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Dog First Aid: Keep Your Best Friend Happy And Healthy

August 09, 2017


The chances are quite high that the topic of first aid has crossed your mind; however, have you ever considered what you would do in an emergency situation that threatened your furry family members? Even if you go above and beyond to keep your best friend healthy and happy, accidents happen.

Every year, hundreds of dogs are involved in traffic accidents, suffer from extreme heat, or swallow potentially toxic substances. By knowing how to respond in these situations to provide proper first aid, you could save your best friend’s life.

An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

The old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” could not be more relevant when it comes to keeping your dog safe. By staying aware of easily avoidable threats, you can take action to avoid dangerous situations before they occur.


Traffic Trauma

Traffic-related accidents are, by far, the most common cause of life-threatening injuries for pets. Luckily, they are also one of the most easily avoidable threats. Keep your dog indoors, or on a leash when outside of the home.

Extreme Temperatures​

Extreme temperatures can lead to serious conditions like heat stroke. When temperatures spike, keep your dog in a cool, shady environment with plenty of airflow and readily available fresh water. Never leave your dog in a locked car on a hot day.

Even if the outside temperature is a rather comfortable 70 degrees, the temperature inside of your vehicle can spike to 104 degrees in thirty minutes, and reach an unbearable 110 degrees after an hour.

Poisons And Toxins

Noxious substances like antifreeze, insecticide, and rat poison can cause serious damage. Antifreeze is particularly deadly due to its sweet taste. Keep these chemicals out of your home whenever possible.


Select Human Foods

Avoid feeding your dog the following toxic human foods:

  • Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine: These products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting and diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and even death.
  • Grapes and raisins: These fruits have been linked to kidney failure in dogs.
  • Macadamia nuts: These nuts can cause weakness, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia.
  • Onions, garlic, and chives: These vegetables cause gastrointestinal irritation and possible red blood cell damage if consumed in higher volumes.
  • Xylitol: This substance is used as a sweetener in many products including gum, candy, and toothpaste. When consumed, this substance can cause liver failure.

Know How To Treat Common Ailments

Follow the steps below to provide immediate care and reduce your dog’s discomfort until you are able to reach a professional.

Treating A Bleeding Dog

Apply a tight bandage to the injured area. For areas that you cannot bandage, manually apply pressure with a bandage, gauze, or similar sanitary item. If bleeding does not quickly stop, get to your vet immediately.

Treating Burns And Scalds

Run cold water over the affected area for at least five minutes and then contact your vet. Avoid applying any ointments or creams to the area.


Treat Heat Illness

If your dog appears distressed, or is panting heavily, on a hot day, move him or her to a cool area immediately. Wet his or her coat with cool (but not cold) water and offer a small amount of drinking water. If the condition does not improve, call your vet.

Treat Fight-related Injuries

Closely examine your dog for injuries. Keep minor wounds clean and visit your vet within 24 hours as antibiotics may be necessary. If you find puncture wounds, especially to the head or body, consult your vet immediately.

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