

Remember if the situation looks bad, it probably is. Try and make your dag as comfortable at it can get and keep reassuring it. If you pet goes into panic mode, the outcome may not be pretty. And always, I’m stressing this again, always call your vet.


We recommend keeping the following items on hand in case of emergency. Ask your veterinarian to explain the proper use of these items.

• Syringe

• Gauze Pads

• Adhesive Tape

• Co-flex

• Hydrogen Peroxide

• Cold Pack

• Ipecac Syrup

• First Aid Spray

• Liquid Styptic

• Antibiotic Ointment

• Hydrocortisone 1%

• Magnifying Glass

• Scissors

• Tweezers

• Latex Gloves

• Cotton Balls

• Iodine Swabs

• Stretch Gauze

• Muzzle

You also may want to include:

• Liquid Activated Charcoal

• Aldroxicon

• Diotame

• Re hydration Tablets

• Sting Relief Pads

• Aluminized Thermal Blanket

• Tourniquet


Due to their natural curiosity and their tendency to consume anything they come across, dogs are at a high risk for accidental poisoning. Store all poisonous substances in your home, garage, and yard out of reach of your curious canine. If you suspect your dog has ingested a poison, call your veterinarian at once. The longer the poison is in the dog's system, the more extensive the damage. These are some common poisons and their effects:

Insecticides and pa raise medication. Flea and tick sprays, shampoos, and collars, and worm medications must be used according to directions. Signs of overuse of these chemicals are trembling and weakness, drooling, vomiting, and loss of bowel control.

Rodent poisons. Most rat poisons thin the blood so it is unable to clot. Making the dog vomit (ask your vet how to do this) before 30 minutes have elapsed will usually get rid of most of the poison. Poisons containing strychnine, such as those used for gophers, can cause rapid death.

Acids, alkalis, and petroleum products. Vomiting should not be induced if these products have been swallowed. You can give antacids -- approximately two teaspoons per five pounds of body weight -- to temporarily counteract acids. For alkali ingestion, use one part vinegar to four parts water, and administer as you would antacids.

Antifreeze. This sweet-tasting substance can leak out of parked cars, leaving an inviting puddle for wandering dogs. It is extremely toxic to dogs, even in small amounts. Call the veterinarian immediately. To prevent accidental ingestion, use an animal-safe antifreeze in your vehicles.


• Acetaminophen

• Antifreeze and other car fluids

• Bleach

• Boric acid

• Cleaning fluid

• Deodorants

• Deodorizers

• Detergents

• Disinfectants

• Drain cleaners

• Furniture polish

• Gasoline

• Hair coloring's

• Weed killers

• Insecticides

• Kerosene

• Matches

• Mothballs

• Nail polish and remover

• Paint

• Prescription medicine

• Rat poison

• Rubbing alcohol

• Shoe polish

• Sleeping pills

• Snail or slug bait

• Turpentine

• Windshield-wiper fluid


May cause vomiting and diarrhea:

• Castor bean

• Soap berry

• Ground Cherry

• Skunk Cabbage

• Daffodil

• Delphinium

• Foxglove

• Larkspur

• Indian Tobacco

• Indian Turnip

• Poke weed

• Bittersweet woody

• Wisteria

May cause vomiting, abdominal pain and/or diarrhea:

• Almond

• Apricot

• Wild Cherry

• Balsam Pear

• Japanese Plum

• Bird of Paradise bush

• Horse Chestnut (Buckeye)

• English Holly

• Black Locust

• Mock Orange

• Privet

• Rain Tree (Monkey Pod)

• American Yew

• English Yew

• Western Yew

May cause varied reactions:

• Mescal bean

• Mushrooms (if also toxic to humans)

• Sunburned potatoes

• Rhubarb

• Spinach

• Tomato vine

• Buttercup

• Dologeton

• Poison Hemlock

• Water Hemlock

• Jasmine

• Loco weed

• Lupine

• Matrimony Vine

• May Apple

• Moon seed

• Nightshade

• Angel's Trumpet

May act as hallucinogens:

• Marijuana

May cause convulsions:

• China berry

• Cori aria

• Moon weed

• Nux vomica

• Water Hemlock


Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Pooja Advani

Pet Industry Expert, Canine Behaviourist, Consultation & Training

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