10 Crucial First Aid ways to save your pet’s life
Timely help can save a life – with these simple yet effective & proven efficient methods and procedures, you can become the life saver for your pet
Dr Khaja Mohteshamuddin
Q1: Why is first aid required for a dog?
A: First aid is important because:
Timely help can save a life.
It helps to reduce pain and offers some relief.
First line of action in cases of trauma and accidents.
Q2: What is the right time to give your dog a first aid?
A: It should be given as quick as possible following an accident or injury to your pet. Always have your vet’s number and emergency contact if he has. Provide first aid to your pet immediately, do this in consultation with your vet and rush your pet to the nearest emergency animal healthcare provider or your vet.
Q3: Can you as a pet parent give first aid?
A: Yes. First aid is an emergency procedure to save the life of your pet, so anybody who observes the injury or trauma first can provide first aid to the pet. You can request for basic first aid training from your vet, which will be really useful at times of emergency. It should comprise a restraining equipment as your pet may bite you owing to its pain. Call your vet and explain him the nature of injury or illness and ask advice regarding the first aid. Rush to your vet as quickly as possible, but remember not to panic and also keep your pet normal, away from too many people thronging in and causing disturbance to the animal and his behaviour.
Q4: What to do in case your pet ingests intoxications and poisoning?
A: This is the most commonly encountered emergency condition in dogs. Many a time, pets may be left un-attended, at homes or in farms, and may succumb to accidental consumption of harmful and toxic substances, which may lead to sudden illness and the condition may deteriorate if not immediately dealt with. The common substances which may lead to this are: rat poisons, toilet cleaners, fertilizers, batteries, harmful drugs. As a first measure, read the product label of the consumed poisonous substance, which provides the details of the antidote. Your presence of mind in letting your vet know the ingested poison can save your pet’s life. If your pet vomits the substance, it is a good sign, as the body is trying to eliminate the toxin, so he now needs supportive therapy, your vet will do the needful. If the substance comes in contact with eyes or skin of your dog, wash it immediately with clean, plain water. Take your pet to the doctor and give him the details of the product consumed and quantity, if you can.
Q5: What to do if the pet suffers from convulsions and seizures?
A: It may happen as a sequel to ingestion of some poisonous substance. It’s very important not to frighten and panic your pet and he should be kept very calm, try to communicate to your dog. Hold a towel or blanket and wait for a minute. In case the seizure continues, wrap the pet with the towel or blanket or you can protect him using some cushions around him. Keep the pet away from sharp and harmful objects which may cause further injury and take him to the nearest available vet.
Q6: What to do in case your pet suffers from accidents or trauma?
A: It happens mostly when the dog is left unattended outdoors and sometimes, in indoor situations, it may happen due to falling of some heavy or sharp object on your beloved pet. You cannot ascertain the nature and severity of the injury, so take your pet immediately to the doctor. If the pet is bleeding, try to stop the flow of blood.
Q7: What to do for injuries due to burns?
A: It may cause serious tissue damage depending on the nature and severity of the burn. Cool down the burned area by gently pouring cold water mixed with some potassium permanganate (if available). Also, use ice pack as cold compress to cool down the injured area. In such situation, always consult your vet alongside your pet and rush to the clinic.
Q8: What to do if your pet ingests any foreign object?
A: This may lead to choking. Keep all foreign objects like playing balls, pet toys, other small objects away from your pet. The pet may ingest them accidentally while playing with such objects. When ingested, such objects may block the airway passage of your pet and may cause temporary anoxia or difficult or slow breathing. It is an emergency condition; try to remove the object manually if possible. Take the dog to your vet as the condition may deteriorate if unattended.
Q9: What if your pet suffers from a summer stroke?
A: Summer months are very hot in most parts of India, and it may lead to sunstroke or heatstroke in some dogs. As far as possible, try to keep your pets in a cool and controlled environment. If your dog shows restlessness and hurried breathing with saliva drooling from the mouth, eyes congested and red, body temperature rises, definitely it is sunstroke. In such cases, provide the pet with adequate amounts of drinking water. Wrap a cool wet towel around his neck and head without covering the eyes, nose, mouth and rush your pet to the veterinarian.
Q10: What is the method of providing artificial breathing to your pet?
A: In certain conditions of illness, your pet may stop breathing or it may be very shallow and deep. In such situations, provide the type of external breathing known as ‘rescue breathing’. Perform this external breathing process by shutting the dog’s mouth with your hand and pumping air into the pet’s nostrils directly by your mouth until you see his chest expanded. Once his chest is expanded, continue the process of ‘rescue breathing’ once in every 4-5 seconds.
(Dr Khaja Mohteshamuddin, MVSc (Repro), MBA (HR) is assistant professor, APMC Hospital, Department of Veterinary Gynaecology & Obstetrics, Veterinary College, KVAFSU, Bidar, Karnataka).