Dog First Aid – How to Prevent Suffering

There’s only the two of you, miles from anywhere and your dog gets injured.

What do you do?Dog First Aid

Any one of these simple first aid tips could save your dog much suffering and may even save it’s life.

Your dog is relying on you so don’t let him down.

I have made a start on this subject with some of the most serious medical problems that you could come across, but if you are lucky none of these will ever happen.

They’re just in case.

In a later article I will cover other possible first aid issues.

I’ve also put together a content list for a basic first aid kit. I have tried to make it small enough to be carried whenever you are out with your dog whilst containing enough material to be of practical help.

Distinguishing Between Emergency And Non-Emergency First Aid For Dogs

If anything happens to your beloved dog, it can be extremely difficult to do anything but panic. However, panicking won’t do them or you any good. First dog first aid is not complicated but it does take a cool head under pressure to assess the situation and decide whether emergency or non-emergency first aid for dogs is required.

Unfortunately dogs, particularly Lurchers, tend to get injured in inaccessible places.

The majority of first aid for dogs is non-emergency dog first aid. Every dog can be mischievous and gets into a variety of scrapes every day. Your dog may have had his nose where it should not have been and have a graze on his leg. If it is not bleeding heavily then non-emergency dog first aid can be performed. However, if it is bleeding quite heavily then emergency first aid for dogs has to be performed.

Emergency first aid for dogs must be administered whenever your dog needs to take an emergency trip to the vets. It may be that he had a severe burn, has heatstroke, has gone into shock, is bleeding heavily or has somehow injured his eye. Although all may be serious, the latter is especially important because once gone, your dog’s sight cannot be replaced.

First aid for dogs could feasibly save your dog’s life but all too often emergency situations are treated as non-emergency situations initially because a dog owner has not assessed the situation correctly. Just taking a minute to step back and ask yourself if you could successfully perform first aid for dogs may sometimes be enough to save your pet’s life. If you are in doubt, take a trip to see the vet anyway!


Basic First Aid For Dogs: Cuts And Scrapes

If you own a Lurcher it is not matter of “IF” they get cuts and scrapes but “WHEN”.  They not only chase things with total disrespect for anything that gets in the way, including branches, barbed wire, fences etc, but they do it at supersonic speed.

This makes small injuries almost inevitable.

The majority of injuries to your pooch that may require first aid for dogs are usually in the form of cuts and scrapes that are easily obtained whilst your dog is playing with another dog or human. We all know how easy it is to cut our fingers when messing around in the home, and this is no different for dogs. As a result, a basic knowledge in first aid for dogs is absolutely necessary for any owner wanting to do what is right by his or her pet.


It is easy to leave a cut or scrape to heal without administering first aid for dogs, but that is not in the best interests of your dog. Although the majority of cuts will heal well enough, what about the one that becomes infected? Dogs do not think about staying clean when they’re enjoying themselves in the mud, and it only takes one spore of bacteria to get into a cut to really cause a mess. This is the reason why it is necessary to administer minor first aid for dogs to all cuts, no matter how small!


That is not to say that all first aid for dogs carried out on cuts and scrapes will be of the minor variety. Some cuts are much more serious and require a good level of dog first aid knowledge. You should always monitor a deep cut and time how long it takes it to stop bleeding. If the cut or wound is still bleeding after four minutes then major dog first aid is required. Alternatively if common sense tells you that it is more serious, administer first aid for dogs straight away.


First aid for dogs to more serious wound is very similar to that administered to humans. Put pressure on the wound whilst seeking veterinary help. Once a cloth is placed over the wound, leave it there. Even if the blood begins to seep through the cloth, simply place another cloth over the top. If an artery is severed then plug it at the source with two fingers. This may sound familiar for those who have attended a human first aid course, but if your dog’s life is at risk then this can easily be translated into first aid for dogs and used in the midst of the crisis!


First Aid For Dogs: Coping With Summer Heatstroke

Although it ‘s not common in the UK Summer can be a hazardous time of year for our canine companions. If we humans are warm, we can head into the shade and take off our layers. However, if a dog happens to be too hot then there is very little that he can do to get cool. The dog’s fur may keep him warm in winter but does the same in summer. As a result, first aid for dogs may be necessary. Even with a short coated dog like a Lurcher it is still best to learn heatstroke dog first aid just in case.

As long as a dog has water, shade and a supply of cool air, it does not matter whether he or she has a short of long coat. Just providing a nice cool spot for him or her may prevent the need for first aid for dogs. However, if you do notice any of the symptoms of heatstroke, such as excess slobbering, panting and vomiting then you should be prepared to perform first aid for dogs at the drop of a hat.

The first thing that you should do whilst administering first aid for dogs for heatstroke is make sure that your dog is in a cool area. You should then massage the legs to get the blood flowing and attempt to give him or her water. If the dog is unconscious then you should not wait to take it to the vet. Being unconscious basically means that first aid for dogs redundant, but that should not stop you from performing it. Any dog first aid that you can perform is better than nothing at all because first aid for dogs may just save your pooch’s life!

Breath Easy: First Aid For Dogs And Respiratory Problems


One of the most hazardous things that could ever happen to a living being is when he or she stops breathing. That may be a statement that seems obvious to everyone that will ever read the article, but it is the one eventuality that owners never ever think about when considering first aid for dogs. What would you do if your beloved pet stopped breathing or began to choke? Aside from panic that is!


The most common cause of respiratory problems in a dog is a blockage in the airways. For example, if a dog happens to knock himself unconscious then the likelihood is that he will swallow his tongue. It is then up to you to clear the airways via first aid for dogs and attempt to encourage him to breathe again.


First aid for dogs that relates to the respiratory system is very similar for that in humans. You should always attempt to feel a pulse, listen for a heartbeat and look for any signs of respiration. Artificial respiration is also a viable option in first aid for dogs. Combining the kiss of life and heart massage on a dog can be just as effective in saving your hound’s life as it usually is on a human being.


There is one first aid for dogs situation in which you should never attempt artificial respiration, and that is if you think there is a slight chance that poison has been used. You would be putting yourself in grave danger if you attempted to resuscitate your dog if he or she had been poisoned. You should always take your dog to the vet after performing first aid for dogs where breathing difficulties are concerned, but it is imperative that you get him or her there before starting to administer first aid for dogs in this situation. By all means, try heart massage, but never go near your dog with your mouth.


Dog first aid has saved many dog’s lives in the past and will continue to do so, but if he or she experiences breathing difficulties then the odds are not great. Performing the process of artificial respiration may not save the life of your dog, but you have to try.


Your lurcher may well be highly prone to this. The list of things that can get stuck in a lurchers throat is endless, bones, twigs, pigeons, squirrels, Rabitts etc, etc.

So maybe this should have been number one topic.

I can remember when my son was about three or four he was playing on the carpet and I was set nearby. I happened to look across and he was sat banging the side of his head with his hand.

I knew there was something wrong but being a dumb bloke I was trying to work out what.

A few seconds later my wife barged past m, turned over her knee and banged him firmly on the back.

A small ball shot out and landed on the floor.He had been choking

My blood still runs cold when I think about it. Would I have decided what was wrong and would I have acted in time. We will never know.

Of course he was well and still is 25 years later but I have never forgotten.

So what about dogs?

Recognizing choking in dogs

Before I start this can I just stress that this is SERIOUS and you should be making all possible moves to get your animal to the vet even as you carry out these possible remedies.

Before you can take any action you need to recognise the symptoms.

It’s all very well to know how to deal with a choking dog but you have to diagnose it first. So here is what to look for.

  • extreme distress
  • lots of drooling
  • pawing at the mouth
  • rubbing his face along the ground
  • Gagging and retching
  •  If the object is causing breathing difficulties, you may also see coughing and blue coloured skin and mucous membranes
  • He may eventually collapse.

Dogs with objects stuck in their throats tend to become agitated and will make continuous efforts to move it.

You should act quickly, this is a true emergency. Here’s what to do:

  • restrain your dog — a choking dog will struggle and possibly bite out of shear panic
  • carefully use a pair of scissors or a knife to cut an object wrapped round the neck if this is the cause
  • open the mouth and look inside
  • use a large pair of tweezers or long nosed pliers ( if available) to retrieve or break any objects you can see
  • never push at an object with your fingers if it’s lodged at the back of the throat
  • never stick your fingers down the dogs throat if you can not see any obstruction, as this may cause damage to the delicate tissues at the back of the throat

Large objects, such as balls of hide, can sometimes be dislodged by placing both thumbs under the jaw at the base of the throat and using firm pressure.

Whilst driving to the vets or in remote areas you may attempt the heimlich maneuver. Only ever attempt this in an absolute emergency as it can be dangerous.

The Dog Heimlich Maneuver

OK this is getting desperate.

If you can lift your dog get hold of him from behind with his head at the top and his feet down and with you.  His back should be along your stomach.

Put your arms round him and make a fist.

Fit the fist into his chest just under his ribs. Pull up into your stomach two or three times with a thrusting movement.

This is much as you will have seen it done on people.

I f you Lurcher is too large to lift in this way, say greyhound dear-hound cross, then kneel beside him placing your fist in his rib-cage as before and thrust in the same direction.

Once the obstruction is removed your dog should begin to breath normally again.

I not give chest compress ions at a rate of approximately 120 per minute until you get to the vet.

If you have performed any of the above take your dog to the vets for s check-up even if he appears to be OK. He may well have suffered some slight damage in the process.

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