Saturday, August 14, 2021

First Aid for Dogs


Martin's Point Veterinary Hospital

Dogs on the Outer Banks, like anywhere else, suffer from minor injuries and illnesses. Some can be treated by you, the dog owner, but, when in doubt, contact a veterinarian. Some of these injuries / illnesses include:

Open Wounds

Small lacerations and abrasions should be cleaned with soup and water or hydrogen peroxide. A triple antibiotic can be applied twice daily until the wound heals. Deep wounds, lacerations longer than an inch, and wounds that bleed profusely (apply direct pressure to control bleeding), should be see by a vet.

"Hot Spots"

Any moist dermatitis caused by self-trauma from scratching or chewing, especially on a dog's face or hindquarters, can be classified as a "hot spot". Golden Retrievers are especially prone to these. Trim the hair over the lesion and clean with soup and water or peroxide. Apply any over the counter cortisone cream twice daily. See a vet if the condition worsens - often an injection of cortisone or a course of cortisone pills and antibiotics are required for complete relief.


Simple diarrhea in dogs can be treated with Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol (approximately 1 tsp per 20 - 30 lbs. body weight) 3 or 4 times a day. You can also feed chicken and rice to help firm up the stool. If the diarrhea persists, or if it is accompanied by vomiting see a vet. Drinking salt water is a common cause of both diarrhea and vomiting in dogs; please bring along fresh drinking water if you take your dog to the beach.


Running on the beach, climbing stairs, or over - exertion by dogs on vacation can cause all kinds of muscle or joint problems. If your dog is limping, rest him/her for several days. Aspirin can usually be given safely (check with a vet for dosage). If a lameness persists, or if there is obvious pain when the leg is touched, see a veterinarian.

Please use common sense when on vacation with your dog, and you will all enjoy your stay on the Outer Banks. However, if any injury or illness occurs with your dog during your vacation, there are several veterinarians here to help.

Chris Shea DVM
Martin's Point Veterinary Hospital

This article was published in Vol.2 page12 of Pampered Pet Guide.

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