Brookings County K9 Search and Rescue
Brookings County K9
Search and Rescue
Brookings, South Dakota
K9 First Aid
Be Prepared

As a SAR K9 handler, be prepared for accidents that may happen to your dog while out on a
search. Attend a qualified Canine First Aid course and read up on Canine First Aid.  

Always bring a medical kit with you on searches, along with your vet's phone number, dog’s medical
history and the emergency vet clinic number nearest your search area.  During the search briefing
be sure to ask if there are any known hazards in your search area, such as open wells, holes, wild
animals, venomous snakes, traps, snares, etc. If you are searching a building, check for hazards
first before entering with your dog. You should always have at least one flanker on a search to
assist with the search but to also assist if your dog should get injured.

If your dog gets injured be sure to check the area for safety first prior to approaching your dog.
Don't put yourself in danger also. Check what is around your dog such as poisonous materials,
plants, or snakes (identify the snake if possible). Determine if the dog needs to be moved
immediately to a safe area. Check your dog for any blood, vomit or feces; his breathing and or other

Remember these points:

  • If your dog is not breathing, start artificial respiration. If there is no heartbeat or pulse, start
    CPR. Watch the video link on how to perform canine artificial respiration and CPR. CPR for
    dogs is often unsuccessful but attempting CPR may be your only chance to save your dog.

  • For unconscious dogs or dogs found lying down after an accident, there may be spinal cord
    injuries, handle them carefully.  Check that the airway is open. Wipe away any secretions
    from the mouth. Pull the tongue out slightly to make it easier for the dog to breathe.

  • Transport large dogs on a flat surface such as a human back board. Secure the dog to the
    back board to keep him from jumping off. Carry small dogs in a blanket with the injured parts

  • Wrap the dog in a coat or blanket to provide warmth and protect injured extremities.

  • Control bleeding by placing a bandage on top of the wound and applying pressure.

  • Give your dog nothing to eat or drink.

  • Transport dogs with their heads lower than their hindquarters, which helps with breathing and
    maintaining blood pressure.

  • Use a muzzle only for short periods, such as when moving the dog to a vehicle, or from the
    vehicle into the veterinary clinic. Muzzling can interfere with breathing in some cases and can
    cause problems if the dog has to vomit.

  • Speak to your dog softly and try to calm him down.

  • Allow the dog to assume the most comfortable position he wants.

  • When possible, splint or support any broken bones before moving the dog. Do not try to
    straighten the leg. Immobilize the leg in its current position.

  • In cases of snake bites, try to keep the dog calm. Activity can cause the venom to spread
    faster. Identify the snake if you can. Do not cut the bite area or suck the venom out. Do not
    use ice or put a tourniquet on.

The main thing to remember, stabilize your dog and get him to emergency
veterinary hospital quickly.
American Red Cross - Dog
First Aid. Also available from
Amazon. Comes with DVD.
Never leave your dog in a closed
vehicle, but you can use your vehicle
to provide shade. Park your vehicle in
the shade, if possible. If no shade is
available, reflective mesh sun screens
are available that provide shade and
allow air through. Make sure there is
plenty of air circulating through the
vehicle. Open doors all the way, open
tailgates, etc. Plug-in fans are
available for vehicles.

Lighter colored vehicles reflect more
sun than dark colored vehicles.

Use wire crates. These allow better air
circulation than the closed airline type

Keep fresh cool water available at all

If your dog wears a vest while
working, make sure it is light weight or
mesh fabric.

Certain breeds are more sensitive to
heat – such as obese dogs and short-
nosed breeds (boxers, bulldogs, etc).
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