You Can Save a Life: Dog Emergencies

There are many people who do not know what to do if they come across a dog that requires urgent attention. Depending on your immediate reactions, you could save a dog’s life whether that dog belongs to you or to someone else. Below are some tips that will help you to respond appropriately in an emergency situation.


Two Crucial Steps

  • Whenever you come across an emergency with any dog, make sure that you stay calm and think about what you should do.
  • Be very careful how you approach the dog.

Dogs that are afraid or in pain can be very aggressive. Remember that you will not be able to help the dog if he bites you or if you yourself get injured.

Dog Emergency 1 – Traffic Accident

If the dog is involved in a traffic accident, try not to move him. He may be seriously injured or could bite you. Instead call the nearest animal shelter or animal control for help. If they are unable to come and help you and you need to move the dog, look for a blanket and slide it carefully under the dog always avoiding his head.

If there is another person around, ask him to help you lift the dog into your vehicle. If the dog is not giving any trouble, check for a heartbeat and any bleeding. If he is bleeding a lot, hold a clean cloth or a pad over the wound to try to stop the bleeding. Secure it tightly making it into a makeshift bandage.

Take the dog to the closest veterinarian and, if possible, call before hand to let them know that it is an emergency so that they can prepare for when the dog reaches there. Sometimes, especially late at night, you may have to find an animal emergency room.

Dog Emergency 2 – Burns

If the dog is suffering from burns, run cold water over the burned area as long as possible. However, if the dog’s burns are from a caustic substance, wash it off thoroughly. In both instances, call the veterinarian for assistance.

Dog Emergency 3 – Heat Stroke

If the dog is suffering from heat stroke, it means that the dog is overheated and is not getting sufficient air. A dog that is in an enclosed place, like a car, can get a heat stroke. He can also have a heat stroke in the open air on a very hot day. If the dog has a heat stroke, you may see him panting, frothing at the mouth, vomiting, showing pale gums or you may even see him collapse. When you see these things happening, do the following:

  • Remove the froth from his mouth
  • Put cold compresses on the dog’s pads, stomach and groin to start lowering his body temperature
  • Immediately take the dog to the veterinarian who will know what treatment to give him. Usually he would use cold water or give him some type of medication. He may also put him under observation.

However, try not to let the dog drink great amounts of water too fast. This may cause him to bloat.

Dog Emergency 4 – Dog Poisoning

If the dog is suffering from dog poisoning, look for these signs; bleeding, convulsion, muscular twitching, vomiting or collapse. Call the veterinarian immediately for assistance and follow his advice. Some poisoning cases may need to be treated differently. 

If you are unable to reach the veterinarian, you may try to induce vomiting. Mustard and salt mixed in water will cause him to vomit. Ipecac is also effective in these emergencies. You can also give the dog hydrogen peroxide (3 % solution for wounds) to drink. If you know what caused the poisoning, you can help by taking some of it to the veterinarian’s office.

Dog Emergency 5 – Dog Choking

When you hear a dog choking, carefully and cautiously open his mouth to see what is choking him. It could be a small ball, a bone, a stick or a meat wrapping. Put your fingers inside his mouth carefully and try to dislodge the object. 

If you are unable to dislodge the object, pump his chest by pressing down on his ribs and release immediately at five-second intervals. If pumping his chest does not dislodge the object either, do not hesitate to rush the dog to the nearest animal hospital. There they will put him under anesthesia and remove the object.

Dog Emergency 6 – Drowning

If the dog is drowning, immediately pull him out of the water. Pump his chest by pressing down on the ribs and releasing at five-second intervals to try to get the water out of his lungs. Immediately thereafter, take him to the veterinarian and explain to him what happened and ask him to give the dog a proper check up to satisfy yourself that the dog is okay.

It is normal for people to get scared when they come across dog emergencies. But if you know a few basic things that you can do, you would be able to help the dog. However, if you would be interested in learning more on how to handle dog emergencies, you could sign up for a course at any animal shelter or other pet related businesses that offer emergency courses.

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