In our last post we covered how to act in the immediate aftermath of an injury befalling your, or anyone else's, dog; but whilst knowing what to do before giving first aid is essential, it is all but meaningless if you do not know how to follow it up. Before covering these basic first aid points however, and at the risk of repeating ourselves, we'd like to reiterate that first aid is all about prolonging and preserving life until professional medical care can be administered; it is not – and never should be considered as – a long-term alternative.
Bearing that in mind, we shall now cover how to administer basic first aid to some of the most common injuries that could befall our dogs.
We've all cut ourselves accidentally whilst wandering around the house or taking a walk outside, so why shouldn't we expect the same misfortune to befall our pets? Should you discover a open wound somewhere on your dog you should focus on keeping it calm and minimising its stress. If you have some gauze or any bandages around apply it tightly and generously, but if you do not then improvise and use a shirt, towel or anything else of the like.
If your dog is bleeding in an area that cannot easily be bandaged, apply pressure to the area with a pad or one of your improvised bandage-alternatives. Never use anything sticky on a dog, as its fur will render it ineffectual and you'll just increase its discomfort. Bandages will need to be changed every 24 hours, but as you will have sought a vet's advice long before the 24 hour mark, they will be able to advise you on how to act from this point onwards.
Whenever we see a broken limb, many of us will attempt to splint it; but please do not! The broken bone will not need to be dealt with as urgently as the bleeding, which will most likely accompany it, and any attempt to move or right the bone may actually cause the injury to worsen. The best recourse will be to confine the injured dog and encourage it to not to place any pressure on the affected area; and either await your vet or take your dog to them.
Much like you would when you burn yourself, run the affected area under cold water and try to sooth and calm your dog down. As we stated in our previous posts, you should never administer medicines intended for human use to an animal, and this includes burn ointments, medicinal creams and cooling balms. Burning or scalding can likely lead to the onset of shock, so make sure that you keep your dog warm and reassured until it can be seen by a veterinary practitioner.
Sudden Stomach Swelling
This should be treated as an extremely serious symptom, especially if also accompanied by dribbling, extreme salivating, gagging or excessive swallowing. These are all common symptoms of an issue with the digestive-tract, and you ought to contact your vet without a moment's hesitation; regardless of any other extenuating circumstances.
If you're alone don't even bother calling the vet, simply rush your dog to them, or try to push the ball out from the outside of their throat. If your dog's mouth (gums & tongue) are turning blue, or if it's unconscious, there is a second person with you and you cannot push the ball out from the outside, one of you hold its mouth open and the other reach inside and try to get it out; beware however that you may get bitten.
Another option, if you're with another person, is to lie the dog on its side and – whilst its mouth is being held open – push down forcefully on its stomach, just behind its last rib; this just might force the ball out.