Dog First Aid
Dogs. They are known as "man's best friend" and provide comfort to countless people across the country and around the world. Yet, just like people, a canine can become the victim of any one of a number of emergency situations. It can become poisoned, start choking, or become wounded. In all cases, an owner should be prepared to give his or her dog first aid.
The first thing a dog owner should do is to prepare an emergency kit. According the Dog Owner's Guide website, a dog first aid kit distributed by the Cincinnati Veterinary Medical Association contains the following items: gauze sponges, triple antibiotic ointment, rubbing alcohol, a 2-ounce ear syringe, a self-adhering athletic bandage, white petroleum jelly, eye drops, sterile pads, pink bismuth tablets, diphenhydramine hydrochloride capsules, hydrocortisone acetate, a sterile stretching gauze bandage, buffered aspirin, hypoallergenic cloth tape, hydrogen peroxide, anti-diarrhea tablets, bandage scissors, splints and a veterinarian's self-adhesive bandage.
One of the most common ailments among canines is heat exhaustion. This condition commonly occurs among animals that are improperly hydrated, locked in an arid location such as a house or car, or are overly excited due to external stimuli. Panting and drooling are early warning signs, followed by diarrhea, regurgitation, and fainting. First, the owner should move the dog into a cooler area and offer it water. If the dog is not awake, immerse it in cold (but not ice cold) water. Massaging its body and legs and also help to increase circulation, and thus body temperature. Contact a veterinarian if necessary -- especially in the animal is unconscious.
Administering first aid to a dog who is choking or isn't breathing is a little trickier. First, you should remove the dog's collar to see if it is the culprit. If that fails, force open the animal's mouth, grab its tongue, and pull it forward. Clean away any blood, mucus, or vomit and check to see it there are any objects lodged in the dog's throat. It is possible that the dog may need CPR or artificial respiration, which is NOT recommended unless you are trained to perform these procedures. Contact a local veterinarian or animal welfare clinic if you are interested in learning pet CPR.
In terms of visible, physical wounds or related injuries, the first step is always to restrict the animal's movements. The canine may begin to thrash around or bite at the wound, which will only make things worse. It may also behoove you to muzzle the animal for your own safety. Now it is time to give the dog first aid, based on the exact type of injury. If the animal is bleeding, apply sterile gauze or a similar type of bandage to induce clotting. If there is a broken bone, set it using the splint included in the dog first aid kit (or, alternatively, use sturdy braces to help set the injury and wrap it with a bandage). If there is a burn, make sure you apply an icepack or cold compress to the wounded area. And, once again, in all cases take the animal to the veterinarian once it is safe to move it.