Canine First Aid
Being prepared with CPR could help save your dog’s life.
By Audrey Pavia
Scenario: Your dog is sick or injured. What do you do? The first thought for most dog owners is to rush him to a veterinarian. But steps you take before you get to the animal hospital can mean the difference between life and death.
April is Pet First-Aid Awareness month; making it a good time to prepare should your dog need immediate medical help.
It’s important to keep a first-aid kit handy in the event of an injury. If your dog is injured or ingests poison, you can intercede on his behalf just before you take him to an animal hospital.
For your dog’s first-aid kit, you can purchase a pre-made first-aid kit designed for dogs, or assemble your own. If you decide to put together a homemade pet first-aid kit, gather the following items:
- Emergency information: Your veterinarian’s phone number and the number of an emergency referral veterinary hospital where you can take your dog after hours. (Visit the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society website to search for a local emergency hospital) Keep the number of the Animal Poison Control Center in the first-aid kit as well (888-4ANI-HELP).
- Gauze: A roll of gauze to wrap a wound or tie around your dog’s muzzle to keep him from biting if he’s injured.
- Towels and cloth: Small towels or strips of clean cloth to control bleeding or protect a wound.
- Adhesive wrap: An adhesive wrap made especially for use on animals to wrap gauze or cloth bandages.
- Milk of Magnesia or activated charcoal: To absorb toxins in case your dog ingests poison. (Contact a vet or Poison Control Center before administering.)
- Hydrogen peroxide: To induce vomiting when giving orally in the event a dog has swallowed something poisonous. (Contact a vet or Poison Control Center before administering.)
- Thermometer: A digital fever thermometer for determining your dog’s rectal temperature. (This information can be reported to your vet upon arrival at the hospital.)
Keep your dog’s first-aid kit in a bag or box clearly labeled and place it somewhere you will remember in case an emergency occurs. Always take your dog to a vet immediately after you apply first aid.
Pet First Aid & CPR
Knowing how to perform CPR on your dog in the event he stops breathing can be a lifesaver. Understanding how to manage a wound or electric shock can make a difference in your dog’s survival.
The Red Cross offers pet first-aid classes around the country that are designed to teach you how to manage emergencies when they come up. You will learn how to respond to health emergencies and provide basic first aid for pets. You can take either Dog First Aid, or Cat and Dog First Aid.
The courses cover the following:
- Understanding basic pet owner responsibilities
- Administering medicine
- Managing breathing and cardiac emergencies
- Managing urgent care situation
- Treating wounds
- Treating electrical shock
- Caring for eye, foot and ear injuries
- Preparing for disasters
About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.