7 min read
Since I was a child, I have always been around pets. Over the years, I have experienced the wonderful bond and unconditional love between a pet and a parent. They have been an inseparable part of my family. The joy that pets bring into our lives is simply incomparable.
As pet parents we never anticipate facing a critical situation with our pets. If ever your dog faces an unexpected emergency, it can be terrifying- for both the pet parent and the dog. This is when basic knowledge of first aid can help you to respond effectively and save your dog’s life. There might be a number of questions in your mind regarding first aid for your pets, like-
What to do if my dog is injured?
What if my dog chokes on something?
What do I do if my dog starts bleeding?
What supplies should I keep in a dog first-aid kit, and why?
Knowing the answers to these questions can give you peace of mind that you’re prepared for the unexpected. Unfortunately, a vet might not be readily available to help in these urgent situations. Therefore it becomes important for you to have the knowledge and skills to act swiftly during an emergency.
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When I found my dog injured and bleeding, my first instinct was panic. Now dogs can sense our emotions and in these situations if you are panicking, they can get anxious too. Remind yourself to stay calm, and keep telling yourself that you got this. This will not only allow you to make better decisions but your composed demeanor will help them stay calm as well.
Seeing my dog bleed was terrifying, but I knew I had to act fast. I applied direct pressure to the wound using a clean cloth I found nearby. This helped slow down the bleeding significantly. It is crucial to have a first aid kit readily available, including sterile gauze pads, to be prepared for emergencies. If your pet has a minor cut or wound, it just needs to be cleaned and bandaged.
After you have done this, you can take them to the vet, depending on the severity of the injury.
If your dog has mistakenly swallowed something, and is choking on it, don’t panic. Stay calm, act fast, before their airway is blocked. Stand behind your dog, place your hands just below their ribcage, and apply firm upward pressure. Whatever they have choked on will dislodge, and your dog's breathing will be restored. It is always important to learn this specific technique as a part of being prepared during an emergency.
Seeing your dog having difficulty breathing or not breathing at all is a pet parent’s worst nightmare. Your first step should be to call a vet right away. While you wait for your vet to arrive at your location, there are a few things you can do to help your pet. If your dog has suddenly collapsed and stopped/ has difficulty breathing, you need to be prepared to perform a cardiopulmonary resuscitation or a CPR. Gently lay your dog down on their side. Please avoid any sudden movements. Check their airway for any blockages. If there are any obstructions, such as your dog choking on something, it is important to follow the steps for rescuing your dog from choking (refer to the previous point).
Once their airway is clear, perform CPR. Gently tilt their head upward, secure the jaws shut, and deliver a puff of air into the nose every three seconds. If your pet's heart is not beating, you can also conduct chest compressions. Remember to administer three compressions for every breath you provide.
This will allow you to give your dog some relief till the vet comes or you arrive at the vet’s.
If your dog has undergone a minor injury, clean the wound with some clean water first. If there is persistent bleeding, you will need to take them to the vet. Make sure that you are very gentle while handling a dog with injuries or bleeding. Try to clean the blood off of the wound, and cover it lightly with a guaze or a clean piece of cloth to avoid the risk of infection. It is advisable not to feed anything to the dog before their wound is being inspected by the vet. You can give them some water to make them feel comfortable. Giving any other liquid or solid food can risk the chances of their wound getting infected. Be careful while carrying them to the vet, and make sure you don’t put a lot of pressure on the area of injury.
Playtime can be fun but if your dog plays aggressively, sometimes it can lead to them fracturing their limbs. Fracture can lead to swelling in the area, and you can see your pet visibly limping or whining. In such cases, till your pet can get proper medical attention, you should first start by limiting their movement. Call the vet. Now lay your pet on a flat surface, some place where their fractured limb can rest. Find a padded board or make one out of a clean cloth and secure the fractured area with a bandage. This will provide your pet temporary stability until they are taken to the vet.
Summers in India are intense, and can take a toll on your pet. You can learn all about preventing your dog from getting a heatstroke in my previous blog. Read it here.
Despite taking enough precautions, during one sweltering summer day, my dog started showing signs of a heatstroke. He was panting excessively, his breathing became rapid and after a few minutes he seemed disoriented to me. I immediately moved him to a shaded area. I poured out some cool water for him to drink, and also placed him right under the fan. This helped his body lower its temperature. He was back to being himself within a few minutes.
If the situation continues or gets severe, after performing this basic first aid, you can take your pet immediately to the vet. Avoid direct sun and if you take them anywhere in your car, make sure the air-conditioning is on.
Experiencing emergencies with my dog reinforced the importance of being prepared with knowledge of pet first aid. Remaining calm and having a well-stocked pet first aid kit are crucial steps for every dog owner. My personal encounters highlighted the significance of stopping bleeding, performing CPR, rescuing from choking, and managing heatstroke. Remember, these tips are not a substitute for professional veterinary care, but they can give you the confidence and ability to provide immediate assistance until you reach a veterinarian. By being proactive, educated, and equipped, you can become your dog's first line of defense during an emergency, potentially saving their life.
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