What to do when your dog is bleeding?

April 13, 2012

Dogs are very energetic animals. Fido is also a very curious pet. It is no wonder why a dog would sustain injuries from barbed wires, from broken glass and other sharp objects. Dogs have high prey drives. An interesting scent and movement would make a dog scamper in a flash. Well trained dogs may not heed the call of the owner if a prey is in sight. A dog can get injured by oncoming cars. Even the most careful dog owner cannot prevent injuries of this kind. A dog owner has to have the knowledge necessary to determine if the pet has to be taken to an emergency room or if the injuries can be treated at home.

Bleeding is one of the signs that all is not well with the dog. The pet owner would certainly panic if the pet is seen bleeding. However, to be able to administer the necessary first aid; the first thing an owner has to do is to keep calm. The bleeding of the dog may not be as serious at it looks. Wounds in body parts with a lot of blood vessels would be heavy bleeders. Dogs are hardy animals thus the pet may even be oblivious of the injury. The owner will be aware that the dog is hurt if the pet is leaving a bloody trail or if the fur is matted with blood.

Injuries that damage blood vessels will result to bleeding. If an artery, a vein or a blood vessel is cut external or internal bleeding will occur. External bleeding occurs when blood would come out from an open wound. Bleeding is from a cut artery if the bright red blood is being expulsed in spurts. Dark bluish red blood that comes out from the wound at a steady slower rate is an indication that a vein is torn. Injuries that have damaged capillaries would result to blood that comes out from in wound in trickles. Internal bleeding is a very serious concern. Internal bleeding occurs if a blood vessel or an organ is damaged but instead of flowing out of the dog’s body through an open wound, the blood would flow into a body cavity so that the blood will escape through the mouth, nose, rectum and vagina. Both internal and external bleeding would be dangerous if the dog has lost significant amount of blood. The dog would go into hemorrhagic shock is it losses about 2 teaspoons of blood per pound of body weight.

A dog that bleeds internally must be rushed to a medical facility but how would a pet parent know that the dog has this serious condition? A dog that is bleeding internally would have a weak pulse. Blood may come out from body orifice. Internal bleeding can be due to an underlying medical condition. Internal bleeding can also occur if the dog has bone fractures or if vital organs are damaged due to forceful external impact.

First aid treatment for external bleeding is aimed to stop and reduce blood loss. Apply pressure to the wound using a clean dry bandage. Blood flow should slow down after a few minutes. Don’t remove the bandage to inspect the wound as it would also remove the blood clot. Don’t remove a bandage that is soaked through with blood. Get another and place it over the soaked bandage and apply pressure. If bleeding is severe, pressure can be applied directly to the artery. A bandage tied loosely around the wound would help stem blood flow. Tourniquet can effectively stop blood flow but it has to be administered by only by a knowledgeable person otherwise it can do the dog more harm if blood circulation is cut off.