First Aid for Dogs: Bites, Poisoning, Heart Attack

Every owner should be able to provide first aid to a dog. After all, the life of a beloved pet may depend on some seemingly insignificant little thing. From a clean bandage and antiseptic to the ability to do artificial respiration or heart massage.

Sometimes the count can go on for minutes, so you can’t afford to get confused, you need to know exactly what to do and how. Therefore, here is a small veterinary educational program for dog owners.

First Aid Kit for a Dog

The most necessary thing is a first aid kit for a dog. It should always be at hand, in a safe place, and contain the most important medicines, antiseptic, and dressings.

Some conscientious pet owners, going on a regular walk, take a mini first aid kit with them, and they do the right thing. Often these people have already gained bitter experience and are trying to protect their dog from an accident.

Other disorderly owners, going on a long trip with the animal, to the country house, to nature do not care about their pet at all. They won’t even take a clean bandage with them.

A first aid kit may be required everywhere – at home, in the country, and on the road, and in the field.

How to assemble a first aid kit for a dog? Everything here is individual. The selection of medicines depends on what breed your dog is, what age. There are breeds that are vulnerable to certain diseases, such as epilepsy, allergies. Older animals are prone to heart disease, problems with digestion, vision, etc.

Where do you keep your dog – in an apartment or a country house, in a village, in a country house. In the house or in the yard, in an aviary or on a free-range – these are different conditions of detention. Accordingly, different drugs are needed.

Adventure travel can be very different too. A trip to the country house or to the forest for hunting, to an exotic country, or to friends in another city. Therefore, you will also have to take different medicines with you.

Here is a universal list of essential medicines from which you can choose what you need. In addition to the dressing material, thermometer, and syringes:

  • Antiseptics
  • Pain reliever
  • Medicine for gastrointestinal disorders and poisoning.
  • Antihistamines.
  • Cardiac.
  • Antidote for isoniazid poisoning.
  • Antidote for rat poisoning.
  • Diuretic.
  • Broad-spectrum antibiotic.
  • Antipyretic.
  • Remedy for otitis media.

It is also necessary to keep in the first-aid kit remedies for skin parasites – ticks and fleas and anthelmintic veterinary drugs for internal use.

Track the expiration dates of all medications and change them as needed.

Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before traveling with the animal on vacation or on a visit, on a long hike in nature, where there will be no access to a doctor. Before traveling by plane, be sure to undergo special training at the veterinary clinic, in addition to receiving the necessary vaccinations, installing a chip, and issuing a passport.

How to Properly Examine an Animal

Often, owners do not know how to behave when misfortune happens to their pets. They are afraid to touch their pet, so as not to hurt. They assess the situation incorrectly: they panic when the animal is almost in order or ignore serious symptoms because they were not noticed in time.

You need to learn how to properly examine the dog in order to detect injury and assess how dangerous it is. The main thing to remember is that her life depends on it. Therefore, do not panic, pull yourself together, and start the inspection, even if it is very scary. As a last resort – drink valerian or Corvalola and feel free to start providing first aid to your dog.

Give your dog a pain reliever before the examination. A large dog will need two pills, a small dog will need one. The puppy can be given half a tablet.

If the wounds are numerous, it is required to determine where the blood is flowing from. Place the dog on plain light-colored cloth, preferably white. In this way, all damage can be detected quickly and reliably.

Pay attention to whether the dog is holding his head, whether he is looking at you meaningfully. Can lick and swallow. If the dog is unconscious, urgent medical attention is required.

Pay attention to the pose of the animal. If it is unnatural, the dog does not move, cannot stand on its paws when you lift it a little – a suspicion of a spinal fracture. In this case, urgent specialist assistance is required, do not waste a minute.

Start the inspection from the head. Look very closely at the surface of the animal’s skin, fingering the fur and moving from the tip of the muzzle to the eyes and ears. Pay close attention to the neck, as dogs during a fight, for example, try to grab an opponent by the throat. Then move along the chest to the stomach, groin – these are very vulnerable places. Take a good look at the area under the tail, the anus. Then – the back, and last of all, the paws.

Signs of shock – the dog does not move, is indifferent to what is happening, body trembling, low temperature below 37 degrees, pale mucous membranes. Urgent veterinary assistance is required.

In the event that the dog responds adequately to you, there are no spinal injuries, you need to relieve stress and additionally remove pain. Therefore, at the end of the examination, give her Corvalol – 10 to 40 drops per teaspoon or tablespoon of water, depending on the size of the animal.

Assess the overall severity of the situation and then proceed depending on what kind of damage you found. In case of severe wounds, bleeding, fractures, poisoning, immediate veterinary assistance is needed.

First Aid for Biting Another Dog

Anything can happen on a walk. Not all dogs have a calm character and well-mannered. And the owners do not always meet understanding and adequately reacting to the situation. In my practice, there was a story with a Sharpei, which constantly attacked small breed dogs. Our dog friends on joint walks, Pekingese, were constantly terrorized by this bandit.

The kids received serious bites, one had to visit the veterinarian, sew up the wounds on the back. The owners of the other dog, after the sixth attack, filed a complaint with the police, there was a trial.

Therefore, you should always be careful. The attack can happen suddenly, you don’t even have time to react. I saved my lapdog several times, grabbing it in my arms and lifting it above my head. Yes, this is not an option – to substitute yourself for someone else’s dog. Until now, I was lucky, I got off only with fright and torn clothes.

There is only one way out – to train your dog, teach it not to provoke an attack, and not to attack other animals.

The main thing to do in such a situation is:

  • Find out the name, surname, home address of the owner of the dog that had a fight with yours.
  • Find out if this pet has a rabies vaccination if it is a carrier of any other infections.
  • Insist on meeting with the owner and showing each other the veterinary passports that contain vaccinations. There is no need to blame the owner of the other dog for something. Speak calmly, do everything so that he gives you the information you need. And only after that, you can act according to the circumstances – write a statement to the police, file a lawsuit.

If you cannot make sure that the dog that bit your pet is completely healthy, it was not possible – immediately go to the veterinarian. Even when there were no wounds.

Light Bites When Veterinarian Assistance is not Required

This usually happens when there is a fight between two animals of equal size and strength. You will not need to go to the veterinarian if there is no heavy bleeding and everything is in order with the rival dog’s documents.

On the street, it is unlikely that it will be possible to find all the damage to the animal’s body. Therefore, if you have a first-aid kit with you, treat the most noticeable wounds with an antiseptic and immediately go home.

At home, carefully examine the entire body of the dog. Treat any scratches and wounds you find.

Hair should be trimmed around skin punctures left by another dog’s teeth. They should not be bandaged so that oxygen remains available to the damaged tissues and an abscess does not appear. If inflammation of such a wound has begun, contact your veterinarian.

The dog has gone through a lot of stress, consider this. In case of painful shock, see a doctor immediately.

Severe Bites, Lacerations, Bleeding, Pain Shock, Stress

This happens when a small dog is attacked by a large animal. This is a dangerous situation, since the baby may die not even from the received wounds, but from painful shock and stress. Therefore, in such a situation, it is imperative to consult a veterinarian.

Only one factor is important here – time. Don’t waste it on useless bickering with another dog’s owner when your pet is bleeding.

In a state of shock, a dog, even very badly bitten, with fractures, can behave actively. Do not flatter yourself, grab your pet in your arms and run home. Perhaps this way you will save the life of your beloved pet.

Here’s what to do first at home:

  • Take a close look at the dog as described in this article above.
  • Treat the wounds found. Do not miss a single, even the smallest scratch.
  • Torn wounds are such injuries when the skin is torn by flaps of more than 2 cm. They will need to be sewn up, you cannot cope with it yourself. However, at home, such wounds need to be washed, a light bandage should be applied. And then already go to the veterinary clinic.
  • If muscles and blood vessels are damaged, wash the wound. Then apply a pressure bandage to stop the bleeding. This bandage can only be worn for an hour. Therefore, you need to hurry and take the dog to the vet immediately. Especially if the blood continues to ooze and does not stop for 20 minutes.

In the event that a large dog attacks a small one, the injuries can be very serious and life-threatening. Therefore, if the baby is unconscious, cannot move, reacts inadequately to the world around him, take him urgently to the veterinarian, save his life.

Fractures of the Paws

Any traumatic situation can be the cause of a bone fracture in a dog – a fall from a great height, a blow, the consequences of a fight with a stronger opponent. For the owner, the main thing, in this case, is to relieve severe pain, stop bleeding (with an open fracture), fix the position of the pet’s body, and show the animal to a specialist as soon as possible.

Fractures are different, a layman can accurately “diagnose” only with an open fracture and with a displacement.

Here are the symptoms of an open fracture:

  • Bleeding
  • Open wound
  • Shards of bone visible in the wound.

In a fracture with displacement, the change in the configuration of the bone is clearly visible almost at first glance. Careful palpation of the lesion reveals an “incorrect” asymmetric position of the bone in relation to the normal anatomical position.

Fractures of the paws are most often noted, here are the characteristic symptoms:

  • The dog cannot lean on its paw, limps, holds it suspended, moves on three limbs.
  • Severe swelling at the site of the fracture. The paw increases in size very noticeably.
  • The animal experiences severe pain if you touch the fracture site.
  • The paw may seem shorter than the others, dangle like “lifeless”, be too mobile.
  • The dog refuses food, lies motionless, or, on the contrary, restlessly moves all the time. Painful shock is possible.

What to Do with a Fracture

In the event that the fracture is open, the first step is to stop the bleeding. For this, a tourniquet is applied (only for 1 hour!) Above the damage. The wound will then need to be rinsed to remove dirt and tiny splinters of bone. Apply a loose bandage to the open wound using a clean cloth or bandage.

Only then fix the paw in a stationary position.

A displaced fracture does not require preparatory procedures. Here you only need to fix the limb. It is impossible to “set” the bone on your own under no circumstances! Ointments and all kinds of “folk remedies” will not help here.

You can fix the position of the injured paw using any available means – pieces of cardboard if the dog is small. Two twigs, planks, etc. Fasten with a scarf, bandage, belt.

Pain and stress can be relieved with pain relievers as described above. Then you need to deliver the animal to the doctor as soon as possible.

You should not transport a dog with a fracture in public transport – unnecessary stress and the possibility of causing severe pain. In a car, a large dog must be put in the back seat. Small – to hold in a comfortable carrying or on your hands.

First Aid for a Dog in Case of Poisoning

A dog can be poisoned by anything, even at home, not just on a walk. Even the usual table salt, if the puppy, playing in the kitchen, got to the package.

The main thing here is prevention, and it consists of the following:

  • Be careful and remove all hazardous substances so that the animal cannot get them.
  • Teaching the dog to order so that it knows which objects it shouldn’t touch.
  • Training the dog so that it does not pick up anything on the street, then poisoning can be avoided altogether.

If the pet feels bad and there is a suspicion of poisoning with an unknown substance, you need to act like this:

  • Induce vomiting by giving the animal a large amount of boiled water or a one-to-one percentage solution of water and peroxide to drink. Dose – 1 tbsp. spoon for 3 kg of the dog’s weight. You can not use soda, salt, mustard.
  • Next, you should give adsorbents – activated carbon. The rate of activated carbon is 1 tablet per 1 kg of animal weight.
  • Followed by a laxative – magnesium or sodium sulfate, a tablespoon in a glass of water.
  • See your veterinarian immediately

Dog hunters and simply inadequate people, at times, deliberately scatter baits with poison on the city lawns. This is usually isoniazid or rat poison.

Isoniazid Poisoning Symptoms

  • Drowsiness, disorientation, confusion. The paws do not hold the animal, the head is spinning.
  • Foam at the mouth, drooling, vomiting.
  • Heavy breathing, prolonged convulsions, medication does not help, coma.

How to help:

Vitamin B6 is an antidote for isoniazid poisoning in a dog. It must be administered immediately intravenously or intramuscularly. This substance is not toxic, so do not overdose. It is usually administered as much as isoniazid has entered the body.

However, in reality, it is completely incomprehensible, especially to the veterinarian, how much poison has entered the dog’s body. Therefore, it is better to introduce 3-5 g of this substance, you can twice after a certain period of time if the dog does not get at least a little better.

Of course, you also need to flush the gastrointestinal tract by inducing vomiting and giving a laxative and adsorbent.

And then immediately take the animal to the clinic.

Rat poisoning

About rat poison, you should know that this substance reduces the production of vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting, in the body. If the animal’s body has enough of this substance, it can take up to 5 days before symptoms of poisoning appear.

Therefore, in any case, if the dog ate something, picking up on the lawn, it is imperative to take all measures to cleanse the gastrointestinal tract. Even when there are no symptoms.

Poisoning symptoms:

  • Intestinal bleeding, bloodred vomiting, and diarrhea. Blood can come out from literally everywhere.
  • Lethargy.
  • Tachycardia, shortness of breath.
  • Convulsions, coma.
  • Body temperature 40 degrees and above.

What do we have to do:

  • Introduce veterinary Vitamin K1. If you do not have this drug, Vitamin K3 will do. Only a doctor can give you a dose, call the veterinary clinic and consult. The drug should be administered only subcutaneously or poured into the mouth.
  • Unithiol is an antidote for some types of rat poison, arsenic, thiol, sold in pharmacies. How to enter it and whether it is worth doing it in your case, only a veterinarian will tell you, so consult him by phone.
  • If the dog can still swallow while there is no seizure, sorbents can be given.
  • Give your dog plenty of water and tea at room temperature.
  • Go to the vet immediately, bringing with you, if possible, a sample of what the dog ate. In this piece, it will be possible to determine what kind of poison was used and pick up an antidote to it.


The owner needs to know first of all that heatstroke can be avoided by walking the dog in the hot summer early in the morning and later in the evening when the sun has disappeared.

Do not leave your pet in the sun, in a closed car, in a stuffy room with unshielded windows, make sure that he has enough water.

The symptoms of heatstroke in a dog are as follows:

  • Frequent breathing
  • Redness of the tongue and mucous membranes;
  • Thick saliva;
  • Increased body temperature;
  • Weakness or, on the contrary, overly active, hysterical behavior;
  • Vomiting, diarrhea;
  • Convulsions, convulsions.

The main thing to remember is that heatstroke can be fatal to a pet.

What do we have to do:

  • Move the dog to the shade;
  • Wrap with a damp cloth;
  • Give a drink of water;
  • If symptoms are severe, contact your veterinarian immediately.

First Aid for a Dog with a Snake Bite

First of all, know that your dog can and must be saved! Recognizing a snake bite when it did not happen in front of your eyes is problematic. Since the mark on the skin will not be very noticeable in the first minutes. However, if any suspicion arises, it is necessary to examine the dog very carefully. Most often, snakes bite the following body parts:

  • Paws
  • Stomach
  • Muzzle, especially its lower part.

At the time of the bite and after it, the dog’s behavior changes. This is what you need to pay attention to. Here’s what happens to the animal:

  • The dog suddenly jumps up with a squeal, tries to leave the place where the snake attack took place. This can happen in an open area covered with dense grass, under a bush, near an old tree stump, a large stone, etc.
  • The pain is severe enough, so the animal begins to roll on the ground with a squeal or wheeze.
  • Later, a swelling appears at the site of the bite. In the event that the muzzle is affected, severe swelling is possible.
  • In the period up to 60 minutes, other symptoms appear – shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing.
  • Violation of the heart rhythm – sometimes a fast pulse, then a weak one.
  • Involuntary tremors of the body.
  • Vomiting.
  • Bleeding gums.
  • Drowsiness, lethargy, which can instantly be replaced by causeless anxiety.

What do we have to do:

First aid for a dog with a snake bite should begin with slowing down the circulation so that the poison will spread much more slowly throughout the body. Then lower the level of histamine in the blood to curb the development of an allergic reaction. Since there is a chemical reaction in the blood that is unfavorable to the health of the animal, leukocytes gradually lose their ability to carry oxygen, it is necessary to support the respiratory system and the heart. Here’s how to proceed:

  • Lay down the dog so that it does not move.
  • Tighten the bite site with a tight bandage, but in no case apply a tourniquet.
  • Apply ice or a bottle of cold water to the bite. Change the water as needed.
  • Give the dog an antihistamine tablet or an intramuscular injection, which is even better.
  • Drink water from time to time, even if the dog refuses, to do it forcibly. It is necessary to thin the blood and remove the metabolic products of the poison through the kidneys.

Immediately deliver the animal to the veterinarian, postponing all your business and entertainment. The kebab will wait, you will catch the biggest fish next time. The main thing now is your dog’s life. The veterinarian will carry out all the necessary measures, including blood transfusion.

When Bitten by a Tick

The tick bite itself is not dangerous. Serious illness can be caused by an infection that the tick can transmit to the animal. This does not always happen, but nevertheless, after a bite, one should seriously monitor the behavior and health of the animal. At the slightest malaise, weakness, discoloration of urine, mucous membranes, skin, and hair, immediately consult a doctor.

The mite can be active – to dig into the skin and significantly increase in size, drinking blood. There is also an inactive state of the insect, when it simply crawls along with the dog’s coat and skin, choosing a place for a bite.

If the tick is in an inactive state, then there is nothing to fear. It should just be carefully removed without crushing, preferably with a napkin, and destroyed.

An active tick is much more difficult to remove. Here’s what to do:

  • Drop a little vegetable oil on the sucked tick;
  • Wait for a little until the tick, deprived of air access, loses its grip;
  • Then, with a gloved hand or a napkin, gently take the tick and remove it from the wound with a twisting motion. It is very important not to rip off the tick’s proboscis or head. After remaining under the skin, these parts can cause further suppuration;
  • Disinfect the wound with alcohol, apply ointment with peroxide.

In fact, there are many ways to remove a tick, some experienced dog breeders are categorically against the use of vegetable oil. It is advised to use special mite removal devices.

Remember that a tick bite can always be prevented. Use prophylactic agents – special drops, collars, sprays, and then you won’t have to remove ticks from the dog at all.

There are also natural remedies against parasites. These are essential oils – tea tree, lavender. Apply a few drops to the paws of the animal before walking or to the jumpsuit. The essential oil has a fairly strong scent but is not harmful to the dog. On the street, the aroma will dissipate and will not bother the animal.

The essential oil evaporates very quickly, after an hour or two, the smell will not remain at all. There are no traces on wool or clothing, as the oil evaporates completely.

But ticks will have a hard time, they really do not like the smell of tea tree oil.

Bee Sting

For some animals of small breeds, small puppies, and dogs, with high sensitivity to bee venom, its sting can be fatal. We must always remember this.

When a bee stings, a small bag of venom forms on the skin, in which a sting sticks out. It must be eliminated first, and then the wound must be treated.

You should act carefully, gently pushing this pouch, pull out the sting. At the same time, try not to squeeze out the poison so that it does not get into the wound.

The bite site should be disinfected with a mixture of ammonia or ethyl alcohol with water, vodka, or simply rinsed with clean water. Then apply cold to stop the absorption of bee venom into the bloodstream and thus prevent swelling.

It is imperative to lubricate the bite site with a hypoallergenic ointment. If you are in the bosom of nature, in the country and there are no such funds at hand, use herbs. Rub plantain or parsley into a gruel and apply to the wound. Dandelion milky juice also works well. Honey also perfectly draws out the contents of the wound.

It is imperative to give an antihistamine. Over the next few days, continue treatment with anti-allergic drugs.

In the event that an acute allergic reaction occurs, large swelling appears, shortness of breath – the pills will help little, injections are required.

For Epilepsy

Epilepsy in dogs is a complex disease with different causes, both congenital and acquired. Including – various infections. We will not dwell on this topic in detail now. The main thing is to understand how to act in case of a sudden epileptic seizure in a dog.

Owners of animals who are faced with a similar situation for the first time are usually confused and scared. Here it is important to calm down and help the animal to survive the unpleasant moment safely. And then contact your veterinarian as soon as possible, do not delay treatment for epilepsy.

First and foremost, don’t touch your dog during a seizure! Do not try to hold it or move it to a “safe place”. Do not use her name or try to comfort her verbally – this can aggravate the seizure.

Here it is important to provide the animal with peace and not to injure him accidentally by his illiterate actions.

Here’s what to do:

  • Give the dog space, step aside, move objects that may be traumatic – chairs, armchairs, cords from household appliances, etc.
  • If possible, you can put something soft under your head.
  • The animal needs fresh air, so open the windows and doors in the room.
  • If necessary, turn the dog’s head to one side so that saliva does not accumulate and the animal does not choke.
  • In no case try to open her jaws, as you only injure the animal. The tongue does not sink in dogs, so there is no need for such a procedure.
  • The animal is in dire need of peace and quiet. Provide him with this even if you are on the street.
  • Ask bystanders and “volunteers” to step aside and not interfere.
  • If you are indoors, turn off the light, provide twilight.
  • When an attack has found you and your dog in an uncomfortable position, for example, on the stairs, then it will be appropriate to very quickly move the animal onto a flat floor.
  • In the event that the seizures continue for more than half an hour and you do not know how to stop them, immediately take the dog to the veterinarian or call a specialist at home.

Your task is to record all the moments of the seizure: when it started, when it ended, was it once or repeated for some time, how the dog felt after that. Try to film the seizure. All this information will be needed by the veterinarian in order to correctly diagnose.

With a Heart Attack

A dog’s heart attack may be due to a congenital anomaly, illness, or age. At the same time, it is important to recognize it in time in order to help the animal. After all, his life may depend on this, especially when it comes to myocardial infarction.

Here are the symptoms:

  • Heavy breathing, cough.
  • A sharp increase in body temperature.
  • The mucous membranes become pale, the tongue turns blue.
  • The pulse quickens greatly, especially at the very beginning of the attack.
  • The dog becomes lethargic.
  • An unusual tilt of the head, breathing with open mouth as the animal suffocates.
  • Foamy vomiting with an admixture of blood may begin.
  • Signs of clouding of consciousness appear – inappropriate behavior, strange anxiety.
  • Convulsive seizure, followed by deep fainting and coma.

With myocardial infarction, you can also notice that the animal falls on the left paw. He may develop temporary paralysis of the limbs, when the dog cannot bend its legs, they seem to stiffen. In this case, the animal panics, squeals, and whines, because it is experiencing severe pain. Swelling of the abdomen and paws may appear.

It is necessary to act very quickly in order to save the pet’s life. When the first signs of a heart attack appear, you need to immediately do the following:

  • No need to panic, do the right thing!
  • If you already have convulsions, panic attacks, then try to calm the animal, stroke, talk affectionately. This will help to reduce the nervous reaction, which will help to stop the attack.
  • If breathing is difficult, give your dog a sniff of aromatic salt or oil.

If you do not know how to do artificial respiration for a dog, chest compressions, then do not even try to do it. Because this will only harm you.

After gently placing the dog on a hard surface, take it to the vet immediately. If possible, urgently call a doctor at home.

Take care of your pets, let them delight you for long, happy years!

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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