A comprehensive guide on first aid for dogs


No one would like to think anything bad happening to their furry companion, but accidents may happen anytime, anywhere. So,  the best is to be prepared for an emergency so that you can handle it with ease. And when you are planning to go outside for camping, hiking or boating with your dog, you must carry an all-inclusive first aid kit specially designed for dog’s outing.

To ensure you are prepared for any crisis, you must know which first aid supplies you must carry, how to treat common dog injuries, which injuries demand immediate vet trips, etc. Here we have put together a comprehensive guide on first aid for dogs which will answer all your related queries.

Dog’s first aid kit


Generally, first aid kits for dogs contain basic tools like scissors, tweezers, cotton balls, and sterile gauze. Some also come with special bandages for treating severe injuries. If you are among those who don’t want to leave any gap in their preparation, you should customize your dog’s first aid kit. You should include a few more items with the above-listed ones. A warming blanket will help maintain the body temperature of your canine if it has gone into shock. Again, water purification tablets will ensure your canine can have plenty of pure drinking water, especially when you are away from your home. 

Other helpful items of a dog’s first aid kit list include antibiotic ointments, anti-inflammatory tablets, saline solution, etc.

How should be your dog’s first aid kit container?

The size of a first aid kit for home use is not so important. But when you are preparing for an outdoor trip with your dog, you must consider the size of the container. The material of the first aid box should be durable if you want to carry it in your backpack. Again, carrying a waterproof case will be helpful if you are willing to do water activities.

Common dog injuries and their first aid treatment

While first aid is by no means a replacement for expert veterinary care, your immediate first aid care might prevent situations from getting worse. Sometimes, it may prevent a wound from getting infected or sometimes it may save the life of your favorite puppy. To handle an emergency until getting medical attention, here are some of the most common dog injuries and first aid treatment for them:

1. First aid for a dog in case of a road accident:

First of all, you should be extra careful while your four-legged friend is with you on the road. And if anything unwanted occurs even after that, don’t panic. Injured dogs get frightened and might try to bite when you touch. To avoid that, don’t make sudden movement and approach gently. Muzzle your dog to control unpredictable behavior. If your dog can walk, visit a vet immediately. Because there might be internal injuries that can prove dangerous later.

And if your dog is not able to walk, you’ll have to carry it to your vet immediately. If it is a small puppy, you should pick it up by placing one hand at the front of the chest and the other under the backs. For large-sized dogs arrange a stretcher. To maintain body temperature and prevent shock, you should cover your dog with a blanket and head to the vet at the earliest.

2. First aid for a bleeding dog:

Excessive bleeding can result in a severe loss for your dog. That’s why, in case of bleeding, put on a tight bandage as quick as you can. And if that falls short, cover the wound with a towel or cloth.

If you have advanced bandaging materials with you, apply non-adhesive dressing on the wound and then cover with a cotton bandage. Repeat another layer of bandage if necessary. Always make sure the bandage doesn’t exceed 24 hours.

3. First aid for broken bones:


You must remain extra cautious while treating broken bones; because a broken bone can be severely agonizing for your dog. In such cases, you should rush to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If there is a fracture, you won’t be able to see that and therefore you shouldn’t delay if your dog yelp out in pain.

In case of visible wound or breakage, clean the area properly and protect the limb with a strap using a stick and some cloth. But don’t try to re-align the bone. It may cause permanent damage.

4. First aid for burn injuries:

Burning injuries are delicate and should be treated with extra care. When burning accident occurs, don’t delay a bit and pour cold water gently over the area for at least 5 minutes at a stretch. Then contact the vet and try calling at home. Don’t put on any kind of antibiotic ointment; but if the vet is likely to reach late, apply saline solution over the burnt area and cover the dog with a blanket to reduce heat loss and protect it from a shock.


  5. First aid for poison :


If the dogs come in contact with poisonous plants, they might get evident skin rashes or itching. And to the extreme, they might swallow such venomous things and get seriously ill. This type of accident might occur especially when you are on an outdoor campsite or climbing a mountain.

Hydrocortisone cream gives some relief in poisonous cases. And if it doesn’t soothe the dog, consult your vet for a stronger one. And if you doubt if your dog has swallowed any poisonous plant, don’t delay to visit the vet. He will induce vomiting which is very essential for your dog to survive.

6. First aid for cases when a ball stuck in the dog’s throat:


At first, try to push the ball out by tapping on the dog’s neck from outside. But if it doesn’t work and you see the dog’s gums or tongue has collapsed or turned blue, lay it on its side. Seek help from a second person. Tell that person to hold the mouth open and you push down on its tummy suddenly with force. This time, the ball should appear within sight and that person is ready to grab it.


7. First aid for poison :

These types of accidents are commonly encountered while hiking or camping. If your dog gets involved in any disagreement or quarrel with any other animal, the first thing you must do is save yourself. Then carefully try to break the quarrel up.

If you see your dog is bleeding, first clean the area and check if it needs stitches or not. Try to slow down the bleeding by pressing with a cloth and put a tight bandage. 

Your first aid kit camping checklist must include bandages meant to prevent severe bleeding. Meanwhile, make the necessary arrangements to visit a vet.

8. First aid for a sinking dog:

When you are set for boating or any other water activities, be extra careful about your dog’s safety. Yet, accidents are not predictable and you might encounter an incident when your dog is drowning. You are sure to get frightened but try not to act irrationally. Never put your life at stake while trying to rescue your dog.

Try calling someone or act maturely as the situation demands. When you have become able to rescue it from water, hold the dog upside down by the back legs till the water comes out fully. Then, provide respiration if you see it breathing with difficulty.

And even if it is breathing normally, visit a vet within 24 hours.

9. First aid for dogs in case of electric shock:


If a non-residential high voltage supply is involved, do not act irrationally and approach towards it. Call the police at first. And if it is home-based power supply, turn off the power first. If that involves risk, try to push the dog away from the power source with the help of a non-metallic item. If the dog is not able to breathe, immediately give resuscitation. Then try to visit the vet within the shortest possible time.

10. First aid for eye injuries:

If any chemicals happen to get into the eyes of your dog accidentally, flush the eyes with water repeatedly. If you have an eye drop bottle, use that solution or else, plain water will also do the job. Then apply a wet dressing to prevent irritation or scratching. Then visit the vet without wasting time.

Final words:

Now that you have the proper knowledge about first aid treatment for dog in general, dog’s first aid kit list, dog’s first aid kit for hiking and camping, you are prepared for any emergency. If you can act accordingly, your dog will get saved.

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