First Aid for Pets

bandaged face cat in a bag




The first decision when treating your dog will be do you need a second person to restrain your dog. Some dogs will put up with just about anything while others aren't going to let you treat them without putting up a fight. The information on this page assumes you will have an assistant.

The next decision is will you need to muzzle your dog. Information on this can be found on page 2, Muzzling a dog. You may need to put the muzzle on before you can do anything else, even lifting the dog. Any of the techniques discussed on page 3 How to pick up a dog, can be modified and used for treatment as well. Some dogs may be easier to treat in an assistant's arms.

  • Be gentle but firm with your dog. Reward him when he is well behaved however make sure you let him know he has to do what you want.

  • Small dogs are easier handled if they are placed on a bench or a table. They are uncertain up the unusual surface making them easier to handle. Make larger dogs sit. If you can't make them sit think about some training.

  • You may wish to place a towel on a bench top where you intend to work. Small dogs (like cats) often appear to be happier if they aren't directly on a very slippery surface. The towel will also catch any fluid, such as blood or antiseptic, and soak it up, keeping the area dry and more pleasant to work on. Towels tend to be pushed away when handling larger dogs and may not be as helpful.


  • Probably the best technique for holding your dog is to have your dog sit. One arm is then placed around the dog's neck while the other one is placed around the dog's rump. This prevents the dog going forward or back. The hand on the neck can be moved to have more control of the head or the shoulders as necessary. Also you can angle your body so that it is slightly behind or in front of the dog if is trying to escape.


  • Sometimes it is necessary to have your dog standing. One arm is placed around the dog's chest while the other is placed around the dog's rump. This technique is probably better done on the floor as the dog may have trouble on a slippery surface (note how this dog is trying to obtain purchase with its front toe nails). This is one of the easiest holds for your dog to escape from.


  • The third technique is to lay your dog on its side. If your dog is trained ask it to lay down then roll it onto its side. If your dog will not do this then stand beside your dog and reach across your dog's back. With one hand grasp the front leg nearest to your body (your arm should be over the dog's neck) and with the other grasp the back leg on the same side (this arm should be over the dog's belly). Lift the dog so that it falls against your legs and using your legs to prevent it flipping right over lower your dog to the ground.


  • Your dog should have its back against your body. To hold it down place one arm across the dog's neck and hold the bottom front leg, then place the other arm across the dog's belly and hold the bottom hind leg. Rest some of your body weight onto the dog through your arms. Do not allow your dog to move its head so that it is above your arm. Once the head is off the table your dog will have enough leverage to sit up.


Send mail to Administrator with comments or questions about this site                Fiona Anderson 2001