Whether as a result of being sent for training or undertaking it on our own volition, a lot of people out there have had some kind of basic first aid training. Even if we have never had official training the majority of people will know how to dress a minor wound or what to do if somebody else is choking; and – let's be honest – it is practically impossible these days to get to 20 without knowing how to put somebody in the recovery position, and having had to at least once.
But what are we supposed to do if it is the family dog who is choking? Or if they have broken a bone or burned themselves? Considering how many people have dogs it is staggering when you think about how uninformed we actually are when it comes to knowing how to respond should even the most basic injury befall our beloved pets.
With this in mind we have decided to put together our Dog Owner's First Aid Guide, which should help you get to grips with how you ought to act should something happen to your dog.
Make Sure You're Safe
The first principal of first aid is to make sure that the area is safe and that you are not in danger of harm. So if your dog, in this case, has cut itself on something and is bleeding remove both yourself and your dog from the immediate area before trying to patch it up. Likewise, if your dog is hit by a car make sure that there are no cars around or that all the cars around have stopped before you run into the road to check on your dog.
The thing to remember is that you cannot help anyone if you get injured too, so always look after yourself before helping others.
Call The Vet
This is perhaps the most basic piece of advice you could be given, but what a lot of us forget is that first aid not supposed to take the place of proper medical attention; it's only supposed to prevent further injury & deterioration. If you are with another person ask them to contact a vet whilst you start to administer first aid to your dog. If you're alone call the vet before doing anything else, as they may be able to recommend a course of action that you would not have otherwise been aware of.
Do Not Prescribe Medicine
You should never give your dog any medicine without the advice or recommendation of a veterinary professional first, and under no circumstances should you ever give an animal human medicines. Just because it's a pain killer to you doesn't mean it will have the same effect on an dog, in fact there could be an ingredient in it that is helpful or harmless to humans, but is harmful or potentially deadly to dogs.
In Fact Do Not Give Your Dog Anything
This may sound cruel, but you have to do what is best for your dog in the long term. There is a chance, depending on the injury, that your dog will need to undergo surgery, which will require anaesthetic. Because of this, it is strongly recommended that you do not give your dog anything to eat or drink following an accident – Not Even Water!
Knowing to how act before you administer first aid is crucial, but once you know what to do and what not to do, and have contacted a vet, it's time to do what you can to help; which will be covered in Basic First Aid, the upcoming second part of our Dog Owner's First Aid Guide.