In the event of an accident bear the following in mind:

  • If you keep calm this will help to calm the dog and will also help you to think more clearly. The dog may well be agitated to approach carefully.
  • Carry a dog first aid kit. Your vet can advise what should go in it but the following are some basics:
    • Latex gloves
    • Sterile dressing
    • Wound compress
    •  Crepe bandage plus fixing
    • Plaster roll and scissors
    • Cleaning syringe (without needle)
    • Tweezers for splinter removal
    • Tick tweezers
  • Ensure that the dog (and you) are removed from any further threats
  • Keep the dog warm (a thermal blanket is easy and light to pack)
  • Stem blood flow by exerting firm but gentle pressure on the wound
  • Contact vet ASAP (see below)
  • If a road traffic accident get the driver’s details (for any insurance claim)


Whilst most farmers and property owners are responsible, poison (often rodenticide)  may occasionally be accessible. These are often anticoagulants used to kill rats and mice.

In case of suspected poisoning keep the dog calm and contact the vet ASAP. If the source of poison is know (e.g. dog has eaten pain-killers) then retain the packaging or a sample of the offending item. Do not make the dog sick unless advised by the vet.

Although practically impossible – try to make sure that the dog does not drink from any unknown source.

Heat Stroke

This usually occurs when dogs are left in cars, but may also occur on hot days outside. Dog will pant excessively, may have breathing difficulties, collapse or vomit. In these circumstances:

  • Remove the dog from the heat source (e.g. take them into the shade)
  • Keep the dog calm
  • Cool the dog with water, especially the head – but do not shock the dog by immersing into very cold water. Use pre-soaked towels if available.
  • Let the dog drink cool water – be careful not to let it gulp
  • Use the in-car air conditioning on the way to the vets
  • Contact the vet

Stings, Bites and Ticks

Dogs often fare better than humans when stung, however where the dog is in obvious pain or the swelling threatens airways seek medical advice ASAP. If the sting is still in situ scrape away with fingernail or credit card. Do not squeeze or try to grasp it. The effected area can be bathed with salt water and bicarbonate of soda can be applied to bee stings and vinegar to wasp stings to help.

Bits from other animals can be serious and may carry infection. Seek medical advice

Adder bites can be fatal to dogs of whatever size. Keep the dog calm and let it move as little as possible (carry it). Seek medical advice ASAP

Ticks are a parasitic pest which attach themselves to dogs at any time of the year. They can carry harmful diseases and should be removed ASAP. Pulling or scratching them off may leave body parts in place. Remove ticks with specially designed tweezers or a remover. If in doubt get a vet to show you how. 


Dogs are usually better at looking after themselves than humans and on many occasions where a rescue is attempted the dog survives and human do not!

Make sure airways are kept clear and some suggest that swinging the dog gently by its hind legs may allow water to be expelled.


Occasionally dogs get covered in things worse than fox poo! Oil, tar and other chemicals can be toxic so stop the dog from trying to clean itself.

Most substances can be removed with a gentle soapy solution or preferably a dog shampoo. However, where the substance may cause burning get the dog to the vets ASAP.

Electric Shocks

These may be minor e.g. a jolt from an electric fence. However, these can unsettle dogs and they should be kept away from such fences.

More serious shocks may result in burns. In this case keep the area clean and seek medial advice.

Wire chewing can be fatal. Keep wires out of reach of puppies and young dogs.  Turn off power in such an emergency. If the dog is not breathing form a seal round the dog’s mouth and blow into the mouth half  a dozen times. CPR can be performed as on humans. Get to vet ASAP.

The advice on this page constitutes common sense advice and we do not profess to have any veterinary expertise. Always seek professional medical advice where possible.

Quantock Veterinary Hospital (Bridgwater and Nether Stowey): 01278 450080
Blake Vets: 01278 451 592 (Bridgwater) lost and found website
White Lodge Vet Clinic (Williton): 01984 634013
Rudram Vets (Bishops Lydeard): 01823 433361