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.
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-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 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.
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.
Avoid feeding your dog the following toxic human foods:
Follow the steps below to provide immediate care and reduce your dog’s discomfort until you are able to reach a professional.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dog owners may have wondered whether their dog needs boots to protect their paws from the cold and ice. It will depend on the individual dog’s cold tolerance as well as the breed and how long the dog will be outside.
Online research reveals the earliest mention of dog boots in the October 1972 issue of Field and Stream... Vets agree that their paws are vulnerable to serious injury during a sled race such as the Iditarod. Or any activity outside, especially in icy or snowy conditions.