DIY First Aid Tips and First Aid Kit for Your Dog
As a dog owner, you must be prepared for nearly anything to happen–including accidents that require first aid. You’re the person that spends the most time with your dog, you need to be prepared to be the first to respond in case of an accident. Knowing what to do should your dog get injured could be a matter of life or death as you make your way to the veterinarian. The first step to keeping your dog safe is to put together a DIY dog first aid kit, the next is to know what to do in a variety of situations. In this article, you will learn to do both of these.
Here are some basic doggy first-aid tips that you might find helpful.
Record Emergency Phone Numbers
Of course, you have your veterinarian’s phone number, but you need a few other numbers on-hand for those unique emergency situations. Keep the number and location of an emergency veterinarian and clinic in case your dog gets into trouble after business hours.
You also want to save the number to the Pet Poison Helpline:
- Australia 1300 TOX PET
- New Zealand 0800 TOX PET
Hopefully, you will never need them, but it's comforting to know that they are there, just in case.
Put Together Your Dog First Aid Kit
While there are many first aid kits on the market, few have everything you need to respond to the wide range of medical emergencies dogs can get into. So, you will want to create your own and keep it somewhere easy to locate.
You want it to include:
- Absorbent gauze pads to clean and cover wounds
- Alcohol wipes to clean wounds
- Antibiotic ointment
- Cotton balls or swabs to clean wounds
- Digital thermometer (anal, not oral)
- Disposable gloves
- Flashlight and magnifying glass (Yes, they come in handy!)
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Ice pack
- Muzzle (even the sweetest dogs may react by snapping when wounded)
- Saline solution for flushing eyes
- Scissors to cut gauze strips and pads
- Silver sulfadiazine ointment for treating burns
- Styptic powder to help stop the bleeding of minor wounds
- Towels to clean, warm and immobilize your dog
- Tweezers to remove thorns, ticks, etc.
- Vet wrap to secure gauze covering wounds
While you don’t need everything on this list, it is a good idea to have most of the things. Keep in mind, you might want a first aid kit for the home and another for the car. If you don’t opt for two, remember to always take your kit with you when you are travelling with your forever friend!
How to Respond to the Most Common Dog Emergencies
You can’t always predict when and where your doggo might need help, so the wise dog pawrent will do their best to be prepared. Many organisations offer first aid courses for pet owners. Taking one is a great way to build your knowledge and give you some hands-on experience.
In the meantime, read over these scenarios, so you don’t waste time Googling what to do should your dog find themselves in trouble.
If your furry friend gets burned or scalded, here is what to do:
- The first thing that you want to do is to cool the burn by running cool water over the area that is affected. Don’t touch the burn, and if you must, use sterile gloves so that it doesn’t get infected.
- You can also cool and clean the area using saline solution.
- Do not apply any creams or ointments. You do not want to apply ice either.
- Get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
- Apply silver sulfadiazine ointment and cover with sterile gauze until you can get your dog to a vet or an emergency clinic.
Get your dog to a professional as soon as possible, especially if the burn begins to blister. We recommend calling your vet on the way, so they’re ready to go when you arrive.
If your dog’s collar is hung up or tangled, untangle it as quickly as you can. If they are breathing and seem fine, great, but of your dog still shows signs of distress, take them to your vet as quickly as you can–there could be damage to your dog’s trachea.
Before you do anything else:
- Secure your dog so that you can work.
- Open their jaws with both hands.
- Cover their teeth with their lips.
- Use a flashlight, if one is available to look for the obstruction in their mouth. If you see it and are not at risk of getting bit, remove it.
- If you can’t remove the object with your fingers, use tweezers or tongs–make sure that you don’t force it farther down their throat.
- If there is a ball or some other toy, apply pressure under both sides of your dog’s jaw and try to press it up and out.
- If this does not work, immediately take your dog to the vet or an emergency pet clinic.
If that doesn’t work and you can’t get your dog to the vet, try the Heimlich Maneuver.
If your dog is unconscious and there is no heartbeat and they have stopped breathing, you can perform CPR. This process is quite complicated, so we will leave it to the experts… For more comprehensive instructions, consult the Red Cross.
Cuts and Wounds
Maybe you will never need to know how to treat your furry friend if they get a cut or are bitten by another animal, but it is comforting to know how to do it, just in case. Here’s what you should do:
- Muzzle your dog because they might nip at you when you are treating their cut.
- Stop the bleeding first by applying gentle pressure on the wound.
- You might need to shave the area if there is a lot of hair.
- Clean the wound by spraying it with water or saline solution.
- If there is any debris, remove it with a pair of tweezers.
- Disinfect the area with betadine or chlorhexidine.
- Put a little antibiotic ointment on a gauze dressing and cover the wound.
- Hold it in place with tape or wrap gauze around it.
- Take your dog to a vet for additional treatment.
Poisons and Chemicals
There are many types of chemicals and poisons that your dog might get into, so make sure that you have the phone number of the appropriate pet poison hotline available just in case you ever need it.
If your doggo has ingested something or you think that your dog has, look for and record the symptoms. This information is needed when you call your vet or the hotline.
Depending on what your dog has come in contact with, you might need to make them vomit. To do this, you will need one of the following:
- Salt water–Follow instructions from your vet because ingesting large amounts of salt can cause other health problems.
- Hydrogen peroxide–3% hydrogen peroxide at 1-2 teaspoons per 10 lbs
- Ipecac–mix equal parts Ipecac and water, then give your dog 1 ml per lb.
Your vet or the poison hotline will let you know which is best for your circumstance.
Remember, “an ounce of prevention…” Try to keep all cleaning products, pesticides, petroleum products in a place that your dog can’t go. It will save you a lot of work and stress, and it may very well save your dog’s life.
When these happen, remain calm–your dog really can’t feel these and they are probably unconscious.
But if your dog has never had one, this is what to do:
- Hold your dog gently so that they don’t hurt themselves.
- Check the time because you will need to know how long the seizure lasts.
- Talk in a calm tone to your dog.
- If it lasts more than a couple of minutes, your dog could overheat so you might want to apply cool, wet towels.
- After the seizure passes, let your dog sleep if they want.
- Call your vet and make arrangements to bring your dog in for an examination.
Most types of seizures are not life-threatening. So stay calm and call your vet when your forever friend regains consciousness. You still have many good years of great companionship ahead of you.
While shock comes in many forms, the principle is the same, your dog is not getting enough oxygen to parts of their body.
Signs of shock in dogs include:
- Pale or discoloured gums
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased and abnormal heart rate
- Low body temperature
- Weak pulses
If your dog goes into shock, get your dog to the vet or an emergency clinic as soon as possible. Your vet will know the proper treatment for the type of shock and will be well-equipped to care for your furry pal.
Protect Your Pet’s Life: Be Prepared
You love your dog and want them to have the longest, healthiest, happiest life possible. But accidents do happen. The best thing that you can do is to be prepared. Have a well-stocked 1st aid kit ready and have the necessary phone numbers. You might want to print instructions for treating your doggo and include them with your 1st aid kit.
Always remember to stay calm–if you are panicking, you won’t be able to help your forever friend.
 Red Cross CPR