Canine First Aid

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The aims and rules of first aid
First Aid treatment is based on three aims and four rules.

1. To preserve life
2. To prevent suffering
3. To prevent the situation from deteriorating

1. Don¡¦t panic
2. Maintain airway
3. Control haemorrhage
4. Contact a vet

The limitations of first aid
The goal of first aid is to help the patient as best as you can - no more than that. First aid should only be used to preserve life until a veterinarian can be found. It must be remembered that not all patients can be saved: some will die.

The following is a guide for basic first aid in various situations involving dogs.

Many items found in the home and garden can be poisonous to animals and it is vital that you know what to do if you suspect the dog has been poisoned.

There are three ways for dogs to get poisons into their system: „h Ingestion
„h Inhalation
„h Absorption

It is important to bring the following to the vet if you suspect a dog has been poisoned: „h Packaging
„h Note of approximate amount taken
„h Time taken

This will help to speed up the process of treating your dog.

Ingestion (non-corrosive)
If the dog has ingested a non-corrosive poison vomiting should be induced. There are various ways to induce vomiting, these include: „h Salted water
„h Mustard and water
„h Washing soda
„h Rompun injection (by veterinarian)
„h Wash out stomach (by veterinarian)

Ingestion (corrosive)
If a corrosive poison has been ingested it is vital that it is given a substance to either dilute or demulcent. To dilute:
„h Water

To demulcent:
„h Milk
„h Olive oil

If the dog has inhaled a poisonous substance you should do the following: „h Get into fresh air
„h Keep warm
When the dog gets to the vet they should have oxygen therapy.

If the dog has absorbed poison (such as from chemicals on the fur) the following action should be taken: „h Wash the dog, making sure to wear protective clothing
„h Stop the animal from licking itself

It is important to not use any chemicals when washing substances from the dog¡¦s coat.

If you are unsure if your dog has been poisoned
If you are unsure if your dog has been poisoned, look out for the following symptoms: „h Breathing difficulty
„h Unusual actions
„h Digestive upset
„h Irregular heart, rapid, or weak
„h Shivering
„h Convulsions
„h Salivation

There are many different types of poisoning; each will affect your dog differently. Many do not produce immediate symptoms. Do not make the dog vomit if it is a corrosive poison or you do not know what kind of poison the dog has consumed. Consult a veterinarian for further instructions.

Snake Bites
In the UK there are only two main native species of snake ¡V the non-venomous grass snake and the venomous adder. However, with exotic pets becoming increasingly popular a lot of pet snakes¡¦ escape from their owners¡¦ houses ¡V increasing the chance of dog¡¦s being bitten. Thankfully, many of these exotic species are non-venomous.

Symptoms of snake bites:
„h Pain
„h Lethargy
„h Vomiting
„h Diarrhoea
„h Salivation, thirsty
„h Swelling at the area of the bite
„h Shock

If a dog has been bitten by a snake seek immediate veterinary attention. While transporting, immobilise the part of the animal that has been bitten, keeping below the heart level. A constricting band may be used, with caution, to impede the spread of the venom. Keep the animal calm and confined during the transport. If possible try to identify the snake species, as it may be helpful in treatment.

Wasp and Bee Stings
During their life most dogs will be stung by either a bee or a wasp. The following will explain what to do if this happens.

Bee Stings
Bees will only sting once and will leave their stinger in the dog¡¦s skin. It looks like a small black hair and if you can find it you should remove it with tweezers. Bee stings are acidic so the sting area...
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