What are the first aid measures for my dog?

Just like humans, dogs can be victims of serious problems: traffic accident, choking, cardiac arrest… It is essential to know how to keep one’s cool, evaluate the seriousness of the accident and determine the state of health of your pet. In some cases, you can intervene yourself, before the emergency services arrive.

Does my dog have a fever?

Unlike humans, whose body temperature is 37°C, dogs have a temperature of 38°C to 39°C. Contrary to what one might think, a lukewarm nose does not indicate a fever. It is advisable to use an electric rectal or infrared thermometer to take your pet’s temperature.

Above 39°C, your pet has a fever and is hyperthermic. This condition is due to an illness (virus, bacteria or parasites), as well as a weakening of the immune system. The body temperature will rise to prevent the proliferation of bacteria. The higher the temperature, the more serious the condition. If it exceeds 41.5°, the prognosis is vital.
Below 38°C, your pet is hypothermic. Fall in frozen water, small puppy, senior dog living outside, small breed, diseases, freezing cold… Your pet is weak and shivering. It is advisable to warm him up quickly with a thermal blanket and not to move him too much before help arrives.

My dog is choking

Toy, food, fabric… Your dog can choke on the smallest ingested object. In this case, it is advisable to insert your fingers in the bottom of the animal’s mouth and try to recover the harmful object. If your pet starts to cough… Let him do it and he can expel the object himself. If not, you must apply first aid and perform the Heimlich maneuver.

The Heimlich maneuver

This first aid gesture is indicated to free the airways, especially in case of choking.

Try this maneuver on small dogs, which are easier to handle. Simply take the dog by the hips, lift it off the ground, head down, and give it two short shakes.
For larger animals, it becomes impossible to lift them. Stand or kneel behind your dog, depending on its size. Put one hand on each side of the flanks (or 3 fingers for small dogs) to apply pressure to the abdomen. Practice the action 5 times, then see if the stuck object is ejected.

Still without success, you can tap with the palm of your hand, with a sharp gesture, on the animal’s back, between the shoulders, five times.

Once the dangerous object is removed, make sure your pet is breathing properly. If not, practice mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, with two exhalations into the animal’s nostrils.

Be careful! Dogs are not used to this surprising practice and may bite you by reflex.

My dog breathes badly

During an accident or a state of shock, your dog’s breathing may be alternating. To calm him down and show him that everything is fine, you should stay at his bedside, not panic and speak softly to him. Next, take his pulse. Lie your dog on his side and look for a pulse in the femoral artery, which is located on the inside of the leg. You can also take the pulse on the left elbow, wrist or ankle. Below 15 beats per minute, your dog has serious breathing difficulties and must be taken care of by a veterinarian.

My dog’s heart is not beating anymore

When your dog is not breathing and its pulse disappears, it is vital to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This first aid and emergency procedure is the most impressive, but essential to save your faithful companion’s life, before help arrives.

Follow the steps:

  • Place your dog on its right side. Make sure there are no objects stuck in his mouth.
  • Raise the dog’s head and leave the nose and mouth free.
  • Perform artificial respiration by blowing once. You can observe that the abdomen of the animal inflates. For small dogs, breathing will be done both through the muzzle and the mouth, unlike the large dog, which is done only through the mouth.
  • Perform cardiac massage. Compress the left flank 5 (small and medium dogs) to 10 times (large dogs) quickly and firmly.
  • Alternate artificial respiration and cardiac massage for 20 minutes.
  • Check the pulse every two minutes to see if the heart has restarted.