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Many dogs at some point in their lives wind up with an injury or sudden illness that requires immediate attention. One way to prepare to care for your dog in an emergency is to put together a first aid kit to have immediately accessible should you ever need it. You can either create your own kit with some or all of the items listed, or you can purchase a ready-made pet first aid kit. Many dogs – especially active, athletic types – wind up with a sudden illness or injury at some point in their lives. It can be very unsettling and confusing for pet parents when a crisis with a beloved dog arises, which is why having an emergency first aid kit on hand is a great idea. On the inside lid of the container, add a label listing your vet's phone number, the number of the closest emergency animal clinic, and a poison control number like the ASPCA's Poison Control Center hotline at 1-888-426-4435.
Keep your kit in an easily accessible location and let everyone in the family know where it is. When a dog suffers a serious injury or the sudden onset of illness, your first priority is to keep calm (panic will only waste valuable time) and contact a local veterinary practice without delay for advice and assistance. Make sure that the dog can breathe by removing debris from its mouth and gently pulling the tongue forward.
Check for a heartbeat by placing the heel of your hand on the left side of the dog's chest just behind the elbow.
An injured dog is likely to bite, so if the animal is conscious, improvise an emergency muzzle. Apply pressure at the bleeding point with your thumb, or place a wad of cotton balls or a gauze pad against the wound and bandage it tightly.
Internal bleeding: Suspect internal bleeding if a dog has been in a road accident, had a serious fall, or suddenly becomes pale and lethargic. Blood, vomit, or water inhaled by the dog after an accident or drowning may stop it from breathing.
Cup your hands around the dog's nose and breathe through them into its nostrils for about three seconds to inflate the lungs. Rapidly and firmly pump the chest three times in succession, then blow into the dog's nostrils: pump, pump, pump, breathe, allowing less than a second for each pumping action. Repeat this sequence about 15-20 times a minute until you feel a heartbeat, then cease pumping.


Switch off the current before attempting to move the dog or use a nonconducting object, such as a wooden (not metal) broom to move the dog away.
The only sign the owner may see of a minor shock (after the dog chews an electric cord, for example) is difficulty in breathing shortly afterward.
An allergic reaction to insect stings or bites shows up as hives (swellings all over the face and body). Wasp stings: The venom is alkaline, so treat by washing the area with a diluted acid such as vinegar.
Snake Bite: If, on a walk in snake country, your dog begins to drool and tremble, and its pupils dilate, suspect a snake bite. Contact an animal emergency center at once to make arrangements for an antivenom to be ready for your arrival. If the bite is on the paw, a tourniquet between the bite and heart may delay the spread of the venom. This occurs most commonly when the dog eats a toxic substance such as prescribed drugs or garden pesticides, but some poisons can also be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Sticks and bones: Sometimes splinter and become wedged between the teeth or at the back of the throat. Keep the dog's mouth open by placing a wooden object (such as a kitchen utensil) between the upper and lower jaw. Alternatively, press on the throat from the outside, and try to push the ball up and out over the back of the tongue. With wire cutters or pliers, cut the hook in two, then push the barb through to the outside. Tape the ear upward onto the top of the head by winding the bandage over and round the head under the chin.
Prolapsed eye: Sometimes results from a fight, most usually in short-nosed breeds such as Pekingese and Pugs.
That way, you have supplies available and right at your fingertips to care for your dog until you can get him either to your vet's office or an emergency animal clinic. This is also a good place to record any other pertinent information you might need in a hurry, like your dog's license tag number, microchip registration number, date of last rabies vaccination, etc. If you're traveling with your dog, it's a good idea to either bring the kit along, or prepare a second first aid kit for the car.


This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. You can take the following action if unable to reach help immediately, but do not attempt first aid if you are at all uncertain of what you are doing. Place your other hand on top, then press both hands firmly down and forward toward the head. Bee stings are acid, so the swelling should be bathed with an alkaline such as bicarbonate of soda. Do not let the dog exert itself in any way, as this will raise its heart rate and spread the venom more rapidly around the body. If swallowed, induce vomiting only if the substance ingested was not corrosive or irritating, the poison was swallowed within the last hour, and the dog is conscious and alert. If you know what has been swallowed, take a sample of the substance, if possible with the packet label listing the ingredients. Use a blanket to lift the dog or, if severe spinal injuries are suspected, carry it carefully on a board or door to avoid sudden movements. Alternatively, place a large crystal of washing soda (sodium carbonate) on the back of the dog's tongue.
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