Stabilizing Bad Injuries in Dogs

Dealing with the many types of bad injuries that can affect your dog can be a complicated procedure. Whether your dog is a working animal, such as a herding, service, defense or gun dog, or is simply your cherished pet, knowing what to do in the case of a bad or serious injury can mean the difference in your pet’s life. While as a responsible dog owner you should be aware of how to handle any and all types of injury and accidents that might befall your dog, this section will cover the steps to dealing with mild to traumatic injuries.

Assess the Situation

The first step in dealing with bad injuries to your dog is to stay calm and assess the situation. I you are panicked or out of control during this stressful time then you will be of no help to your dog. First, take in the scene of the accident or injury and determine if the danger that caused the injury has passed. You do not want to end up getting hurt yourself. Once you have determined that it is safe to enter the situation, try to determine what the cause of the injury was. This may be easy if you happened to see what occurred, but if you were not there to see it you may have to figure out what happened based on the clues. Get a hold of your dog and remove him from the area if there is still a threat of more injury. Injured dogs may react aggressively, even towards their owners, so be prepared with the knowledge of how to humanly restrain your dog if necessary. Then you can begin your primary assessment of the harm your dog has suffered from.

In assessing the health of your dog after an injury, follow the steps of A-B-C-D. First determine (A) or airway. Check if your dog can breathe (B) or if they have suffered an injury to the trachea or lung region. Understand how to perform dog CPR and breathing assistance in order to help keep air traveling to the dog’s brain until they can be treated by a vet. Next, check for a heart beat or circulatory movement (c). You may be able to help keep your dog’s heart pumping artificially with CPR until they receive treatment. Most of the time however, a lack of a pulse or heartbeat means you have lost the dog. If your dog can breathe and his heart is pumping, the next step is to scan for disabilities or deformities (d) of the body. Look over the dog’s body or gently feel him to see if any of his bones or organs has been damaged.

Stabilizing the Animal

Once you have determined the scope of your dog’s injuries, you should begin the process of stabilizing the dog to travel to a vet. Any injury that may be serious will require that you get your dog to a vet as soon as possible. Stabilizing the dog means restraining him or otherwise preventing him from doing further harm to himself. It also means helping to keep him calm and warm to prevent shock. Bleeding from injuries can cause a dog to die quickly. Control profuse bleeding by placing tight pressure on the wounds. If a limb has been badly damaged, bleeding can be stopped using a tourniquet, but this will cut off air supply to the remainder of the limb, so this should be used in severe cases only. Do not remove any impaled or imbedded objects from the dog’s body. Instead wrap the surrounding area with bandage to support the object during travel. Do not give your injured dog any food or water. Once you have stabilized the dog for travel, get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment of bad injuries.