Positive Training Blog Hop - Hands-on Emergency First Aid

I threw the ball the same way as I always did. The bouncy, light green orb flew through the air and hopped to the edge of the woods. On this occasion the ball was slightly faster than Teddy could manage, but he eagerly trailed close behind and shortly thereafter managed its capture in and among the ferns. He trotted back to me looking ridiculously happy, although limping slightly. Teddy is not a fussy dog, but I knew better than to throw that ball again before giving him a once-over. Low and behold there was his carpal pad, sliced clean open. It wasn't bleeding too profusely, but the shiny glistening of the usually well-hidden tissue indicated to me that this was no 'kiss it better' boo-boo. He must have cut himself open on a stick or branch that protruded at just the right angle to slice him as he threw himself after the ball.

I have an amazing vet, who was happy to see me right away, but my vet is a 20 minutes drive away and when needed, the emergency vet is an hour away. On account of this, we have a fairly robust doggie first-aid kit to help us get by. I wrapped his pad in a non-stick gauze and then an adhesive wrap bandage on top of that and off we went to the vet.

After a brief examination the vet determined that four carefully placed staples would do the trick. It was at this point that I was very glad that Teddy is so sweet and tolerant in these situations. He did his "show me your belly" trick, laying on his back with all four paws in the air and then I steadied him as our vet extraordinaire quickly stapled the wound closed. It broke my heart when my otherwise jovial dog let out a little sad whimper as a staple went in, but he was a trooper and knew we were taking care of him.

We don't think about it much until the time comes, but training our pups to be relaxed and tolerant of strangers touching their paws or other sensitive spots is pretty vital to addressing an emergency situation with ease. I had thrown that same ball in that same manner for years, but this one time Teddy injured himself. As a result, his ability to be touched and handled while in pain was tested and he passed with flying colors! I will often 'hold paws' with the poodles during a relaxing time. The more opportunity we take to make our pups feel comfortable with us, and others, touching them, the better they will tolerate that same stimulation in an emergency. D'Art doesn't particularly like holding paws, but we do it anyway during a relaxing time (like while I rub his belly) so that he becomes more comfortable with the sensation. It makes trimming nails easier too!

Teddy sleeps off his injury. He got a cute bandage with tractors on it!


  1. This is such a great post. Rodrigo loves the vet. Sydney loves her vet, but doesn't like her chiro adjustments (she loves the acupuncture though). Scout and Zoey are terrified of the vet and I'm going to start taking them by the vet's office weekly to show them that there is nothing to fear.

  2. Handling is super important. Mr. N does not like the vet but he is very tolerant of handling and he will let them do whatever to him. Thanks for joining the hop!

  3. Poor Teddy! I'm glad that he handled everything so well. Barley doesn't love having her paws touched by anyone but me (and I wouldn't say she loves it when I do it, but she does tolerate it), but our vet is very good about having one of the vet techs nearby to offer lots of snacks to make it a pleasant experience when it has to be done.

  4. Poor Teddy. Handling is so important. Kilo the Rescue Pug is very reactive to strangers, especially vets. He gets so stressed. His limited experience has not been positive (neutering and shots through the rescue). We had a chocolate incident when we first started fostering him and my local vet was a disaster. Kilo particularly hates having his feet touched. I play with them regularly and reward- he tolerates now. He is overdue a nail trim and check up.

  5. Thanks Teddy for sharing such useful information. These instructions can help a lot in handing pet and recover their injuries fast.


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