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Some First Aid tips for your dog’s bleeding injuries

Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 7.41.12 PMDog or pet owners may, at some time, during their pet’s lives, have to deal with bleeding injuries of some description. It can be after a dog fight or an injury from broken glass or a sharp article encountered out on a walk or in your home or bleeding coming from their ears or mouths. Whatever it is you know time is not on your side and you want to prevent any further complications or loss of limb or life whilst at the same time getting to your veterinarian as well as trying to control the bleeding.

Dog’s paws and legs can be susceptible to injuries from many different types of sharp objects, pieces of wire or glass lying around or rusty nails etc. These body parts can bleed heavily when cut so you need to be able to prevent excessive blood loss and the possibility of the dog going into shock. Injured ears and tongues also bleed extremely heavily and it can be frightening to see a large amount of blood spurting out. So you need to be able to stem or prevent any further excessive blood loss, which can sometimes lead to shock.

Signs of shock include pale or white gums, a rapid heartbeat, or rapid breathing. If a wound is spurting blood this means an artery has been cut or severed and needs immediate professional attention. You must try and remain as calm as possible – which is far easier said than done. You know you have to get to your veterinarian as quickly as possible as well as keeping your dog from deteriorating further.

Bleeding from the Head or Torso

  • Firstly you need to restrain your dog so speak calmly and keep your tone reassuring as you approach him/her and gently put a lead around your dog’s neck. Make sure you do not frighten him/her and you probably will need to put a soft muzzle on to protect yourself. For this you can use a soft bandage which also helps keep your dog calmer than trying to force a muzzle on him/her
  • Cover the wound with sterile gauze or a clean folded towel or napkin or anything similar.
  • Use soft dressings/bandages to wrap around the wound and tie or tape just tightly enough to keep the initial dressing in place.
  • Immediately transport your dog to the veterinarian. If possible phone as you are leaving or ask someone to do it for you so that your veterinarian knows you are on your way with an emergency condition.

Bleeding Leg, Paw, or Tail

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  • Similar to the above situation
  • Restrain your dog so speak calmly and keep your tone reassuring as you approach him/her and gently put a lead around your dog’s neck. Cover the wound with sterile gauze or a clean folded towel or napkin or anything similar.
  • If you are able to touch the area try and cut
    the hair around the injured part but if it is too severe or the dog is in too much pain again muzzle your dog for your safety
  • Examine the wound in case you can see the glass or foreign object sticking out and remove with your fingers or a pair of tweezers. If you can see tissue when you remove the object it is quite possible that the wound may require stitches.
  • If you have an antiseptic that you have used before on your pet e.g. Hibertain or similar then clean the wound thoroughly but if not rather just use clean warm water only. Some of the antiseptics can sting when applied and you do not want to cause any further pain to your dog.
  • Again cover the wound with a clean cloth or sterile dressing and place your hand over the dressing and press firmly.

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  • Keep pressure on the dressing to stop the bleeding. If the blood starts soaking through DO NOT remove it but apply more dressings on top and keep up the
    pressure until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding has not subsided within 5 minutes you need to keep applying pressure on the wound while transporting the dog to the veterinarian.
  • Again wrap soft material around the dressing and tie just tightly enough to keep the bandages on. Start below the wound and wrap upward. If it is an injury to the leg than keep the dog off the injured leg whilst you transport to the veterinarian

Bleeding from the chest or Abdomen

  • Similar to the above
  • Firstly restrain your dog so speak calmly and keep your tone reassuring as you approach him/her and gently put a lead around your dog’s neck. Make sure you do not frighten him/her as you will need to put a soft muzzle on to protect yourself. Use a soft bandage for this which also helps keep your dog calmer than trying to force a muzzle on him/her
  • If the wound is in the chest and you can hear a “sucking” noise bandage the wound tightly enough to prevent air from going in and transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

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  • Should there be an object, such as a sharp stick protruding from the chest or abdomen, DO NOT attempt to remove the object.
  • Place clean cloths, sterile dressings, or towels around the point of entry.
  • Bandage tightly around the point of entry and transport immediately to the veterinarian.

Dog’s Bleeding Ear

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  • As previously discussed restrain your dog.
  • Speaking calmly and keeping your tone reassuring approach him/her and gently put a lead around your dog’s neck. Make sure you do not frighten him/her as you will need to put a soft muzzle on to protect yourself. You can use a soft bandage for this which also helps keep your dog calmer than trying to force a muzzle on him/her
  • Cover the wound with a clean cloth, sterile dressing, or towel. Put the dressing on both sides of the ear flap, and then fold over on to the top of the dog’s head whilst holding firmly to control the bleeding.
  • Wrap the soft dressing around the ear and head making sure the entire ear is covered and tie or tape just tightly enough to keep the bandage in place.
  • Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Dog’s Bleeding Nails

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  • A broken nail or one that is cut too short is one of the most common reasons for a bleeding nail.
  • If the nail is broken restrain your dog if
    necessary.
  • Speaking calmly and keeping your tone reassuring approach him/her and gently put a lead around your dog’s neck. If you are going to cut or remove the nail stay and move calmly towards the paw – DO NOT frighten him/her. Again you will need to put a soft muzzle on to protect yourself. Use a soft bandage for this rather than trying to force a muzzle on him/her
  • Hold a clean cloth, sterile dressing, or towel against the nail. The bleeding will stop in a few minutes.
  • Get the dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • If the nail is bleeding because it was cut too short do the same procedure as above for the broken nail
  • Continue keeping firm pressure on the area for at least 5 minutes. DO NOT remove the bandage until the bleeding stops.
  • Should the bleeding not stop in 15 to 20 minutes, get the dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Continuous bleeding indicates a bleeding disorder that should be treated promptly.

By Joanna, Trainer