Puppy first aid
Hopefully your puppy will never seriously hurt himself but, being the high energy bundle that he is, he's bound to get into a few scrapes now and then and it's useful to have knowledge of basic first aid.
First Aid Box
You should always keep a few basic items on hand for emergencies, such as: cotton bandages, cotton wool or lint to clean wounds, mild pet-friendly antiseptic to wash wounds and a pair of tweezers for removing stings or objects from the mouth.
Bones, Sticks, Balls
Bones, sticks and balls can get lodged in or across the roof of a dog's mouth. If this happens, you may notice your dog pawing at his mouth, or he may find it difficult to close his jaws. You might be able to remove the object by hand or with tweezers, but if not, you'll need to get your vet to do it. He or she will use sedation to make removal easier. As always, prevention is better than cure, so never let your dog play with small balls and avoid throwing sticks.
If your puppy gets burned by hot water, oil, chemicals or ice, he'll need immediate attention. Minor burns can be treated at home - clean the affected area with a mild antiseptic and apply a soothing cream or gel such as aloe vera. Severe burns will need veterinary attention, so take your puppy to the vet straight away.
Cuts and wounds
Puppies may suffer from cuts or wounds particularly to their feet if they run on something sharp like broken glass. Clean the affected area with as dilute disinfectant such as Hibiscrub and apply a bandage if necessary. Consult your vet if you cannot stop the bleeding or the wound is severe.
If your puppy is unlucky enough to be bitten by another dog, it's always worth getting him checked over by the vet. Make a routine appointment if the bite or bites are minor and make sure your pet is seen as an emergency if they're severe.
Your puppy's ears should be shiny, pale pink inside and free from wax or discharge. They should not smell unpleasant.
All ear problems require the attention of a vet.
If your puppy has any problems with his eyes such as a scratch or conjunctivitis, you should see your vet. Try to stop your puppy rubbing his eye if you can.
A fit can be recognized by sudden, uncontrolled, spasmodic movements, often with champing of the jaw, and salivating. A fitting dog will usually fall onto its side and not be aware of its surroundings.
If your puppy does have a fit, don't try to restrain him. Instead, try to remove any furniture or hard objects around him he could hurt himself on. Turn off all stimuli such as lights, radio, television, washing machine etc, and darken the room so he can recover quietly.
You should always consult your vet if your puppy has a fit.
Fractured or pulled-off claws
These can be very painful and tend to quickly become infected. Bleeding is often profuse. If possible try to apply a bandage to the foot and then take your puppy to the vet as antibiotics are often required and the claw may sometimes need to be clipped back under sedation or anaesthetic.
The best advice as far as heat stroke is concerned is that prevention is better than cure. Make sure your puppy doesn't stay out in the sun for too long on hot days and that he's not out in the midday heat.
If, despite your best efforts, he does get mild heatstroke, cool him down as best you can with wet towels or a fan, get him to drink plenty of cool water and make sure he gets lots of rest.
Serious heatstroke will require the attention of a vet.
If your puppy is obviously in pain and can't put any weight on his leg you should take him to the vet immediately to rule out the possibility of a fracture.
In less severe cases, check the pad for thorns, embedded grit or cuts and look for damaged nails.
Puppies are very inquisitive and there's always the possibility your puppy will get hold of something he shouldn't. Like heatstroke, prevention is better than cure and you need to puppy proof your home and garden to ensure he can't get at things that could be harmful like slug pellets, bleach or human chocolate. If you suspect that you pet has digested something he shouldn't have done then always bring the packaging to your vet as this will help them identify the problem and source an antidote.
If the worst does happen, see your vet as an emergency.
Road Traffic Accidents
If your puppy has been involved in an accident, you should call your vet straight away. Your puppy may be in shock and could react unpredictably. So approach him slowly and carefully. If possible, lift your dog onto a blanket (or use the mat from the car foot well), then get him to the vet as quickly as you can. If he cannot be moved, you may have to ask your vet to visit the scene.
Stings and insect bites
If your puppy has severe swelling around his mouth, nose or throat that could cause breathing difficulties due to a sting, you should get him to the vet's immediately.
If the sting or bite isn't causing any serious problems, you can alleviate your puppy's discomfort by applying a cold compress to the affected area.