Basic First Aid for Dogs

Learn Basic First Aid for Dogs, and the doc will be able to do more for your pooch

Dogs are inquisitive animals by nature and they’re often first to get their nose stuck into places they shouldn’t be. For that reason, you may find your dog needing medical attention and you could be required to perform basic first aid on them until you’re able to see a vet.

As scary as the situation can be, it’s essential to keep calm when providing your dog with first aid. Rushing around can result in your dog feeling more anxious as they’re able to pick-up on your feelings, and may cause them to harm themselves even further.

In this article, we’ve shared the basic first aid equipment that every dog owner should have, along with the three most common ways to provide first aid to your pet:

Things to remember

Along with remaining calm throughout the process, you should contact your vet as soon as possible. When explaining their illness, they may advise you to perform a different form of first aid that is more suitable to your pet’s condition.

Avoid giving your dog any form of medicine until you’ve spoken to your vet. This is because some medicines can have an adverse effect on an injury and could cause the illness to become worse.

First aid kit

You should keep a first aid kit for your dog in a place of your home that is easy accessible, and remember to take it with you if you’re travelling with your pet.

There’s no need to pack hundreds of medical items. A basic first aid kit for your pet should include:

  • A thick towel
  • Surgical tape
  • Bandages
  • Non-adhesive dressings
  • Blunt-ended scissors
  • Antiseptic wipes

Most common requirements for first aid

Whilst there are a variety of accidents that could result in your dog needing first aid, the following are the most common:


Similar to humans, burns on your dog’s skin must be run under cold, running water for at least five minutes in order for the temperature to cool.

It’s important to keep the rest of your pet’s body warm whilst soothing their burns. This can be done by wrapping them in a blanket or warm towel.

Food poisoning

Another potential requirement for performing first aid can happen when your dog has consumed something poisonous. Items such as household cleaning items, human food like chocolate and things found in the garden could be poisonous to your dog and can result in them vomiting or experiencing diarrhoea.

Unless advised specifically by your vet, never force your dog to vomit the suspected substance back up. This could cause more harm than good and be more dangerous for their internal organs.

Instead, try and find out exactly what your pet has consumed that could have caused the poisoning. This information may be able to help your vet provide your dog with better treatment.

Severe bleeding

Unfortunately, bleeding in dogs is a fairly common injury and if the cut is only small, can usually heal itself. However, if your dog has a large open wound and is bleeding excessively, you should cover the cut as soon as possible to prevent further loss of blood.

You can do this by placing a thick piece of material (such as a towel) firmly over the area and covering with non-adhesive dressing, keeping it held down with cotton wool or tape.

Most wounds will require the attention of a vet, in order to be properly flushed, sterilised and dressed, so as soon as you have the bleeding under control, make sure to take your pet to the vets right away.

So now you have some basic first aid tips for your pet, you can be more prepared in case the worst should happen. These should not be used in place of a trip to the vet, but should be used to make your pet more safe and comfortable whilst on your way to the clinic.

With the rising cost of vet bills, we recommend that you consider taking out a pet insurance policy to protect both yourself and your dog from any further accidents that require specialist attention and ensure that they’re set-up for a happy and healthy life after their treatment.

Photo courtesy United States Air Force