Taking care of your dog is more than just providing food, shelter and love.  As a responsible pet owner, it is important to keep basic first aid supplies for your dog on hand in case your dog injures themselves.  Additionally, it is a good idea for all pet owners to have at least a basic knowledge of dog first aid in case of emergency.

Though many “human” first aid supplies can be used for your dog, it is a good idea to keep a separate first aid kit for your dog that is clearly marked.  Keep your veterinarian’s contact information and any other vital information about your dog in the kit just in case.  Your first aid kit should have a supply of gauze, non-stick bandages, adhesive tape, scissors with blunt ends, tweezers, antiseptic wipe or liquid, activated charcoal or milk of magnesia (to absorb poison), hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting), digital thermometer, syringe (for administering medicine), muzzle (in case your dog becomes agitated while in pain), leash (in case you need to transport your dog in a hurry) and any other supplies you think you might need.

If you know that your dog has ingested something poisonous, it is a good idea to call your veterinarian right away or ASPCA animal poison control center at (888) 426-4435.  If your dog has sustained a scrape or cut, gently clean the wound with mild soap and water and possibly antiseptic and then bandage the area with a clean, dry bandage.  If you notice your dog limping, it is a good idea to take a look and see if you can see how they injured themselves or where the pain is coming from.  Sometimes they will limp because of foot pain and other times because of injuries to the leg.  Help them rest and consider wrapping their leg gently with an ace bandage if you think they injured their leg.  If your pet is choking, first try to swipe your hand into their mouth to remove the object.  If you cannot remove the object, you can do the Heimlich maneuver just as you would with a human.  Wrap your arms around your dog; place your firsts just below their rib cage on their abdomen and thrust inward.  If your pet still cannot breathe, take your dog immediately to the emergency veterinarian.  Any time you administer emergency medical care or first aid to your dog, it is always a good idea to follow up with a call to your veterinarian and in many cases, an appointment, to ensure the health and well-being of your dog.