How to Give First Aid to Your Dog

How to Help a Dog That Has a Puncture Wound

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 3

A puncture wound on a dog may be difficult to see because it is often covered with hair. Since the most common location for a puncture wound is the bottom of the paw, the first sign may be a limp. Slightly blood-tinged fur is a common sign of a puncture wound on other parts of the body.

If you suspect your dog has a puncture wound, be sure to watch for signs of shock, which include pale or white gums, a rapid heartbeat, or rapid breathing. The following tips will help you treat your wounded pet.


If the Object Is Protruding

Step 1: Restrain the dog if necessary, taking care not to touch the object.

Step 1a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 1b: Slip a leash around the dog's neck, then place the leash around a fixed object. Pull the dog against this object and tie the leash so the dog cannot move its head.

Step 1c: Muzzle the dog to protect yourself if necessary.

Step 2: DO NOT attempt to remove the object.

Step 3: Place clean cloths, sterile dressings, or sanitary napkins around the point of entry.

Step 4: Bandage tightly around the point of entry.

Step 5: Transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Other Puncture Wounds
©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 2

Step 1: Restrain the dog if necessary.

Step 1a: Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone of voice.

Step 2: If the wound is in the chest and a "sucking" noise is heard, bandage tightly enough to seal the wound, and transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian.

Step 3: If the wound is not in the chest, clip the hair around the wound.

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 4

Step 4: Examine the wound carefully for foreign objects. If present, remove the object with tweezers or needle-nose pliers.

Step 5: Flush the wound thoroughly with clean water. Avoid home antiseptics, which may cause pain when applied.

Step 6: DO NOT bandage. Allow the wound to drain unless there is excessive bleeding. If the wound does bleed excessively, follow these steps:

Step 6a: Cover wound with clean cloth, sterile dressing, or sanitary napkin.

Step 6b: Place your hand over the dressing and press firmly.

Step 6c: Keep pressure on the dressing to stop the bleeding.

Step 6d: If blood soaks through the dressing, DO NOT remove it. Apply more dressing and continue to apply pressure until the bleeding stops.

Step 7: If the bleeding does not stop within 5 minutes, continue to apply pressure on the wound while transporting the dog to the veterinarian.

Knowing how to identify the signs of shock and how to treat it will help you in many pet first-aid situations. In the next section, learn about proper care for dogs experiencing shock.