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Monthly Archives: November 2019

Dog First Aid

Dogs, as living creatures, are just as subject to injuries and accidents as people are. In some ways, they are less susceptible – the author has seen dogs take falls which would have injured him badly but did no more than startle them – and more susceptible – not understanding human artifacts and technology beyond the most basic level, they are far more likely to be struck by cars, eat something poisonous, or otherwise run afoul of things in the human environment than we are.

When a dog is injured or poisoned, the first thing to do is to administer first aid. Unless the injury is minor (a broken dewclaw, a single hornet sting without complications) then first aid is given to patch the dog up long enough to get them to veterinarian – making them more comfortable and boosting their chances of survival in general.
The first item for a dog first aid kit is some antihistamine tablets. Figure out the correct dosage for your dog ahead of time, and if the pooch suffers a bee or hornet sting and starts showing allergic symptoms (often large hives popping out on the flanks or haunches), give them an antihistamine dose wrapped in a very thin layer of cheese to make it go down readily. If the dog is stung in or near their mouth, an immediate dose of antihistamine can mean the difference between living, and dying from a swollen throat.

Other first aid items include the usual injury kit for wounds. Gauze, nonstick bandages, and adhesive tape to secure them can be used to treat various kinds of open wounds and slow bleeding until stitches can be given. Styptic pads can be used to stop small bleeding wounds as well. Medical scissors with rounded tips are needed to cut tape and gauze to size, and can also be used to carefully remove hair from around an injury so that it doesn’t make a bigger mess.

Milk of magnesia and activated charcoal can absorb ingested poisons. This is not a cure, but it can slow the effects long enough to hopefully get them to the vet in time to be saved. A needleless syringe or small turkey baster can be used to administer oral medicines or just water if the dog is hurt too badly or too sick to drink normally. A muzzle, a thermometer (ear thermometers are now available), a leash and harness, and some disinfectant are also useful.