Labrador Retriever - Emergency First AidYour Labrador Retriever cannot tell you, “I have a pain right here, and I feel like I’m going to throw up”. But you should be able to recognize signs that something is not right. When you are trying to decide what is wrong with your Lab, you will need to be observant and play detective. If you call your veterinarian, they will also ask you some questions, and you need to be able to answer those.
– What caused you to think there is a problem?
– What was your first clue there’s something wrong?
– Is your Labrador Retriever eating normally?
– What do her stools look like?
– Is the dog limping?
– When you do a hands-on exam, is the dog sore anywhere?
– Does she have a lump?
– Is anything red or swollen?
Write down all your answers before you call your veterinarian. Your vet will also ask you if your dog has a fever. You can take your dog’s temperature using a rectal thermometer. Shake the thermometer down and then put some petroleum jelly on it. Using the dog’s tail as a guide, insert the thermometer into the anus about an inch. Keep holding the thermometer, don’t let go of it, and watch your clock. After three minutes (digital thermometers will be faster), withdraw the thermometer, wipe it off, and read the temperature. Normal is 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
The veterinarian will also ask if your dog has been vomiting and if so, what did the vomit look like? Was there anything unusual in it? Did the dog vomit up garbage? a plastic bag? grass? How often did the dog vomit—just once or is it ongoing?
Similar questions will be asked about the dog’s bowel movements. Did the dog have a bowel movement? If so, did it look normal? Was there mucus or blood in the stool? Did the stool have a different or peculiar smell? Did you see any foreign objects in the stool?

How to Make a Canine First-Aid Kit

If your dog hurts herself, even a minor cut, it can be very upsetting for both of you. Having a first-aid kit handy will help you to help her, calmly and efficiently. What should be in your canine first-aid kit?

– Antibiotic ointment
– Antiseptic and antibacterial cleansing wipes
– Benadryl
– Cotton-tipped applicators
– Disposable razor
– Elastic wrap bandages
 Extra leash and collar
– First-aid tape of various widths
– Gauze bandage roll
– Gauze pads of different sizes, including eye pads
– Hydrogen peroxide
– Instant cold compress
– Kaopectate tablets or liquid
– Latex gloves
– Lubricating jelly
– Muzzle
– Nail clippers
– Pen, pencil, and paper for notes and directions
– Pepto-Bismol
– Round-ended scissors and pointy scissors
– Safety pins
– Sterile saline eyewash
– Thermometer (rectal)
– Tweezers

Be prepared to answer all these questions, and if you are nervous or scared, write them down.
It is often difficult for dog owners to decide when to call the veterinarian and when they can handle a problem at home. Listed in this section are some commonly seen problems and some basic advice on how to handle them. You’ll also find advice on when to call the vet in the box on pages 94–95. However, the cost of a telephone call is small compared to your dog’s life. When in doubt – call!

Animal Bites

Muzzle your dog if she is in pain. Using a pair of panty hose or a long piece of gauze, wrap it around the dog’s muzzle, crossing under the jaw, then pulling it around her head, tying it in the back.
Trim the hair from around the wound and liberally pour plain water over it to flush it out. Use antibacterial wipes to clean it. A handheld pressure bandage can help stop the bleeding. Stitches may be necessary if the bite is a rip or tear, so call your vet. They may also recommend putting the dog on antibiotics.

Bee Stings

Many dogs are allergic to bee stings and will immediately start to swell. Call your vet immediately. They may recommend you give the dog an antihistamine such as Benadryl and will instruct you on the dosage. With the introduction of African bees, many bees today are more aggressive, and the chance of your dog being stung multiple times is increased. The stingers are hard to see in the Lab’s coat, so use your fingers to feel for them or the swollen lumps left behind.


Muzzle your dog if she is in pain. Place a gauze pad or, if that is not available, a clean cloth over the wound and apply pressure. If the wound will require stitches or if the bleeding doesn’t stop, call your vet.

When to Call the Veterinarian

Go to the vet right away or take your dog to an emergency veterinary clinic if:
– Your dog is choking
– Your dog is having trouble breathing
Your dog has been injured and you cannot stop the bleeding within a few minutes
– Your dog has been stung or bitten by an insect and the site is swelling
– Your dog has been bitten by a snake
– Your dog has been bitten by another animal (including a dog) and shows any swelling or bleeding
– Your dog has touched, licked, or in any way been exposed to a poison
– Your dog has been burned by either heat or caustic chemicals
– Your dog has been hit by a car
– Your dog has any obvious broken bones or cannot put any weight on one of her limbs
– Your dog has a seizure
Make an appointment to see the vet as soon as possible if:
– Your dog has been bitten by a cat, another dog, or a wild animal
– Your dog has been injured and is still limping an hour later.

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