Canine first aid

First aid actions for dogs can – as for humans – save lives. There are canine first aid courses that will allow you to practice all the procedures that save, but in the meantime, here are already some indications and advice given by professionals of canine medicine. 

We contacted a veterinarian, from the National Veterinary School of Maison Alfort, who does not wish to be quoted, but who explains: “it’s first of all necessary to remember that the objective of the rescuer is to protect, alert and rescue. It doesn’t replace the veterinarian, but has the mission to recognize an emergency and stabilize it if possible”. With each problem encountered, some actions must be done to avoid the worst.

In case of suffocation

If your dog coughs, let him try to expectorate the foreign body that obstructs his airways. To promote this expectoration, you can always put it in wheelbarrow position. If he can’t evacuate it alone, you can put your hand in his mouth, as explained by our veterinarian: “don’t hesitate to put your hand in the mouth if possible”. On the other hand, if he doesn’t breathe more, perform a Heimlich massage: “for big dogs, it’s better to be two to do it,” says our veterinarian, “form a fist with your hand and place it in the bottom of the ribcage of the animal, at the base of the diaphragm. Then grasp your fist with your other hand and make 5 pushes up, J-shaped. The thrusts should be soft, but firm. “

Warning: the risks of pulmonary complications are frequent once the foreign body expectorates. See you as soon as possible at your vet to check that everything is fine.

In cas of respiratory arrest

If you don’t observe a breathing movement for 10 to 15 seconds, you must set (or leave if there is already) the dog on the right side. Then check the color of its mucous membranes: “their normal color is pink, if they are blue or white, it is that the situation is really critical”. Also remember to check the heart rate by taking the pulse of the animal on the femoral artery. “If you have a pulse, put your head in high blood pressure, open its mouth and check that there is no obstructive foreign body. If there is one and it is attainable, remove it”.

On the contrary, if the respiratory arrest is due to toxic smoke, clear your dog as soon as possible, taking all the necessary precautions, and make him truffle mouth. “You must put his head in high blood pressure and breathe into his nostrils every ten seconds.”

You must take the dog as quickly as possible to the vet and, if you can, with someone who practices a respiratory massage all the way. Our veterinarian insists: “the urgency is to intubate the animal and to know the cause of its respiratory distress, which can only be done by the veterinarian”.

In case of cardiac arrest

“The cardiac arrest is characterized by the absence of respiratory movements, the absence of pulse and white mucous membranes”. When confronted with it, you must practice a cardiac massage if you want to hope that your hairball comes out. To do this, you have to lay both hands down, back from the elbow’s intersection with the dog’s sternum and make compressions: from 80 – for large dogs – to 120 times – for small dogs – per minute . For them, the massage is carried out with one hand with the right thumb, and the flat of the hand on the left of the thorax. If you have the opportunity, ask a third party to take the pulse of your dog to check the effectiveness of the massage. Our veterinarian adds, “stop for 15 seconds every two minutes to re-evaluate the situation”.

After 20 minutes of massage, if your dog’s condition doesn’t change and you have not been able to visit the vet, simply stop the cardiac massage. “The prognosis, past that time, is really bad. It’s always useful to try a cardiopulmonary resuscitation and a failure will not always be synonymous with poor achievement, but rather insufficient means”.

In case of burns

If the burn is due to heat, you should immediately put it under water at 20 ° C, for about twenty minutes. If the burn is chemical, use gloves to pass under the water and make sure that the product that burns your dog does not run on other healthy parts of his skin. In the process, contact a poison control center.

When you bring your doggie to the vet, consider covering it with a survival blanket if the burn is extensive. Do not hesitate to take him elsewhere because “burns tend to get worse in the hours that follow.”

In case of deep wound

Some animals are more sensitive to pain than others. If your dog remains calm and allows you to approach him, cut his hair around the wound and disinfect it. Before taking him to the vet to assess the severity of his wound and see the treatments (antibiotics, stitches, etc.) he needs, make sure he can’t access his wound. To do so, you have the opportunity to put a collar or – and it is more likely that you have on the trip than the collar – to pass his muzzle. The main objective is obviously that the wound does not become infected and that the consequences for your animal are not too big.

In case of hemorrhage

This phenomenon results in blood coming out of the body by abundant jets: “the risks appear at the loss of about 20% of the blood volume, for example, 16mL of blood for a dog of 1kg or 320mL of blood for a dog of 20kg. In order to stop this flow of blood, it is necessary to compress the wound from which it comes, with compresses or a cloth, insofar as there is no fracture or foreign body in this wound. “Attention, says our veterinarian, if a foreign body is present, especially do not remove it. And do a tourniquet only if direct compression is impossible.

If you choose this solution, if you have no other choice, contact the veterinarian immediately. The time you put on the withers is important.

In case of bite

When your dog is fighting with another animal, it can happen that it gets bitten. In this case, our veterinarian recommends at first to separate the animals, avoiding putting your hands in the fight. She states that “we rarely know that the animal that bites carries a disease. If your dog has a wound, you can already rinse it immediately with saline solution after ideally cutting the hair.

And if your dog is contaminated or poisoned, you must first of all keep calm. “If bitten by a snake, carry your dog. If he has ingested processionary caterpillars, do not give him food, drink, or rub. Your dog needs emergency medical management. ” Finally, if your travel companion has an allergic reaction, it starts to swell suddenly, you must transport it to the nearest veterinarian.

Once you have identified the problem your traveling companion encounters, best practice the first aid actions that will save him. By following these different tips, you put all the chances on your side so that the trip goes well.