First aid in the dog: how to act in ten emergency cases


Sometimes, accidents are inevitable, no matter how careful we are. And let's face it, we can't keep an eye on our pets 24 hours a day. Therefore, Although we hope it does not happen, it is possible that your pet will suffer some accidental damage. Learn to help him in each case with these first aid for pets! We tell you about the most everyday accidents that could happen.


It is very important that you call veterinary emergencies as soon as you are aware of the poisoning, because depending on the product that caused it you will have to act differently. In some cases, It will be advisable to induce vomiting, but not in others. In some circumstances, activated carbon helps a lot to neutralize toxic products in the body.

Check your breath

To check if the dog is breathing, you can see if his chest goes up and down. If it is necessary to take the pulse it can be done by palpating the inner part of the hind legs. Let's meet several of the emergency situations that can occur with the dog:

  • Wounds . Before bandaging them, wash them with hydrogen peroxide or soap and water.
  • Burns . If no specific ointment is available, the affected area should not be bandaged, because it would be counterproductive.
  • If the dog bites a electric cable , you have to cut the electricity and cover the dog with a blanket.
  • Hemorrhages . The tourniquet can be done with a rope. You have to apply a lot of pressure near the wound. If it is not essential and you do not know how to do it, it is better to leave it in the hands of the veterinarian.
  • Seizures . We must not hold the dog, but we must avoid biting his tongue. You can put a handkerchief or cloth in your mouth, not too big. Seizures in dogs are quite frequent. If the animal suffers an epileptic attack, all objects that can be hit must be removed and covered with a blanket. You should not touch him while he is in that state, because he may not recognize you and be aggressive. After the epileptic attack, it is advisable to leave it in a quiet and dark place to recover.
  • If your dog presents suffocation symptoms After falling into the water, it is advisable to lift it by the hind limbs so that all the liquid from your lungs comes out. If you do not breathe, you can try to resuscitate by applying pressure to both sides of the chest. In the event that this is insufficient, the animal's mouth can be closed tightly and blow through the other closed hand, as if it were a tube, over the nostrils.
  • When the dog suffers a heatstroke Because you have been in the sun or inside a car for a long time, you have to act quickly, and make sure you breathe fresh air, give it a drink (if conscious), and lower the temperature with cold water baths. It is advisable to monitor that the rectal temperature does not fall below 38 degrees Celsius, and go to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • In case of hit him , you have to look at if you have the airways cleared. If there are doubts about it, you can gently stretch your tongue forward and remove any matter that could impede the passage of air. When you notice a hemorrhage, cut it by pinching or understanding and then control the pulse and temperature of the animal. In the event of a fracture, act carefully and gently, avoid sudden and unnecessary movements.
  • In case of finding spikelets or other foreign bodies in the dog's ear, do not try to extract them. It is better to leave it in the hands of a veterinarian, as if it is an eye injury.
  • In the case of bite For another dog, you can cut the hair around the wound and carefully clean the infected area. You can use warm water and a mild skin disinfectant and then apply an antiseptic cream. If the wound is very deep, it is better to consult the veterinarian.


Ideally, everyone has a digital thermometer at home, exclusively for dogs (because of which we measure the temperature to the animals rectally). The normal temperature of a dog or cat is 38º-39º. If its temperature is higher, we must go to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

First aid kit

It is advisable to have a first aid kit with the necessary utensils to act in case of emergency effectively. So we must not forget elements such as:

  • Sterile rubber gloves.
  • Scissors.
  • Elastic rubber for turnstiles.
  • An antiseptic solution
  • Splints to splint.
  • Sticking plaster.
  • Clinical thermometer
  • Tweezers.
  • Cotton, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and gauze.

It is advisable in case of accidents and emergencies to go to the veterinarian to attend to the dog, but it always helps to have some knowledge about first aid. You may have to follow the veterinarian instructions by telephone to be able to act efficiently and quickly. So first knowledge in this regard can help keep calm and save the situation.


If our dog has suffered an accident, it is likely that his breathing is disturbed. (Above 40 breaths per minute). In this case, we must reassure our dog, remain by his side and transmit serenity. Do not get upset or shout at his side, since you will only worsen his condition. He / she will look for information about what happened in you, and you must convey at all times that everything is fine.

If on the contrary you do not know if your dog is breathing, you should, keeping calm, approach your chest to see if there are movements. At least you must count 15 breaths per minute. Below these values ​​means that the animal has bradypnea (respiratory distress) and must be treated immediately.


It is possible that your dog has swallowed an object, or something is obstructing its airways, including a piece of food.

To do this, we will do a search inside your mouth with our fingers, from one side to the other in search of some object.

If our dog is coughing we will let him cough as long as he needs, as it is the most effective way to expel foreign bodies from our airways. Try not to overwhelm him or alter him, just watch that he keeps coughing.

If our dog has stopped coughing and we are sure it has something obstructing its airways and we cannot reach it with our fingers, then we may have to apply first aid for dogs.

Heimlich Maneuver in Dogs

The Heimlich Maneuver consists in making the object of obstruction outward, jump through the mouth. Before using this maneuver, we must use a couple of less "dangerous" techniques.

First we have to try our luck using gravity in our favor. In small dogs, the easiest is to catch them from the hips and turn them upside down. Normally, in a couple of light shakes the object will come out. In large dogs, we will do the same technique as with small dogs but without holding it in the air since due to its size it will be impossible and we can also hurt you. To do this, we will take the dog from the hind legs while keeping its front legs resting on the ground, as if it were a wheelbarrow.

If gravity does not work in any of these cases, we can give 5 interscapular claps (between the two shoulders) to our dog, as indicated in figure F of the picture. These pats should be rather dry blows with the lower part of the palm of our hand.

If the choking persists, we will perform the Heimlich Maneuver as we do with people. We will stick our chest to his back as much as we can, and we will even keep the dog standing close to us, and surrounding his chest with our arms we will look for the lower and central part of his ribs, in what we also call the stomach mouth. We will put a fist on its ribs if the dog is large, or 3/4 fingers if the dog is small. With the other hand, we will press our fist or fingers. The pressures must be firm and strong, but be careful not to break any ribs on our dog. After a couple of pressures, he looks again in his mouth in case the object has come out. We will try to catch it if we have access. If not, continue with two or three more pressures and check your mouth again. Once the object has come out, check that your dog breathes normally. If not, apply a couple of insufflations (see below how to do them) very carefully since your dog could bite you. It is a reflex act of defense after returning to normal.

How to find a dog's pulse

In case of a serious accident, if we have already confirmed that our dog is not breathing, we must find out if the dog has a pulse. To do this, with the dog lying on its side, we will look at the inner side of its leg for the femoral artery.

CPR in dogs. (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)

ONLY we can perform a CPR on our dog if he does not breathe or have a pulse.

The first thing we should do is lay our dog on its right side, and stretch its tongue leaving it as far as possible outside, to the side. With this we will avoid a possible choking. We will close your mouth with our hand, and even, for safety, we can improvise a muzzle around your nose with a garment or handkerchief, freeing your nose and mouth that is where we will give you artificial respiration.

In small dogs we will surround your nose and mouth with our mouth, and in large dogs we will only do it through your nose. We will give a wide insufflation, as if we were inflating a balloon. We have to notice how his chest is noticeably inflated. It is recommended to do 2 or 3 insufflations and check the pulse and breathing before starting with chest compressions. If there are still no vital signs, then we will apply 5 to 10 understandings depending on the size of the dog. These compressions must be firm and fast, with the lower part of our hand helping us with our other interlaced hand, and with our arms completely straight. We will apply more or less pressure depending on the weight of our dog. After every 5-10 chest compressions we will reapply insufflation. You should try this for 20 minutes and check your pulse and breathing every one or two minutes.

We know that it is difficult to make the decision to perform these techniques to your dog, especially if we are nervous and have no prior knowledge. But if you don't have a veterinarian nearby and the situation is really serious, anything you do to try to save your best friend's life can make a big difference.

As a summary, we have found this infographic that we find very interesting and reflects very well what to do in case of emergency. Do not hesitate to print it and have it at home.


Find the validation of El Cazamentiras at the end of the news.

Pets can have accidents at home or when they are outdoors.

Although some precautions can always be taken to help prevent these eventualities, it is good to be prepared and act in a timely manner to reduce the damage.

The first reaction should always be to go to the veterinarian, or call him to follow instructions.

Jorge Gallego Rodríguez, veterinary doctor specializing in small animal species and professor of emergency and internal medicine at the University of Antioquia, explains that among those emergency dogs that put humans in trouble are wounds, poisonings or respiratory distress.

Therefore - adds the expert - it is necessary to be very careful with bleach or cleaning fluids, which can be very toxic. Be careful also with insecticides, rodenticides and other poisons.

A limp may be caused by an injury when stepping on something sharp, especially in the plantar area. Such is the case of the thorns that stick between the fingers.

In the case of an illness, adds the Galician veterinarian, you should be aware of any changes in your usual behavior. If you are sad and discouraged, or do not want to eat or drink water, it is a sign that something is wrong.

This disease is more common in dogs of large breeds (Labradors, German Shepherds, Doberman). It occurs mainly after eating: the stomach ends up turning on itself, completely obstructing the holes that connect it to the esophagus and intestine. The main symptom is the increase in stomach size. When that happens you have to take it urgently to the vet to get all the air out. Do not give water or food.

Wounds can be caused by a glass or other sharp object. Generally in the pulps or pads, or between the fingers of the dogs. These cuts generate a lot of blood.

The first thing is to check that the object is gone and then press with a clean towel and put ice to help control the bleeding while you can look at the veterinarian.

The first thing to do is hydrate it. If the cause is of food origin, give serum. If the diarrhea is bloody it is better to take it quickly to the vet because it is also losing blood. It is not good to suspend food if you are hungry because long fasting can cause hypoglycemia. If there is also vomiting, food should be suspended. Diarrhea can be caused by parasites or an intestinal infection.

When the dog walks with its head half-sided or crouched, it is unappetizing or does not tolerate its ears being touched because it begins to cry and manifest discomfort, there may be a severe infection. Sometimes they get water when they bathe them or when they like to swim.

You also have to see that there are no foreign bodies, sometimes pieces of cotton remain when their ears are cleaned.

Insect bites

Some dogs love to snoop around, so they are likely to be bitten by insects or bees and wasps bite. Although not usually dangerous, some can lead to severe dog allergies. The bites cause pain, swelling and redness where they occur, usually in a hairless area, such as the nose or feet. If they are bees or wasps, it is necessary to look for the sting and remove it and open the mouth to see that there is no edema in the larynx, in that case take it to the veterinarian to treat the allergic reaction as soon as possible.

There are many causes, but it is common for a foreign body, it can be a toy or a bone. If you are sure that the dog swallowed something you should do the Heimlich maneuver, in which an abdominal compression is done near the sternum, the ejection reflex is pressed and generated so that the dog coughs. If it fails, you should explore the mouth and try to remove it with the index finger, like a hook, being careful not to sink it further.

There are many agents that cause poisoning in dogs. There are many chemicals in the home, such as those with chlorine, or mouse poison. In this case you have to act quickly and try to know what caused it. Symptoms can be dilated pupils, seizures, excessive salivation. While arriving at the veterinarian you can induce vomiting to delay the action of the toxic.

Build your medicine cabinet

Sterile rubber gloves.
Elastic rubber for turnstiles.
An antiseptic solution
Splints to splint.
Sticking plaster.
Clinical thermometer
The temperature between 37.5 and 39.9 is normal, from there upwards there may be fever.

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Strong blows (falls, injuries, abuses ...)

It is very important that you manipulate your pet as little as possible, if it has something broken it could get worse. But nevertheless, With care you should take it to a safe place and immobilize the affected area, before running to the emergency room. In the car, keep the windows down and take someone with you who can keep an eye on your pet.

Cuts, bites and bites

In the case of bites, if it is an animal that leaves the stinger, you will have to extract it very carefully and then wash the sting. Learn here how to act if your dog is bitten by a bee or a wasp.

If it is a slight cut, wash it and disinfect it. In case the bleeding is abundant and the wound is very serious, you need urgent veterinary attention, run to the clinic! Make a tourniquet to stop bleeding along the way.

If it's a leg, don't let it be used when walking, you shouldn't support it! You need immediate medical attention.

Remember, the most important thing is the chest, If you think your dog has a broken rib, do nothing but go to the emergency room. If you manipulate his body a lot, his condition could get worse.

How to take a dog's temperature

The best way to take a dog's temperature is rectally. You will find special thermometers for pets in specialized stores.

Brush the tip of the thermometer with oil or petroleum jelly to facilitate insertion and insert it about 2 or 3 cm into the rectum of the animal, depending on its size. It is necessary that you keep your dog very still so that the measurement is reliable, ask for help for someone to hold it! The thermometer should remain within about a minute.

When finished, clean it with alcohol.

How to take a dog's pulse

The heart rate of dogs is between 80 and 140 beats per minute, it is a fairly wide range, but it depends on factors such as the size of the dog and its age. Small dogs have a faster heart rate than large dogs. In the case of cats, the beats per minute are between 140 and 240.

If you have doubts about what your pet's ideal heart rate should be, consult the veterinarian. Knowing what your dog's pulse is is one of the first steps to proceed after giving the necessary first aid for pets.

How do you take a dog or cat's pulse? The easiest way to do this is to access the heart with your hand, behind the elbow of the left front leg. Each bum-bum counts as a beat.

How to measure the respiratory rate of an animal

Breathing is one of the vital signs that you must know to estimate the status of your pet. You just have to observe and count how many times your chest swells and deflates per minute: the normal thing in a dog is 10 to 30 times per minute, while in cats it goes from 20 to 40.

It also addresses possible breathing difficulties, such as agitation, wheezing or snoring.

You already know the main first aid for pets! Remember that you should always have the supervision and advice of your veterinarian anyway. First aid is just that, emergency treatments until professional medical care arrives, they should never replace it. Keep your veterinarian's and emergency phone number handy!