Emergency First Aid for Dogs involved in a Road Traffic Accident
Dogs love to play outside. They love to run, to chase and sometimes if someone leaves a door open they can take themselves off on an adventure. If they get struck by a car this can end in tragedy or with serious injuries and although dogs can walk away, there are many injuries that can be underlying or not show until after the event. More often than not dogs are seriously injured and you need to get them to a vet immediately.
Giving first aid can give a dog precious time before getting veterinary help.
Move the Dog out of harm’s way
Your first priority at the accident scene is to move the dog out of harm’s way. Stop the traffic in a safe manner to avoid further accidents then move the dog to the side of the road by sliding it gently onto a coat or towel. Notify a Veterinary Surgeon of what has happened and that the animal will soon be on its way.
Always have a Vets telephone number written down or stored in your phone. If the dog is not yours and has identification try to call the owners to let them know of the accident.
AIRWAY, BREATHING, CIRCULATION – The A,B,C’s of First Aid
If the dog is unconscious you need to :
AIRWAY. Take off any collar or harness. Check the dog has not swallowed his tongue, if he has this will block the airways. Place the dog on his side, use your fingers to pull the tongue forward, extend the neck, leaving the tongue out of the side of the mouth. Check for any breathing, can you see the dog’s chest moving? Can you feel any breath from the nose? If not, you have to prepare to give Artificial Respirations by closing the dogs mouth with two hands and gently breath into the nose.
CIRCULATION. Check if the heart is still beating. Feel for the heart on your dog’s chest. If the dog is on his side, the heart is where the elbow rests. Check for a pulse by feeling for the Femoral Artery which lies high up on the inside of the back leg. If no breathing or heart beat is detected then you have to start CPR – Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. CPR is to manually keep the heart pumping keeping vital oxygen moving to prevent brain death.
Control any Bleeding. If any bleeding is present, apply direct pressure to the wound to stem the bleeding. Apply a clean cloth or gauze pad to the wound and apply pressure. The bleeding should stop within 5 minutes. If the bleeding continues apply another bandage on top and apply elastic bandage, masking tape or duct tape to give enough pressure. Make sure the circulation is not cut off below the wound.
Check for signs of Shock Shock is serious as flow of blood through the body is reduced limiting the amount of oxygen in the blood. Signs of shock are weakness, pale/grey gums, rapid breathing, reduced consciousness, collapse or convulsions. You need to keep the dog warm by wrapping him in a blanket or towel.
Check for Broken Bones If there is an obvious injury below the elbow joint on the front legs or below the knee joint on the back legs you can splint the limb to temporarily stabilise it. You can use a rolled up newspaper or magazine on the inside and outside of the limb and secured with duct tape. Try to cover any protruding bones to limit contamination.
Safe Handling Injured dogs may be aggressive. Small dogs you can cover the head with a blanket to avoid getting bitten. Larger dogs may have to be muzzled with an emergency muzzle using a bandage or a lead. You carefully but firmly wrap it around the dogs muzzle tying it behind the dogs head.
At the Vets
Let the Vets Reception know you have arrived letting them handle and transport the dog from the car to the surgery. Give them as much details of the accident as possible and what injuries you think the dog has sustained.
Rachel Bean is a Qualified Veterinary Nurse and has worked in Veterinary Practice for 17 years. With the support of the Practice Veterinarians in the Greater Manchester and Lancashire area Rachel has for many years consulted with owners who encounter problem behaviour with their pets.
Rachel works with clients in their home on a One to One basis and helps them achieve a better understanding of their dog’s behaviour. Rachel won Pet Health Counsellor of the Year in 2004 and has a certificate in Companion Animal Behaviour issued by The British Veterinary Nurse Association.
Rachel is a listed and Registered Veterinary Nurse with The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Rachel is also the consultant behaviourist with The Canine and Feline Behaviour Association. Find out more information about Rachel HERE.
If you need a dog head collar to help stop your dog pulling then take a look at the Gencon Head Collar today….