Halstead Dog Obedience Club

                     First Aid

The following advice forms a general summary of a first aid evening given by one of our local vets, on 6th June 2008. These notes are intended to be a reminder of this evening and not a substitute for professional advice.

If in any doubt about your dog's health, please visit your local vet without delay.

Snake Bites, Insect Bites and Stings

SNAKE BITES - If you suspect your dog has been bitten by an adder, it is vital to keep him as calm as possible. Carry your dog back to the car and take him to the nearest vet as soon as possible.

Grass snakes can also bite.  Although they are not venomous, some dogs could have local irritation where the snake has bitten.  It is always advisable to check with your vet.

STINGS - If the sting is visible remove it gently, if your dog will allow without getting too distressed. You can provide relief by washing with cool water or using an antiseptic spray. Piriton or similar antihistamine can be given, at the adult dosage, if required. If swelling occurs, seek advice from your vet. For wasps, apply vinegar.  Use bicarbonate of soda for bees.  If dog shows signs of anaphylactic shock, seek veterinary attention immediately.

TICKS – These should be removed very carefully, to ensure that the mouth piece does not remain in the skin. This can be aided by first coating the tick in vaseline, then leaving for 24 hours to die before removing, or using a spray such as Frontline. Alternatively, you can use a specialised tool for removing ticks, which can be purchased from your vet.

Heat Exhaustion

This can be extremely serious and can happen very quickly, so it is vital that you take every precaution to prevent your dog becoming too hot. In very hot weather, or when transporting your dog ...

  • Keep windows open

  • Keep a plant water spray with you, to cool your dog if necessary

  • Ensure that they always have access to drinking water

If your dog does become overheated or shows signs of heat exhaustion, stop any exercise and move to a cool area.  He can be cooled by placing a wet towel in the neck area or under the tail. Change towel when this one becomes warm.  Do NOT used iced water.  To rehydrate your dog, mix up a solution of 1 pint of water, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar for your dog to drink.

If at all concerned, please seek veterinary attention.

Poisoning and Poisons

 If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, or has ingested something that he shouldn't (!) remember to take the empty packet with you to the vets, if at all possible. The labelling on packets provided important information necessary to aid treatment. It is also helpful to know the probable amount that has been eaten.

Toadstools, mushrooms and other funghi, raisins, grapes, foxglove flower, daffodil bulbs, dark chocolate are all poisonous to dogs, as well as many other things.     

Grass Seeds

 If your dog suddenly becomes lame or is licking a foot incessantly, then it is possible that a grass seed is present. If this is the case, then puncture wounds should be evident. Wash around the area to keep it clean and then look to see if you can see the seed, before carefully removing if possible. You should seek advice if you cannot remove it, or if you believe some is still present in your dog's foot/leg as they can travel very quickly and become more difficult to remove.

Seizures, or Fits

If your dog suffers a seizure, try to keep the immediate environment as calm and quiet as possible. If possible, turn off lights or draw the curtains. Monitor your pet closely and remove any objects that could injure, such as chairs or tables. Some dogs will empty their bowel and bladder when having a fit and some will foam at the mouth.  The mouth may also be opening and shutting.  If you are worried that you cannot see his tongue, use a ruler or similar item to bring it forward – never put your hand in the mouth of a fitting dog, as you may be bitten. Your dog may be quite disorientated as it comes out of the seizure; if you think your dog may bite then quieAlways seek veterinary advice.

Food and Exercise

After exercise, let your dog rest quietly for at least one hour before feeding.  Similarly, let your dog rest for an hour after food before exercising.  This is to protect against stomach torsion which can be fatal.

Remember not to overfeed your dog.  You should be able to feel your dog's ribs.  Overweight dogs can suffer with joint problems and heart problems.  If your dog has a lot of tit-bits during training, give less food at mealtimes.

                          A Suggested First Aid Kit for your Dog...

                            Bandages                                       Tape to secure bandages            

Piriton/antihistamine cream            Tick removal tool   

Non-adherent dressings                  Emergency foil blanket

Sterile water for irrigation             

First Aid kits can be purchased from your vet.