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First Aid For Dogs

Updated on February 8, 2009

Doggy First Aid

First Aid

If you have an accident and cut your finger you automatically without thinking clean the wound and then put a band aid over the cut, if your child cuts their finger you treat their wound in the same way of course you add a couple of magic healing kisses and the child returns happily to what they were doing before the accident.

We all have a basic Knowledge of First aid and most of us know how to treat minor incidents such as cuts, scrapes or bruising, but what if the accident happens to your dog, would you know what to do? calling the vet out for a minor injury can prove to be very expensive and in a lot of occasions unneccesary, especially when you can treat your dog yourself.

Basic first Aid for dogs is similar to that of Humans although you must take a little extra care just incase your dog reacts angrily when you touch a tender or sore patch, a dogs instinct is to bite to protect the area.


Basic Help

First Aid For Dogs (The Basics)


Dogs will deal with small cuts and grazes, without the need for you to get involved, they have a natural instinct to lick the wound until the blood flow stops, if the wound is more serious though and you have to intervene, a clean cloth and direct pressure to the wound should help stem the flow of blood, if the blood seeps through the cloth add another and a cotton wool Pad. keep up the pressure until the flow of blood stops.

If the wound is deep, seek proffesional help, your dog may need stitches.

Bumps and Bruises

Like Human Beings, dogs get bumps and bruises too and they can be treated in the same way as you would a human, hold an ice bag or even a bag of frozen peas over the swelling or injury until the swelling goes down.

Burns and Scalds

Dogs are terrified of the naked flame and it is quite rare for a dog to receive a burn injury but accidents do happen, paws get burned on extremely hot pavements, and puppies sometimes chew through cables and get an electrical burn for their efforts.

If your dog receives a minor burn or scald you should apply a wet cloth to the injury for at least 20 minutes, wetting the cloth as often as possible.

If the burn is more serious, send for proffesional help immediately and make your pet comfortable until the Vet arrives.

Keep the burn covered with a wet dressing covered with thick dry towels. Make the dog stay lying down, restrained in warm blankets. Give fluid as for dehydration, unless the dog is being sick.

Chemical burns

Wash burned area with lots of plain water, especially if round face. If acid, rinse with solution of 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda to 1 litre of water. If alkali, use plain water only. Apply soothing ointment; eg olive oil. You should, of course restrain the dog before treatment.


This often occurs if the dog is kept shut up in a house or car without shade, ventilation or water. It can also happen as a result of the dog getting overexcited or being under stress.

Signs are panting, slobbering, vomiting and diarrhoea, raised temperature and ultimately collapse and coma.

Remove the dog from the hot area into cool or shady area.

gently massage its legs and body until you reach the vet or the animal's temperature returns to normal.

Try to cool the dog down slowly and gently, working from the limbs toward the heart, with water or damp towels.

Gently dry dog with towel. If the dog is conscious, give it small amounts of water. Give artificial respiration if necessary.



Emergency First Aid For Dogs

Emergency First Aid for dogs is should be carried out on the way to the Vet or when the Vet is on their way to you, if possible whilst you are administering First Aid, you should have someone call the vet to inform them that you are on the way to them and the situation.

Breathing Difficulties

There are a lot of things that can lead to your dog having difficulty breathing, an object lodged in its throat, the dogs tongue, strangulation, electrocution, poisoning, drowning, chest injury or even a heart attack.

 If the dog is breathing with difficulty, clear airway and, if necessary, start artificial respiration immediately. If you cannot see breathing movement place your ear on the dog's chest and listen for a heartbeat or take its pulse.

Artificial respiration

Open dog's mouth, grasp tongue and pull it well forward clear of back of throat. Wipe away any mucus or blood. Remove any obstruction.

Remove any collar or restricting item.

If the dog has fluid in its throat or is a victim of drowning hold it upside down by its rear legs for 15-30 seconds.

If dog is still not breathing, start artificial respiration. Close mouth, place your mouth over the dog's nose and exhale to force air through its nose to the lungs. Watch the dog's chest for the lungs to inflate. Remove your mouth, and repeat the cycle about six times a minute. You may need to carry on for 30-60 minutes, until the dog is breathing by itself or is pronounced dead.

Heart compression

If you cannot hear the dog's heartbeat, strike its chest sharply with your fist once or twice in the region just below the dogs left shoulder. If heart is still not going, apply heart massage. Place the dog on its right side on a firm surface. Put the fingers of one hand on each side of the chest over heart area and compress it firmly but not too hard. Then release the pressure. Repeat 70 times a minute.

if you suspect that your Dog has been poisoned do not attempt the artificial respiration

Stay Safe


The signs of shock in dogs are: weakness, collapse, coma, unconsciousness, pale colour of mouth, lips and eyelids, coolness of skin and legs, rapid but weak pulse, rapid respiration, staring eyes and dilated pupils. If any or all of these signs occur after an accident illness, treat for shock as below and call the vet immediately.

Keep airways open, giving artificial respiration or heart massage as necessary, bandage or splint any fracture or extensive wound.

Wrap the dog in a thick cloth or towel to conserve body heat. If the dog is unconscious, keep its head as low as, or lower than, the rest of the body. Gently massage legs and muscles to maintain circulation unless you suspect that they may be fractured or broken. If the dog is conscious and restless, keep it horizontal and well wrapped up.

Seek Professional help as soon as Possible.

Safety First

IF you come across an injured or unconscious Animal, your first instinct is to rush over to it and help the poor thing.


There could be danger to you and if you have an accident you will not be of much help to the injured animal. do not approach an injured or unconscious animal or Human for that matter unless you are 100% sure that it is safe for you to do so.

Assess the Situation

Are there any dangers to you, obstacles, electrical wiring, broken glass anything that will our could be a potential danger to you or the animal.


Make the area safe, turn off electrics, remove the broken glass, move obstacles away if you can.

Call for Professional Help

If the area is unsafe call for help, the fire department are trained for these types of situation.

If the area is safe then you can begin first aid and either ask someone to call the Vet or call the Vet yourself.



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    • profile image

      Deborah Ann Walton 

      6 years ago

      This is worth knowing. Thank you :o)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Its christmas and I can't find a vet opened. My dog got hit by car his eyes were dialted but, aren t anymore. His back leg and front paw on rightside. He isn't bleeding. His gums aren't pale. He will eat but won't drink? What should I do?

    • profile image

      Tommy Sanchez 

      8 years ago

      my chihuahua has like a small bump on his lower lip and the skin is peeling off...should i leave it alone or what??

    • Muthusamy R profile image

      Muthusamy R 

      9 years ago from CHENNAI India

      Excellent information

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      9 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Having just rescued a dog I am going to make sure we keep this information to hand, just in case.

    • profile image

      Sherry Balcom 

      9 years ago

      It is always great to have knowledge about man's best friend. Living on a farm animal care is vital and growing up we had to use a couple of those methods. Great stuff.

    • Jennifer Bhala profile image

      Jennifer Bhala 

      9 years ago from Upstate New York

      Great Info. SOunds like SY added to it with some pertinent info. We have a cross between a pug and blue healer.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Good information

    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      James Paterson 

      9 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Sybille thanks for your comment, I have changed the offending paragraph, I did research the topic thouroughly but found some wrong information in the process, thanks for pointing out my error I appreciate it very much.....jimmy

    • Sybille Yates profile image

      Sybille Yates 

      9 years ago

      Good idea, but some info here is only half true, this advice is outright dangerous "Soak the dog with cold water from a hose or immerse it in a ice bath" if you cool down the animal too quickly you will most likely kill it through shock, always apply the cold slowly, starting at the limbs and moving carefully heart wards with the hose/ water can/ whatever you use. SY


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