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Top 10 First Aid Tips for Dog Owners

Large brown mastiff with a red medical bag with a white cross on it

Pets can bring joy to your life, but they can also get into trouble or suffer from sudden health issues. It’s important for pet owners to know some basic first aid tips to help keep pets safe and healthy.

1. Call the Animal Poison Control Center immediately at 888-426-4435 or your vet if you believe your pet has swallowed a toxic substance, such as a cleaning product or foods that can be harmful. 

2. Keep a pet first aid kit available at all times. This kit should include contact information for your vet and the nearest emergency clinic, gauze, bandages, a thermometer and milk of magnesia for absorbing poison. 

3. Place a muzzle on an injured pet to reduce the risk of biting. Never muzzle an injured pet that is vomiting, though, since this can cause your pet to choke. 

4. Bring your pet to the vet right away if you notice signs of heatstroke, such as panting, reddened gums and excessive drooling. Try to cool your pet off until you’re at the vet, such as with a damp, cool towel.

5. If your pet has a wound, place gauze on it and maintain pressure until bleeding slows. If your pet has severe bleeding or deep wounds, see your vet right away for proper treatment and to lower the risk of infection or serious blood loss. 

6. If your pet is choking, check for a foreign object in the mouth. Try to remove it carefully if possible with tweezers. Otherwise, bring your pet to the vet as soon as possible.

7. If your pet is in shock after suffering a severe injury, keep their head level with the rest of their body if they have lost consciousness. See your vet immediately, and try to keep your pet calm.

8. Place an ice water compress on burns, but make sure you muzzle your pet first. If burns are from a chemical source, flush the affected area with clean water.

9. If your pet has hypothermia from exposure to the cold, warm them with blankets. Look for signs of this condition, such as shivering and paleness. Check your pet’s temperature about every 10 minutes, and seek immediate care if the temperature is below 98 degrees. 

10. If your pet has a fracture, keep them on a flat surface, such as a board, and bring them to the vet as soon as possible.

Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

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