Head vet Catherine explains how to recognise 7 conditions that require first aid for dogs

August is typically a time for enjoying the great outdoors, going on summer holidays, picnics, camping, long walks and new adventures. Whilst having fun, it’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s health. Recognising conditions that require first aid can greatly affect your dog’s recovery and even save their life, as Head vet Catherine Corden-Parry explains.


Download our handy guide on dog first aid tips


Being able to act fast and give your vet as much information as possible can be crucial in an emergency situation. Here are seven common conditions and their symptoms, which require first aid for dogs.


  • Cuts, Grazes & Wounds - Cuts are irregularly shaped wounds up to 3cm long, whereas grazes are superficial abrasions. A closed wound, like a crushing injury, may bleed/swell and be painful  when touched, be careful of broken bones. Open wounds, or haemorrhages, can be life-threatening very quickly - it's important to know where from i.e. artery - spurting bright red, vein - flowing dark red, and capillary - oozing blood loss.

  • Heatstroke - Being stuck in hot cars, over exercising in the heat and lazing in the sun can all cause heatstroke in dogs, which can turn dangerous very quickly. Signs to look out for include faster/heavier panting, excessive thirst/drooling, abnormally dark coloured tongue and gums, faster heartbeat, whining, agitation, staggering, weakness, collapse, seizure, and unconsciousness.

  • Stings & Bites - You may not always witness your dog getting stung by a bee or wasp but signs to look out for include excessive licking of an area, swelling, and redness. Breathing difficulties may occur if stung on the face or mouth due to swelling and some dogs can have an adverse reaction. Snakebite symptoms can include sudden weakness or collapse, trembling, muscle twitching, vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive drooling, dilated pupils, or paralysis.

  • Eye Conditions - Summer especially can increase the risk of eye injuries in dogs as they playfully roll and race around. Symptoms may include one or both eyes being red, sore, itchy or swollen, closed eyelids, or a protruding eyeball.

  • Burns &Scalds - A burn is caused by dry heat such as a fire or iron, and a scald is caused by  something wet i.e. hot water or steam. Chemicals and really cold substances/surfaces can cause burns too.

  • Poisons - Dogs can be poisoned by consuming (or in some cases touching) food, drink, plants, and other substances that are toxic to them. Symptoms depend on the type of poison, level of  toxicity, and timing.

  • GDV - Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus can occur in some dogs after strenuously exercising too close (before or after) to a large meal causing gas to build up. Symptoms of this life-threatening  condition include distress, discomfort, restlessness, and bloating of the abdomen.


If your dog needs emergency veterinary care, call 01536 485543


Don’t forget to download our handy guide on what to do if your dog develops any of the above conditions and be fully prepared for your next adventure.


Download first aid for dogs guide

"Proud member of the VetPartners family"

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon

© 2020 VetPartners Practices Limited t/a Northlands Veterinary Group

Registered Address Leeman House, Station Park Road, Holgate Park Drive, York, YO26 4GB

Company No. 10084952 Vat No 228 9288 65

EMERGENCY