If your dog is badly hurt in your home or while out and about with you, you should know how to administer first aid until you can reach a veterinarian. A first aid kit tailored to your dog’s needs can truly be a lifesaver. If you you’re your dog on frequent outings far from home, you would be wise to keep a second first aid kit handy in your car.
A first aid kit for a dog contains many of the same items it would for a human. A roll of absorbent cotton and some cotton balls, gauze pads and tape, a pair of small scissors with rounded tips, tweezers, instant ice pack, hydrogen peroxide, a bulb syringe for suctioning mucous from mouth or nose sterile eyewash solution made specifically for pets, a clean, white cotton sock (to cover wounded paws), small flashlight, rectal thermometer, injection syringe without the needle (to give liquid medication), and unflavored electrolyte liquid (like Pedialyte).
Keep everything in a sturdy plastic container with a secure lid. Write your veterinarian’s name and phone number on the lid, as well as that of the closest emergency pet hospital. If you travel often and leave your dog with another person, put several copies of a signed release form in the first aid kit authorizing the caregiver to approve necessary treatment.
Dog owners often have to tend to pets that have been stung by a bee. If your dog is stung while sniffing around, restrain her and remove the stinger either with tweezers or by scraping it out (moving parallel to the skin surface). Bathing the stung spot with a mix of water and baking soda will ease some of the pain. Swelling can be reduced by applying ice packs or giving a dose of Benedryl-be sure to ask your veterinarian for the proper dosage.
If your dog is injured, approach her calmly and carefully. Don’t assume that she won’t snap or bite you – injured pets often react negatively at first to any attempt to touch them. Talk soothingly and move slowly so she can see that you mean her no harm.
If your dog is bleeding heavily, it is important to slow or stop the flow as soon as possible. Use a clean towel or cloth to apply pressure directly to the wound. Change towels/cloths as needed, but keep pressure on until you reach a veterinarian. If necessary, you can apply thick gauze pads and use tape to secure them while you transport your cat. It is best, however, to keep pressure on the wound and have some one else drive.
If your dog seems to be choking, use a flashlight to check her throat. If you see and can easily remove the object, do so. If you can’t see the object but are certain your dog is choking, you might need to perform a modified Heimlich maneuver. It is important to get proper training for this, as it can cause serious injury if done incorrectly. Many humane societies and animal welfare organizations offer classes on pet first aid, that include the Heimlich maneuver, CPR, and techniques for dealing with serious injury and poisoning.
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