Emergency Dog First Aid Tips


According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are over 73 million owned dogs in the United States. The average vet bill a year for dog owners is $211 for vaccines and checkups. This does not include emergencies. We all know what to do if your best human friend started choking, but what would you do if your best four legged friend had the same emergency? In some cases, it’s unlikely you would get to the vet in time, and it’s unlikely you’d have time to look the information up, so it’s best to plan ahead. Know what you need to know before the emergency happens.

Will Your Dog Find an Emergency

Dogs are naturally inquisitive and often put everything they can find into their mouths, sometimes leading to choking. Some symptoms of choking include running around with the neck stretched out, eyes bulging, and the head held high. These are all signs your dog is trying to breath easier. The dog will often try to vomit and will whine in pain while drooling excessively. Use extreme caution when trying to remove the blockage with your fingers, as you could get bitten. As in humans, the Heimlich maneuver is often the easiest way to remove items stuck in the throat. To do the Heimlich maneuver for dogs, place your arms around the dog’s chest, placing your hands between the dogs lower stomach and rib cage. Using a two handed fist, quickly and firmly thrust inwards and upwards. Repeat as many times as needed. If your dog is not breathing, you will need to do mouth to mouth. Seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible.

Porcupines and dogs seem to be natural enemies. If your dog comes home with quills imbedded in their body, you may be able to remove them yourself if there are only a few, none have broken off, and none are inside the mouth or eyes. Use pliers to grab the quill as close to the skin as you can and steadily pull the quill out, being careful not to let it break off. It is a necessity that all quills are removed promptly. Check your dog for hidden quills all over his body, including in his mouth. If any of the quills have broken off or are imbedded in his mouth or eyes, seek treatment with a veterinary as soon as possible.

If you see your dog get hit by a car or suspect that he has, try to keep your dog as quiet, still, and comfortable as possible, while you call your veterinarian for advice. Put pressure on any bloody wounds with a clean bandage or cloth. Seek help as soon as possible.

If your dog has cut his paw, and bleeding is profuse, wrap the injured paw in a gauze dressing or with a clean cloth, wrapping an ace bandage firmly around the wound. Never use an elastic band or other tourniquet on your dog.

If you have to take your pet to the vet for an emergency, do not give your dog anything to eat or drink, in case he needs an anesthetic. If your dog is large, gently slide him onto a blanket or coat, and with another person, gently lift the corners, forming a soft stretcher. Gently lower the dog onto the seat of the car. If possible, someone should stay in the back with the dog to keep him calm and comforted. If possible, notify the vet that you are on your way and keep them informed of the situation, so that they can be prepared when you get there.