Emergency first aid for dogs – Part 5 – Approaching an injured dog
The most common of all accidents involving dogs is the one in which the dog is struck by a car. To help you prepare as best possible in this type of scenario, read along and take notes of the following steps.
Approaching an injured dog
When approaching a dog that has been struck by a car, care must be taken that you aren’t bitten by the dog you’re trying to help. An injured dog knows only that it hurts and probably won’t be aware that you are on the scene in an attempt to help. Slowly approach the animal and see what his injuries might be.
While you evaluate the extent of the dog’s injuries, prepare an emergency muzzle using a necktie, belt, gauze bandage – or anything else from which such a muzzle can be fashioned. Affix it around the dog’s mouth and tie it behind the head. If the dog is bleeding severely, quickly apply a pressure bandage, tie off the exposed artery, or apply a tourniquet between the wound and the dog’s heart.
In the event of a broken limb, immobilize the limb to prevent bone-grating action, or the possibility of the bone protruding through the skin. Use cardboard, wood, chicken wire – whatever is immediately available. Even a couple of sticks of wood, with the aid of a belt, can be secured to a dog’s limb to help immobilize it.
Creating a stretcher
A coat can be placed on the ground to double as a stretcher and as a means of keeping the dog warm while he’s being transported to the nearest veterinary clinic. Please lift the dog as gently as possible. This is extremely important in the event that internal injuries are present.
The primary concern in the event of an auto accident should be the presence of shock and internal injuries; therefore, speed, and an absolute minimum of lost motion is essential if a dog’s life is to be saved. Broken legs and external injuries are relatively unimportant in the beginning, and saving the dog’s life comes first.
No food or water
One of the first things a person usually wants to do when aiding an injured animal is to give it food or water – perhaps as a way of reassuring the dog. This, however, should not be done since it could aggravate any possible internal injuries. A chain reaction of vomiting and further internal bleeding from severe vomiting spasms could then be brought on.
Every dog owner should become aware of the necessary steps in administering first aid. First aid – promptly administered – can save a dog’s life… and who knows, it may just be your own dog! But always remember, first aid, by itself, is no substitute for professional veterinary care. First aid is emergency aid, and does not replace the need for professional attention.