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Do You Know What to Do If Your Dog Gets Sick And There is No Vet?


It’s a question most dog owners never think about, while others hope it never happens. But what if?

What if your dog gets sick and you are miles from the nearest vet?

What would you do?

Do you know how to administer basic first aid if you need to?

Imagine this: you are on a trip across the country with your best friend and family in the car. It’s as about as remote as you can get, and your dog gets sick or injured.

All that stands between your dog’s life or death is you – your ability to administer first aid as and when it is needed. 

Okay, so I might be a little overdramatic. Or am I? Think about it for a moment. Are you ever away with your dog and the nearest vet is hours away…

Sure the odds of your dog getting sick or injured away from home are slim, but it does happen. More than you think. So how prepared are you?

What to Do If Your Dog Gets Sick

Are you prepared to treat your dog for a bee sting, a leg strain or an injury that involves broken skin, bones and lots of blood!

If you travel long distances with your dog often, go hiking in the woods, or holiday off the grid, do you have a first aid kit suitable for dogs?

Having the right first aid kit could save your dog’s life.

Many of the items in a pet first aid kit are similar to kits for people, and in most cases, can be purchased from a drug store or department store such as Wal-Mart. 

However, some things are only available from a Vet – especially medicines for known health issues that your dog might have.

However, some things are only available from a Vet – especially medicines for known health issues that your dog might have.

Life-Saving Dog First Aid Kit

The following is a basic list of things to include in your dog first aid kit. Most of which are available at

  • Assorted gauze pads including sterile non-woven gauze
  • Elastic bandage and first aid tape
  • Absorbent cotton/cotton balls
  • Bandages to protect any part of the leg
  • Scissors with a round tip
  • Tweezers
  • Disposable gloves
  • Instant ice packs
  • Medication syringe for dispensing medication
  • An electrolyte liquid such as Pedialyte
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Eyewash solution specific for pets
  • A bulb syringe (to remove mucus from the mouth/nose)
  • A rectal thermometer – their life may depend on it
  • Emergency blanket

You’ll need a watertight container to keep these items safe, secure, and read – like insurance; it is better to have it and not need it!

I’d also recommend putting your vets business card into a sealed plastic bag so that you can easily phone him/her for advice. Also, remember that if you have internet access to google for a vet near you.

Dog Injuries You Should Know How to Treat Include:

What to Do if Your Dog Gets a Bee and Wasp Stings

If your dog gets a bee or wasp sting, you should restrain him/her then as quickly as possible:

  • use tweezers to remove the stinger
  • mix water and baking soda and bath the area to relieve some of the pain
  • Reduce swelling by using an ice pack on the area 

If you have some Benedryl [] handy that will help to relieve some of the pain as well. Read the instructions on the packet because the size of the dose will depend on the size of your dog – if you are not sure how much to give your dog, phone a vet.

NOTE: Benadryl is a safe and effective antihistamine for bee stings.

What to Do If Your Dog Gets Injured?

If your dog is injured, approach slowly. S/He might be your best buddy, and you have an excellent relationship, but approach with caution because s/he may bite you.

Remember, they are likely to be in pain and in fear. Your first action is to reassure them that they are safe and that you are not going to hurt them. The best way to do this is to approach slowly with a calm and steady voice.

As you slowly approach your injured dog, try to assess the extent of the injury. Has the cause of the damage been isolated, if not deal with that first.

Next, you need to stem the flow of blood by apply pressure to the wound.

In it is a relatively minor injury, treatment could be very similar to that of how you would treat a child. Clean, apply appropriate ointment, and bandage.

However, if the damage is significant and not something that you can easily treat, then clean as much as your dog will let you. Next, wrap the injured area in a clean cloth (or clothing) and apply pressure if necessary to stop any bleeding.

Change the bandage and keep as much pressure on the wound as you can until you get to a vet.

What to Do When Your Dog Is Choking

If your dog is choking on something, try to look down their throat – use a flashlight if you have one handy. But please don’t leave your choking dog alone while you go looking for one!

If you can see the obstacle try to remove it carefully. If you can’t see it or remove it, then you will need to perform the Heimlich maneuver for dogs

Watch the video below for instructions on how to perform the Heimlich maneuver for dogs.

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