How to Handle Dog Emergencies: 9 Essential Tips

Updated on: Apr 28, 2023
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How to Handle Dog Emergencies: 9 Essential Tips

Hey there, fellow dog parent! 

Accidents and emergencies can happen to our dogs anytime, so we must be prepared for such situations. Here are  9 tips for handling dog emergencies to ensure their safety in an emergency!

Learn to identify distress signs in your dog.

Identifying when something is wrong with your dog is crucial because dogs can't speak to us like humans! 

So the task of recognizing their signs of distress lies in our hands. Learning to recognize these signs helps you take action quickly and save your dog's life. 

Some signs of distress include the following: 


  •  excessive panting
  • drooling
  • shaking
  • vomiting
  • difficulty breathing
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite
  • limping
  • or uncharacteristic aggression.

Make sure you remain calm during an emergency.

If you're ever in a dog emergency, trying to stay calm is super important. I know it can be challenging - our furry friends mean the world to us, and seeing them in distress can be really stressful. 

But did you know that dogs can sense our emotions?

If we're freaking out, it can make them even more anxious and upset. 

So, how can you keep yourself cool in a dog emergency? 

Stay focused on the present moment. Call your vet immediately. Think of how you can help your dog feel better while waiting for professional help**.** Panicking and thinking of worst-case scenarios will only make things worse for both of you. 

Keep a first aid kit nearby all the time. 

Did you know that being prepared for a dog emergency can make a huge difference? 

Yes, that's true!

One good example is keeping a first aid kit handy for your furry friend. Your dog's first aid kit should have all the basic supplies you might need to handle everyday emergencies and minor injuries. You'll want to include the following: 


  •  bandages
  • scissors
  • gloves
  • antiseptic wipes
  • gauze
  • and any medicine your dog may be taking.

Keep your first-aid kit up-to-date containing fresh emergency supplies. Check it regularly to ensure everything is still in good condition and replace anything expired or used from the lit.

Have a plan in place for emergencies.

It's essential to have a plan in case of emergencies for your furry best friend. You should have a list of emergency contacts, like your vet's phone number and the nearest emergency clinic

Keep this emergency kit in places where it can be easily accessed, like on the fridge or near your phone.

It's also a good idea to know the route to the nearest emergency vet and any potential road closures or construction that could affect it. Also, make a plan for emergencies outside of regular business hours and keep the number of vet clinics or after-hour services that are possibly open for 24 hours. 

Lastly, ensure everyone in your household knows the emergency plan, including kids and roommates. Practicing and reviewing the plan regularly with your dog and family is recommended. This ensures that everyone involved in your dog’s life is on the same page during an actual emergency. 

Be prepared for possible seizures.

Did you know that seizures are a pretty common neurological disorder in dogs? 

It can be scary to witness it firsthand, but you need to be calm in this situation. I know it's easier said than done, but keeping a clear head is essential to help your pup without getting hurt yourself. 

Your dog might be thrashing around during a seizure. So, try to move any dangerous objects out of the way to create a safe space for them and to make it easier for you to monitor your dog's condition.

Also, note that your dog might lose control of their bodily functions during a seizure. There is a huge chance that they might urinate or defecate anywhere. It's a normal part of the process, and do not be mad at your dog if they do. 

Do not restrain your dogs or put something in their mouths because it can cause more harm than good. Although, many people would suggest doing that. 

Instead, wait for the seizure to pass and ensure your dog has a safe, quiet recovery space. After the seizure, your dog might feel pretty disoriented or confused, so monitor them constantly and ensure they have everything they need to recover. 

Learn how to perform CPR on a dog.

Dog owners must know how to perform dog CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). You can enroll in classes about it or ask your vet to teach you. Learning how to do CPR is essential in saving your dog’s life during an emergency. 

Here are some guides you can follow when performing CPR on your dogs:

  1. Make sure your dog is lying on a flat surface. If someone is with you, have them hold the dog's head and muzzle to prevent biting. 
  2. Check their airway for any obstructions. Then, check for breathing and pulse. 
  3. Start chest compressions immediately if your dog isn't breathing or doesn't have a pulse
  4. Place the dog on its side.
  5. Press down on its chest with your hands just behind its front legs.
  6. Begin compressing about 1 to 1.5 inches deep at 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  7. To perform rescue breathing, close your dog's mouth and breathe into its nose, making sure its chest rises with each breath. Give them one breath every 6 to 8 seconds, or about 8 to 10 breaths per minute.
  8. Keep performing chest compressions and rescue breathing until your dog starts breathing on their own or until you can get them to a veterinarian for further care.

Be cautious around aggressive dogs.

Dogs can sometimes behave aggressively due to their instincts. Remember that dogs use body language to communicate their feelings and intentions. 

Signs of aggression in dogs include: 


  • growling
  • barking
  • showing their teeth
  • or lunging forward.

The best course of action is to avoid approaching your dog, much as trying to pet them. There is a possibility that it can make them even more anxious or scared. So instead, back away slowly and give them plenty of space.

Note that an aggressive dog may be showing signs of an underlying health issue so contact your vet or local animal control officer immediately. 

Keep your dog safe in extreme weather.

We all want to ensure they're safe and comfy in any weather, especially during extreme temperatures.

Keep your pups hydrated and cool during hot weather, and make sure they have plenty of clean water and a shady resting spot. Try to avoid the hottest part of the day when going for a walk. Never leave your dog in a parked car, even with open windows.

Now, in cold weather, you gotta keep your dogs warm and cozy. Provide them with a warm, dry shelter protected from the wind to avoid hypothermia and frostbite. Limit their time outside and watch them closely for any signs of distress.

Keep your dog's vaccinations up-to-date. 

Vaccinations are a super important part of caring for your furry friend. They help keep your dog healthy and prevent emergencies

Vaccines work by introducing a tiny, harmless amount of a disease into the dog's body that can trigger an immune response that prepares the body to fight off the actual disease if encountered.  

Pretty cool, right?

They also help prevent the spread of diseases like rabies from your dog to other animals and even to humans. 

Your dog needs several vaccinations throughout their life, including the following: 


  • distemper
  • parvovirus
  • adenovirus
  • and rabies

Some vaccines need booster shots at regular intervals to stay effective, but they're not 100% foolproof. Some dogs may not respond to a vaccine or have adverse reactions.

Contact your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic right away.

In a dog emergency,  contact your vet or an emergency clinic as soon as possible. These pros can assess the situation and provide the proper care for your pet. They can advise whether your dog needs immediate attention or can wait until regular business hours.

While waiting for help to arrive, try to perform first-aid to help your dog. For instance, you can apply pressure to the wound if they're bleeding. If they're choking, you can perform the Heimlich maneuver. But remember, these are just temporary measures, and your dog still needs professional medical care.


We all know that being prepared for emergencies is super important. It can be scary when our dogs are in trouble. Always seek professional help whenever necessary! Being prepared and knowing what to do can help keep our dog safe and healthy for many happy years to come!

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