My dog ​​has had an accident: what to do? What first aid measures?

Car accident, fall, burn, poisoning… Accidents can happen with dogs. To save the life of your pet, you must identify the cause of the accident and then provide first aid before contacting an emergency veterinarian. Here’s how to do it.

Identify the cause of the accident

A dog can be the victim of several types of accidents. Road accidents are very common. They occur when a dog is hit by a car or other vehicle. This type of accident is often serious but also impressive. We must not panic and act quickly to save the animal.

Home accidents are those that occur in your home. They encompass several types of accidents including:

  • intoxication,
  • poisoning,
  • the burn,
  • electrocution,
  • the fall.

Heart attacks and strokes are more common than you might think. Often serious and sometimes fatal, they are characterized by convulsions and then by discomfort in the dog. The latter is then unconscious.

How to react to an accident?

The right gestures

Your reaction to your dog’s accident can save his life. We must therefore quickly opt for the right actions. To achieve this, you have to stay calm! Here are some reflexes to have depending on the severity of the accident.

  • If your pet has a heart attack or stroke, he will convulse. In this case, do not touch it. During the seizure phase, he may bite you. Remove anything that could hurt your pet. Contact the veterinarian as soon as possible Depending on the duration of the convulsions, this professional will guide you or intervene.
  • If your dog has been the victim of a traffic accident or a fall, he may be injured. Some fractures are visible and sometimes very impressive. Others are internal. Even if they are not visible, they can be more serious because they cause bleeding. If your dog has been the victim of an accident, it should not be moved under any circumstances. If you have to do it, you need to do it smoothly.


After the accident, you must bring your pet to safety. If he has been injured on the road, he must obviously be put on the roadside or the sidewalk. If you are at home, cover him up and make sure he is calm while waiting for the vet to come. Warning ! Do not give him any medicine. It is also forbidden to feed it.

Avoid infection

If you have an open fracture, avoid touching the wound. She must not get infected. If the bleeding is too much, it is recommended to make a tourniquet. How? ‘Or’ What ? By placing a tight bandage just above the fracture. Watch your dog’s breathing and above all reassure him!

Internal bleeding

After a traffic accident or a fall, your pet may have internal bleeding. Although not visible, this injury is very serious. If your dog is bleeding internally, it’s an emergency! The signs to watch out for are:

  • pale mucous membranes,
  • respiratory problems,
  • tired,
  • unconsciousness.

It is also possible that blood is leaking from the natural openings. Because it is difficult to know if internal bleeding has occurred, it is imperative to take your dog to the nearest vet after an accident.

First aid procedures explained

Taking a dog’s temperature

If you find that your dog is not in good shape and feels hot, it is recommended that you check his temperature. It should be noted that a dog’s body temperature is higher than ours. It is between 38 ° C and 39 ° C. The temperature is taken rectally with an electronic thermometer.

  • If the temperature is above 39 ° C, your dog should be seen by a veterinarian. He has a fever.
  • If the temperature is below 38 ° C, your dog is suffering from hypothermia.

Checking a dog’s breathing

After an accident, a dog’s breathing can tell you about the severity of his injuries. If it’s fast, you have to worry! Keep calm and count the breaths. If there are more than 40 per minute, breathing is impaired. It is possible that the dog’s breathing is very slow. If the number of breaths is less than 15, there is serious breathing trouble. Support must be rapid. Finally, it can happen that a dog no longer breathes after a fall or a shock. In this case, it is necessary to carry out a cardiac massage.

Act in case of suffocation

Your dog’s airways may be blocked. The risk of suffocation is therefore significant. The obstruction can be caused by food, a toy, a piece of wood or cloth.

If your dog is coughing, don’t intervene as he’s trying to break free on his own. If it does not succeed, then you must act. Put your fingers in its mouth and try to locate what is blocking. If he feels unwell, then you should contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. This will explain the actions to be performed and more particularly how to proceed with a Heimlich maneuver.

Performing the Heimlich maneuver in dogs

The Heimlich maneuver is a first aid gesture that can be performed in humans and dogs. The method is however different with canines. Here’s how to do it.

  • Pick up the dog by the hips (for small dogs) or by the rear legs (for large dogs);
  • Shake the animal lightly to free the airways;
  • Tap the dog on the back with the palm of the hand.

If these actions are unsuccessful:

  • stand behind your dog,
  • pass a hand on either side of the dog’s flanks,
  • exert pressure on the abdomen,
  • do this action 5 times in a row,
  • check the inside of the mouth,
  • breathe twice into the animal’s nostrils if the airways are not clear.

Give heart massage

Your dog may not be breathing. In this case, you should try to find his pulse. To do this, lay your dog on his side and look for the pulse on the inside of the leg where the femoral artery is located.

Cardiac massage, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), is a first aid gesture that can save your dog. Here’s how to do it.

  • Lay your dog on his right side.
  • Stick your tongue out and then let it hang out to the side to reduce the chance of choking.
  • Close the dog’s mouth with your hand, letting the nose protrude,
  • Blow firmly into the dog’s muzzle, his lungs should fill with air,
  • Repeat the operation 3 times,
  • Do 10 quick chest compressions depending on the size of the dog,
  • Repeat the operation if necessary.

If you do not feel able to take the first emergency measures, call a veterinarian or ask for help from those around you. It is often difficult to intervene on your own dog.