What To Do if Your Dog is Bleeding
To control external bleeding, put a clean piece of sterile gauze over the wound and apply firm pressure. If the blood soaks through the gauze, do not remove it. You could dislodge a forming blood clot. Instead, place another piece of gauze on top of the soaked gauze and continue to apply pressure. If the bleeding still does not stop, and the wound is on an extremity, try applying pressure on the arteries that supply blood to the bleeding area.
Pressure points for these arteries can be found on the inside of the upper front leg and back leg as well as the underside of the base of the tail. Pressure on these areas will reduce blood flow to the wound.
If the bleeding still does not stop you may need to apply a tourniquet -- but only as a last resort. A tourniquet should never be applied around the neck or over a fracture or a joint. It should never be left in place for longer than 10 minutes. Once the tourniquet is in place, take the dog to vet immediately. If the tourniquet must remain in place for longer than 10 minutes, release it for one minute, then re-tighten.
Apply a tourniquet as follows:
- Wrap a strip of cloth, a belt or bandage strip between the wound and the body, about two inches above the wound. Never use a string or rope, as it will cut the underlying skin.
- Tie a knot in the material and put a strong stick in the loop of the knot. Tie another knot on top of the one holding the stick.
- Twist slowly until the bleeding slows. Secure the stick by tying or taping.
- The tourniquet should be released and then re-tightened every 10 minutes to allow for some circulation.
- Cover the wound lightly with a piece of clean cloth or gauze.
- Transport the dog to the veterinarian immediately.
Internal bleeding is harder to detect, but may be suspected if the dog is bleeding from the mouth or anus, vomits blood, has bloody stools, is in a coma or in shock. Make sure the dog's breathing passages are clear, any broken bones are immobilized and the dog is warm. Transport to the veterinarian immediately.