Canine First Aid

Dog First Aid Information

The following information is provided to help you care for your pet in the event of an emergency and until veterinary help can be provided. Medication should not be administered without first consulting your veterinarian, as human medication may not have the same result on an animal and could cause further problems. Unless you are in an emergency situation please contact your veterinarian for help with any questions you may have or to report symptoms about which you may be concerned.


Usually brought on by internal bleeding and can follow a car accident. The dog will be completely prostrate and will have glassy eyes and shallow breathing. His legs and ears will be cold and the gums pale. Cover the dog for warmth and take it immediately to your vet or emergency
animal hospital.


Contact the nearest Poison Control Center. This number should be kept in a place where all family members can find it easily. If you know what poison the dog ingested it makes it easier for the Center or your veterinarian to advise you. Do not induce vomiting without the advice of a veterinarian, as it could be dangerous. Keep poisons out of reach of your pets, as you would do with children. ALWAYS consider antifreeze a very dangerous poison and never allow your animals in an area where antifreeze is being poured.


Most often caused by confining the dog in a car that is left in the sun. Breathing becomes very rapid and labored and the dog appears to be near collapse. Drenching the dog in cold water to reduce the body heat helps significantly. The best first aid in this case is to leave your dog at home when the weather is hot or you must make stops. Do not leave your dog in an unattended car in hot weather.


Before bathing rub the entire coat with tomato juice. This may have to be repeated. There are also some commercial products available at your local pet shop, which will immediately neutralize the skunk odor. If you live in an area prone to skunks you may want to keep either of these on hand to quickly take care of the problem.


Simple burns, which might occur from, hot water or grease could usually be treated with a sterile antibiotic ointment which will soothe the burned area. Larger burns should have a light bandage for more protection. Burns from acids or alkali’s should be flushed with diluted baking soda or diluted lemon juice respectively and then treated as a regular burn. Do not apply turpentine or kerosene to remove paint, tars, or grease from dog’s coats. Both of these products can produce painful burns. Instead use vegetable oil and then wash with mild soap and water and apply more oil for a soothing effect. Seriously burned dogs need medical attention immediately as they may go into shock.

Artificial Respiration

In some cases, such as electric shock (when a puppy may chew on an electric cord) when you can feel the heart beating but the dog is not breathing place the dog on its side. Alternately depress and release the chest by pressing gently on the rib cage and its most posterior margin. Sometimes aromatic inhalants will help as well.

Remember the information given is only a guide and you should always check with your veterinarian if you think there is a problem or before administering any medication.

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