Common conditions requiring first aid: I-Z
This is one of the most common emergencies seen by vets as there are so many substances out there which are potentially hazardous to dogs.
Follow these basic rules:
Move your dog away from the suspected poison
Check what the substance is and if it could be poisonous
Keep the packaging or the details of what the substance is, how much you think your dog could have taken, and a rough idea of your dog’s weight
Phone your vet or the Veterinary Poisons Information Service immediately on the Animal Poisons Line 01202 509 000.
Do not make your dog sick unless your vet tells you to do so.
For more in-depth information see the article on “Poisoning in dogs: what you need to know”
Road Traffic Accidents
Dogs involved in road traffic accidents should always be checked out by a vet, even if they appear absolutely fine. This is because they can often have internal injuries or problems which take time to show up.
A road traffic accident involving your dog is devastating but try to keep calm and follow these basic guidelines:
Make sure it is safe for you to approach your dog without getting hit or injured yourself.
Remember your dog may be in great pain or panicking, so may not act normally – be extra careful they do not bite. Talk calmly and soothingly to them, only making slow movements when you approach them.
If necessary, move your dog to an area of safety where you can assess them. If you suspect they have a back/spinal injury and you need to move them, try and place them on a hard board which can act as a stretcher.
Check the dog has a heartbeat, is conscious and breathing. If not start CPR. (see CPR guidelines in the article “CPR – the emergency situation”)
Check for any injuries – wounds, scrapes, broken bones, bleeding etc and provide first aid for these injuries if possible, (each of these problems are covered in our other guides).
Cover the dog up to stop it getting hypothermic (a low body temperature).
Call your vet immediately for further advice.
This can be very distressing to see. First aid in this case is centred around keeping your dog safe and preventing it from hurting itself while fitting.
Here are a few tips:
If the dog is on a bed or chair, gently lift it down to the floor.
Clear an area around the dog so it cannot injure itself on nearby objects.
Surround nearby furniture with cushions so the dog cannot hurt itself if thrashing about.
Turn off the lights and try and keep noise to a minimum (this reduces the stimulation)
Watch that your dog does not overheat. The fitting activity of the muscles uses a lot of energy and produces a lot of heat. You may need to cool the dog down with a fan if you think it is getting hot.
It is also important to keep a record of all seizures your dog has. This will help the vet decide on the appropriate treatment and when to give it. If you can, time the duration of the seizure and keep a note of the day and time it occurred. If possible, a video recording of the seizure could provide a helpful indication of the nature of it to your vet.
If your dog has been fitting for more than 2 minutes, or has several seizures close together, phone your vet immediately.
Unable to Urinate
If your dog is unable to urinate, this could be a sign of a blocked urine pipe (urethra) or bladder. This is an emergency because the bladder will continue to fill with urine but will not be able to empty.
Straining to urinate but not passing anything.
Crying out in discomfort when trying to urinate.
A painful belly which may become bloated.
Licking at their genitals and back end frequently.
Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog is unable to urinate. This can be a life- threatening emergency.
If your dog is showing urinary problems like urinating more frequently and only small amounts, contact your vet for advice as these problems can ultimately lead to being unable to pass urine.