Tips that could save your beagle's life

Beagles are inquisitive creatures and have no concept of danger. They are always chewing on things they shouldn’t be eating, getting into unsafe situations or accessing places that are not safe for them to explore. Sometimes their curiosity leads to an emergency.

There are many emergencies that may arise at home or out on a walk involving our dogs. In those moments it is important to be fully prepared in order to act quickly and effectively – you could save their life.

Everyday, beagles at home eat toxic food or chemicals, injure themselves on something sharp, choke on something or run across a road to be hit by a car. It is vital that they receive prompt and appropriate first aid in any of those eventualities.

Prompt and appropriate first aid can prevent a minor injury becoming a major one. It can reduce pain, improve outcomes and give you peace of mind that you can do the best for your pet.

There exist dog first aid courses both online and practical.

Here are a few tips - not replacing the vet - in case of doubt or uncertainty my advice is to consult with your own veterinarian asap!

A key point for first aid is learning to recognize an emergency. Here are some emergency situations where you should definitely take your dog to the vet:

  • aren’t breathing or are having difficulty breathing
  • are unresponsive
  • have collapsed and can’t get up
  • are having a fit/seizure
  • may have broken bones
  • are having difficulty moving or coordinating movements
  • may have eaten something toxic
  • have been vomiting or passing diarrhea for more than 24 hours.

Know your dog

Changes in behavior such as change in appetite, bowel movements and even smell can indicate that there is something seriously wrong with your dog. Know the key indicators to look out for so that you can act quickly.

Know how to check for a pulse

The easiest place to find the dog’s pulse is in the upper third of their thigh. Place your hand over the top of their thigh and gently squeeze your fingers just underneath their leg. You should be able to feel the artery pulsing at this point. Your thumb has a strong pulse itself so don’t use this to take their pulse, otherwise you will be timing your own pulse rate! Time the pulse for 15 seconds and then multiply the result by 4 in order to calculate the number beats per minute.

Know how to help your choking dog

Choking occurs when something blocks the airway. When the airway is partially blocked a dog may start retching, pacing back and forth and pawing at their mouth. If their airway becomes totally blocked, they will be unable to make any sound at all. Dogs can choke on anything, from plastic bags, balls, socks, toys or anything they can get hold of, if it goes down the wrong way it may leave them unable to breathe. It is important that you spot these signs and then know how to act fast to dislodge the obstruction. 

Breathing: normal breathing rate is 10-40 breaths / minute with regular rhythm and is the type a so-called chest breathing.

Heart rate: 80-120 beats / minute, small dogs: 100-170 beats / minute, up to 220 puppies beats / minute. An increased heart rate is found in stress, fever, blood loss, heart disease, while a decreased heart rate suggests a poison, a skull-brain trauma or hypothermia.

Capillar fill time: press 1-2 seconds to the inner side of the mouth and releases, the mucous membrane discoloration change in 1-2 seconds from white to pink. The capillar fill time is increased in shock (as the peripheral blood vessels are constricted), pain, or poisoning.
Mucous membrane color: The mucous membranes are usually pale pink. In shock, pain, blood loss and anemia are the mucous membranes, white with blood poisoning, heat stroke, they are red.
Measuring body temperature is rectally, which is usually the body temperature from 38.3 to 39 ° C.

Be prepared for emergencies

First ensure the safety of yourself and others. Keep calm and assess the situation before acting. Injured animals are frightened and in pain and may try to bite anyone who touches them.
Keep your vet’s name, address and telephone number stored in your mobile phone, and kept in an address book or safe place around the home.

Call your vet first. You’ll need to let them know there’s an emergency case on the way and follow any instructions you’re given e.g. if emergencies are seen on a different site. Keep a pen and paper handy to take down any important instructions from your vet.
If there is a risk of biting, put a muzzle on the dog, or wrap tape around the nose and tie behind the ears, unless the dog has difficulty breathing. Small dogs may be restrained by putting a thick towel over their heads.
Never give human medicines to a dog – many will do more harm than good. Do not offer food or drink in case anaesthetic is needed.
Drive carefully when taking the patient to the vet.

Symptoms & actions

Eye problems:
half-closed or closed eye; photophobia; eyelid swelling; extremely strong red coloring of the conjunctiva; foreign body
-> Reduction of the incidence of light, cold pad with water/ice pack, consult a veterinarian if there are foreign bodies!

Bite injuries:
Often only small wounds that penetrate the skin, but severe elevations in the subcutaneous tissue, increased risk of infection due to bacterial penetration; deep flesh wounds, heavy bleeding, bone injuries
If a beagle is the victim of a fight, it usually gets scratch-bite injuries on its ears: Ear injuries bleed extremely profusely, but are usually fine again after a few minutes of disinfection.

-> Disinfect ALL wounds because of the strong bacterial infection of bite wounds!
clean, non-constricting bandage for bleeding wounds and open bone injuries
do not use rubber rings. In case of deep injuries, vein injuries, consult a veterinarian!

Bug bites: 
swelling of the lips and head, hives (round swellings of the skin).

-> Remove sting, cool poison entry point, give calcium.
There is a risk of suffocation from bites in the mouth area - consult a veterinarian!

Sun stroke, heat stroke: 
severe panting; convulsions to unconsciousness

-> ensure that you cool down quickly (put in the shade, rinse with cold water but do not pour it over your head, cool the extremities first), wet envelopes,give small sips of water, be sure to see a vet!

Vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, unconsciousness, bleeding from body cavities.

-> If possible, identify the poison (keep the chewed medicine packages), contact the veterinarian immediately!
Give animal charcoal if the vet is not immediately available.
NEVER induce milk and NEVER induce vomiting!


evacuation of watery feces; yellow-brown to bloody, increased defecation
In the winter, many Beagles tend to eat snow and drink ice water. In spring/summer some of them eat to many grass. Both can cause diarrhea - in this case simply fast and give diet food.

-> fasting – i.e. NO food
Offer light Russian tea or chamomile tea/cheese poplar tea as a liquid, keep warm.
Visit the vet if you have bloody diarrhea (even if the cause is often "only" a small blood vessel that has burst due to the agony of defecation), otherwise offer cooked rice+chicken after 24 hours of fasting.
Give charcoal tablet and stomach protectant (from the vet).


gagging movements, evacuation of food and mucus or white foam from the mouth; violent paw movements to the mouth
In the winter, the cold snow and ice can cause a gastritis. 

-> withdraw food and liquid. In case of repeated, violent vomiting: suspected foreign body, inflammation or infectious disease or if the dog is not in order again within 2-3 hours after emptying the stomach contents, consult a veterinarian!

Ear pain:

shaking of head, scratching movements with paws; sudden shaking of the head speaks for the penetration of a grain awn; with hot ears, dark brown mass, foul smell: suspected ear infection!
-> cleaning outer ear. Do not penetrate the auditory canal, as awns ("Schliefhansl") penetrate deeper through shaking movements - so go to the vet immediately!
Consult a veterinarian if you suspect an ear infection!

Tick bite:
Stuck insect, reddening of the bite site

-> Use your finger/tick tweezers to move the tick body in a circular motion until it falls off, dab with alcohol
Observe the bite site, if the urine is red-green-brown, go to the vet IMMEDIATELY!