As a dog owner, you’d want to ensure your dog would never have to deal with any critical injuries. But like humans, dogs are prone to injuries, especially if they’re constantly active and thriving. Unlike humans, though, dogs can’t verbally communicate how they’re feeling inside, or tell you what you can do to help ease the pain. Thus, being a dog parent, you must know how to determine your dog’s type of injury, and the corresponding treatments it needs.
Aside from giving treatments and first aid to an injured dog, it’s crucial for you to know how to handle a wounded dog carefully. Keep in mind that dogs tend to become aggressive, fearful, and confused when in pain. When they’re hurt, they feel vulnerable. So, their first instinct is to protect themselves by scaring off anyone who tries to touch them.
Thus, as much as you want to show your care and concern to your dog, you need to be careful and ensure you’re not putting yourself in danger. You can find a list of emergency vets near you online to treat your injured dog. For dog owners out there or anyone still planning to get a dog, here are must-know tips on how you can treat an injured dog.
1. Stay Calm And Don’t Panic
The moment you heard your dog cry in pain or saw it getting injured, your first reaction may be to shout for help, panic, and sprint toward your dog to hug and comfort them. While this reaction is understandable, unfortunately, it won’t do any good in the situation, especially for your dog. Your dog can sense you’re panicking and getting overwhelmed, which will only worsen its aggressiveness, and escalate its need to protect itself.
Before anything else, make sure to take a deep breath first, don’t panic, stay calm, and take time to analyze the situation. Then, carefully survey the surroundings, and see if you’re in danger or not. Make sure you’re not running into traffic, or surrounded by other aggressive dogs and hazards. You can’t help and treat your injured dog if you’re at risk yourself.
2. Approach Your Injured Dog With Caution
As mentioned, a wounded dog can be aggressive even if it’s usually gentle and calm. The pain they’re feeling heightens their adrenaline levels, which can make them unpredictable. And so, it’s always best to approach your wounded dog with caution. Take your time to assess their body language.
Most often, a dog that feels threatened tends to tuck its tail between the legs, crouch down, and keep their ears flat on their head. They may also growl, bark, show their teeth, and stare at you with intensity.
When approaching them, you can bring a trunk or pillow as a barrier or shield between you and the dog. You can try tossing treats to entice them to move closer to you if they can. If they can’t walk, try throwing a few treats closer to them until they feel safe with your presence. Make sure you move forward calmly with your shoulders first sideways, and without direct eye contact.
3. Muzzle The Dog Only When Necessary
Muzzling is only necessary for certain circumstances, such as if the dog tried to bite you. In that case, you’ll need to muzzle them to avoid further bites. However, if the wounded dog is vomiting or experiencing chest injuries and short breathing, avoid putting a muzzle on them as it’ll only choke them and worsen the situation.
If you don’t have a muzzle, you can use stockings, a piece of bandage, a towel, or a tie as an alternative. Make sure it’s not tied too tightly as it might only stress them more. If their aggressiveness remains the same despite being muzzled, try to keep the environment around them as safe as possible while waiting for professional help.
4. Examine The Injuries Carefully
When assessing the dog’s injuries, ensure to do it slowly and with utmost care. Avoid moving them much as it might only cause pain or, worse, you might do more damage, especially if it’s a fracture. If the dog’s bleeding, use a clean towel to put pressure on the wound, and stop further bleeding. If it keeps seeping through, gather more towels and place them over the top. Whenever possible, keep the injured body part in an elevated position.
If you know how to perform first aid, you may do so. However, if you’re clueless about administering first aid to dogs, don’t try to wing it as it might only bring more problems. The important thing is to get them to the vet quickly and safely.
5. Call Professional Help
The best person who can help your injured dog is no other than the vet. After you’ve contained the dog in a safe place, muzzled them, and examined them, call the vet immediately and describe to them the current situation and injury of the dog.
Tell them how it got injured, where the wound is located, the current behavior of the dog, as well as you and your dog’s current location. The vet can give you specific instructions on how to handle the dog’s injuries while you wait for them to arrive.
Some dog injuries may be minor, which can wait until properly treated. However, if the injuries are life-threatening and require immediate attention, it’s best to call an emergency vet clinic.
After you’ve done everything on the list, the best thing you can do while waiting for the vet is to comfort your dog. You don’t need to hug them as that may only hurt them more or cause them to lash out again. You can soothe your injured dog by sitting quietly beside them, talking to them in calm and soothing tones, providing a reassuring presence, and hoping for the best.