A Pet Owner’s Manual: Dog First Aid
When accidents happen, they can leave your dog severely ill or with injuries that range from mild to severe. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury or accident, it can put one’s canine friend in serious danger of infections or other complications, including death.
The best way to minimize damage from harmful situations is to understand how to administer first aid. For dogs, immediate first aid can easily make the difference between life and death. This is particularly true in emergency situations when bleeding, suffocation, and/or internal injuries are involved.
First Aid Supplies and Kits
Dogs can encounter dangerous situations anywhere. When they do, their owners should have supplies needed to provide first aid. A first aid kit for dogs should be kept at home and, for people who are frequently on the go with their pet, in their vehicle.
One can find and buy a pre-stocked dog first aid kit online and in brick-and-mortar stores, but it is just as easy to create one. When stocking a first aid kit for dogs, include gloves and items for bandaging injuries, such as a roll of sterile gauze and self-clinging bandages.
Keep medications such as antibiotic ointment, antiseptic sprays or lotions, and a styptic pencil on hand. Because injured dogs may bite due to pain or fear, one should consider keeping a muzzle in their kit as well.
Additionally, because there are so many different reasons why one would need to provide dog first aid, kit contents should include a first aid reference book that gives guidance on how to stop bleeding, what to do if a dog is accidentally poisoned, or what to do if bones are fractured, for example.
Know When and How to Administer CPR
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is one of the most important things that a pet owner can learn when it comes to first aid for dogs. Like CPR for humans, this is a life-saving technique that is meant for dogs that are not breathing and do not have a pulse.
The goal is to keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other organs until the pet receives emergency care from a vet.
CPR involves chest compressions and rescue breathing. Before administering CPR, you should verify that the dog is not breathing and does not have a pulse
To check for breathing, place a hand against the dog’s mouth to feel for breaths. Next, look for a pulse by listening for a heartbeat or by placing a finger against where the dog’s leg meets its torso near the groin.
If the dog is not breathing but has a pulse, check for obstructions to its airway and remove any blockage if necessary. Perform rescue breathing if the animal does not start breathing on its own. To perform rescue breathing:
- Straighten the dog’s head.
- Hold its mouth closed and place your lips firmly over its snout.
- Breathe into the snout, or nostrils, gently until the dog’s chest expands. Repeat one breath every three to five seconds.
If the dog is not breathing and does not have a pulse, compressions to its chest are necessary. To perform compressions:
- Place the dog on a firm, flat surface on its right side. If the dog is a breed that has a barrel chest, it can be placed on its back as if it were human.
- Locate the dog’s heart, which is on the lower left-hand side of its chest.
- Place both hands over the heart and compress at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
- Perform approximately 15 to 30 compressions, then two rescue breaths.
Repeat compressions and breathing until emergency help is obtained or the dog’s breathing and pulse have returned.
How Insurance Helps After An Emergency
The medical dangers associated with accidents and other emergency situations don’t typically end once first aid has been administered. Dogs that experience a medical emergency should immediately receive treatment from a veterinarian.
Depending on the nature of the emergency situation, care can become expensive very fast. For that reason, you’ll want to have a pet health insurance plan in place that can help cover the costs.
PetInsuranceQuotes.com will help you select an accident-only or major medical insurance policy that offers the coverage that you want when your pet needs veterinary care.
We do that by providing comparison charts, independent reviews, free quotes, and overviews of insurance companies. In the event that your dog is injured, don’t get caught without affordable insurance from a top insurer. Get a free quote today.