Here are a few vet-approved tips to help stabilize and care for your pet while you seek veterinary attention.
Know your dog's vital signs
This is a good place to begin because you need to know what's considered "normal" if you're to diagnose something as "abnormal."
Normal temperature: 101° -102.5° F
Normal heart rate: 70-160 beats/min
Normal breathing rate: 10–30 breaths/min
To check vital signs:
- Don't assume your dog won't bite.
- Use rectal, not oral, thermometers. Newer human digital thermometers are best.
- Check his heart rate by placing your hand over his chest, just behind his elbow.
- Measure his breathing rate by observing your dog's sides or by holding your wet finger in front of the nose.
- Measure both rates for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to get the rate per minute.
Here are some common situations/conditions that require first aid, and how to perform the procedures:
Possible causes: Car accident, animal fight, fall, clotting problem, rat poisoning, severe wound.
What to do: Bleeding from an artery is an immediately life-threatening situation. Arterial blood is bright red, bleeds in spurts, is difficult to stop, and requires immediate veterinary attention.
For any type of external bleeding, place a clean cloth or sterile gauze over the injured area. Apply direct pressure for at least 5–7 minutes to stop bleeding. Do not apply a tourniquet unless absolutely necessary. Take your dog to a vet immediately.