PEDIGREE® Brand Presents: Pet First Aid

Think of all the activities your dog does every day, all the places he sticks his nose, all the surfaces he runs around on, and all the living and inanimate objects he touches (or licks). When you've added them all up, it's easy to see why dogs can need first aid. But do you know what to do if those occasions arise? When it comes to medical treatment, seconds and minutes can sometimes make a big difference in a dog's recovery, so take a few minutes now to brush up on your canine first aid.

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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.

Article written by PEDIGREE®
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