Pet Cover Direct

First aid emergency for Dogs

Having a dog means more than knowing about how to look after them on a day-to-day basis. You should also know what to do in the event of an emergency as some animal first aid knowledge may just save your dog’s life. The advice that follows is for information only and should not be reiled upon as a substitute for advice and treatment from a professional, qualified vet.

Be careful when approaching an injured dog as they will be scared and may lash out. If the dog is small it’s a good idea to wrap them up in a blanket or towel.

The most common accidents that need first aid treatment are listed below:

Injuries to the eyes

Eye injuries tend to be serious and so it is important to get them to the vet as soon as possible, Advice in an emergency is to to dampen the exposed eyeball and then cover it gently whilst gently applying compression.

External bleeding

Compression needs to be applied on to a wound to slow down the bleeding. This can be done by putting a compression bandage around the wound. Be careful not to cut off the circulation from an injured limb.


Diabetes causes blood sugar levels to become low. If this happens to your dog, but they are still conscious, then put some honey or sugar water on their tongue at repeated regular intervals. Then take your dog to the vet for them to measure their glucose level.

Swallowed objects

Dogs have a tendency to swallow things they shouldn’t - ranging from stones to balls. In the majority of cases the object will pass straight through them. However, if they are bigger objects you will need ask your vet for advice. Don’t try to make your dog vomit the object up unless your vet tells you to do so.


The first thing to do to a dog that has been pulled out of water is to clear their airways of anything blocking them. Holding the dog upside dog may get any water out of its lungs. If the dog isn’t breathing you will need to apply artificial respiration, and seek immediate help from a vet. A number of approved first aid for dogs causes will teach you safe artificial respiration techniques.

Ball lodged in throat

This can easily happen and, depending on the size of the ball, you may be able to press on the outside of your dog’s throat and push the ball up and back out. However if you aren’t able to do this you will need to go immediately to your vet. If your dog is starting to turn blue from choking then you will need to take action yourself. You will need someone to help you do so, one of you will need to hold the dog’s mouth open while the other reaches inside to try and pull the ball out, if this fails to work then lay the dog on their side and push down quickly and firmly just behind the bottom of the rib cage to try and force the ball out.


You dog could suffer from one of two types of fractures. There are closed fractures, in which the skin remains intact, or open fractures, in which the skin is broken. Obvious signs of fractures are swelling, deformity, a grating sound or feeling and a loss of function in the fractured limb. If you dog suffers from an open facture be sure to try and minimise the bleeding. In all fractures it is important to minimise the movement of the injured body part and give them support by using a splint (this can be made of wood, metal or even a rolled up newspaper). Get your dog to a vet as soon as possible with as little movement by the injured dog as possible. If you are moving an injured dog only do so if it is completely necessary, if they can’t walk slide them onto a blanket or cardboard in order to carry them, make sure that you keep them warm by wrapping them up


Dogs love to roam about and investigate everything and sometimes end up eating something extremely bad for them. There are a number of poisons that can harm a dog that include medicines, chemicals, deadly plants, pesticides and insect stings. Salt spread on the roads during snowy weather can also prove fatal - as can chocolate. If your dog eats something poisonous it is important to get them to a vet as quickly as possible. If the poison is on the dog's fur, wash it to stop further absorption into the skin. Speak to your vet before considering trying to induce vomiting to ensure this is appropriate and that it is done safely.

If you aren’t sure what poison your dog has come into contact with, get them to the vet immediately where they will look at the symptoms and treat accordingly.

Heat exhaustion or heatstroke

In either case of this problem, you will need to get your dog immediately to the vet. On the way there you should either wrap your dog loosely in a cold towel or sponge them down with cold water.

Fits and Seizures

If your dog is having a fit or seizure you will need to ring your vet in order to find out whether you should travel with them or if the vet will need to come to you. Fits and seizures can be the result of a number of things such as illness or injury. Either way your dog will need the immediate attention of a vet. Before this, there are a few things you can do. One is to keep the area around the dog clear of anything that could harm them and make the environment as calm as possible. If the room is crowded then get people to leave, turn off anything that creates a noise, such as the television. Making the room darker will also help to calm your dog.

Breathing problems

If your dog has stopped breathing you can use CPR in order to help them. With a large dog, lie them on their side and blow gently up their nose whilst you hold their mouth shut firmly. With smaller dogs you can create artificial breathing by doing chest compressions. However CPR can be dangerous to a dog that is still breathing and with a beating heart.


Burns can be the result of electricity, dry heat, cold or steam. The best first aid treatment is to cool the area followed by dressing the wound with a sterile pad. If you don’t have a sterile pad, cling film will do the job. Try not to let your dog walk around too much, and keep them warm by wrapping them up which will also restrict their movement. It is advisable NOT to put any lotions or cream on the wounds and get them to the vet to stop further problems such as infections.

Fighting injuries

Dogs tend to get into the odd fight now and then and in some cases can get hurt. If you notice our dog has become distressed or is shocked or injured, contact your vet.