always take for granted the things most dear to us. But when you
are either out at the lake, dog-park, or just playing in the backyard
with your beloved pet, disaster can strike. An insect sting, a fight
with another dog, or heat stroke; knowing what to do in a case of
emergency can be a matter of life and death. In an emergency, first
aid is not a substitute for veterinary treatment. However, if you
are unable to get your pet to a veterinarian, knowing basic first
aid could save your pet's life. Always seek veterinary care following
first aid attempts.
Remaining calm in the face of disaster is the best asset you can
have when trying to help your pet. A soothing voice and a calm demeanor
are the best method for helping your pet stay calm.
pet first aid books and attend educational events designed to provide
first aid training. The Red Cross provides excellent CPR and first
aid classes. Or call your local veterinary association to check
what first aid classes they provide to the public.
most likely to be encountered
(according to the American Animal Hospital Association)
the pet carefully to avoid getting bitten. Muzzle the animal.
Clean the wound with large amounts of water and then treat with
hydrogen peroxide or another antiseptic. Wrap large open wounds
to keep them clean. Apply pressure to profusely bleeding wounds.
Saliva has a high concentration of bacteria and bite wounds
often become infected and need professional care requiring antibiotics.
If the wound does not seem to be healing, contact a veterinarian.
firm direct pressure to areas until bleeding stops. Avoid bandages
that cut off circulation. For nails, use a coagulant (styptic
powder is the best, but cornstarch or white enriched flour will
also work). If bleeding persists, transport to a veterinarian.
(pet stops breathing)
to see if the animal is choking on a foreign object (see CHOKING).
If an object is removed from the throat and the animal still
is not breathing, place the animal with its right side down.
Close the animal's mouth and exhale directly into the nose,
not the mouth, until the chest expands. Cover the nose with
a handkerchief or a thin cloth if preferred. Depending on the
size of your pet, exhale 6 times per minute for a large dog
to 12 times per minute for the smallest dog or cat. Check for
a pulse, if there is not one, then, at the same time, apply
heart massage with the other hand. The heart is located in the
lower half of the chest behind the elbow of the front left leg.
Place hand over the heart and compress the chest one to two
inches for large animals or one inch for small animals. Give
5 quick compressions if you have an assistant, if alone give
10 to 12 compressions. Use caution, excessive pressure can fracture
ribs. Call a veterinarian immediately.
determine severity. 1st Degree: redness/discoloration, mild
swelling, pain. 2nd Degree: red/mottled, blisters, swelling,
pain, skin appears wet. 3rd Degree: deep tissue destruction,
skin white/charred, no pain. For 1st and 2nd degree burns, flush
area immediately with large amounts of cold water, apply ice
pack 15 - 20 minutes. If 2nd degree burn, observe for shock
(See Shock). For a 3rd degree burn, do not touch or cough over
burned area, observe for breathing and shock. In all cases,
transport immediately to a veterinarian.
are difficulty breathing, excessive pawing at mouth, blue lips
and tongue. Look into the mouth to see if foreign object in
throat is visible. Clear the airway by moving the object with
pliers or tweezers, being careful not to push it farther down
the throat. If the object remains lodged, perform the Heimlick
Maneuver by placing your hands on both sides of the animal's
rib cage and apply firm, quick pressure. Or place the animal
on its side and strike the side of the rib cage firmly with
the palm of your hand 3 or 4 times. Repeat this procedure until
the object is dislodged. Call a veterinarian immediately. (See
food for 12 - 24 hours. Give ice cubes only. Call Veterinarian.
quills: Sharp, hollow shafts. Quills cannot be pulled out without
anesthesia. Call Veterinarian. Foxtails: A barbed seed sometimes
visible in the eye, nose, mouth, throat or skin causing severe
irritation. Foxtails are usually too deep to remove without
general anesthetic. Call Veterinarian.
animal and control bleeding (See Muzzle in First Aid Kt). Watch
for signs of shock. Do not try to reset the fracture. Transport
to vet immediately using a stretcher ( See Stretcher in First
Aid Kit). Try to keep animal warm, quiet, and comfortable.
are usually in conjunction with extreme heat exposure and include
rapid or difficult breathing, vomiting, high body temperature,
collapse, and even death. Lower body temperature slowly by rinsing
with cool water or wrapping in a cool wet towel. Take caution
not to lower temperature too fast as it could result in hypothermia
(low body temperature) or possible shock (See Shock). Call Veterinarian
are the onset of swelling, itching and pain within one hour
of bite. Remove stinger and apply cold packs. If isolated from
veterinary care, a topical cortisone or an anti-inflammatory
ointment can be rubbed on area of bite. A previously prescribed
antihistamine to your pet may be given orally. Call veterinarian.
are vomiting, convulsions, diarrhea, salivation, weakness, depression,
pain, collapse, death. Write down what and amount the pet ingested.
Call veterinarian and poison control immediately. Do not induce
vomiting or treatment without direction from a Veterinarian.
In case of poisoning on the skin/coat from oils, paints, chemicals,
wash the animal with mild soap and rinse well.
are salivation, disorientation, loss of control of urine or
stool, violent muscle twitching, loss of consciousness. Move
pet away from any objects that could be harmful. Use a blanket
for padding and protection. Do not put yourself at risk by restraining
the animal during the seizure. Time the seizure. They usually
last only 2-3 minutes. Call Veterinarian. If the animal has
multiple or prolonged seizures, transport to veterinarian immediately.
are irregular breathing, dilated pupils and white gums. May
occur with serious injury or fright. Keep animal gently restrained,
quiet, and warm with head elevated. Call veterinarian.
(poisonous and nonpoisonous)
are rapid swelling, skin puncture, pain, weakness, and shock.
Stop all exercise to prevent spread of venom. Clean area. Many
poisons damage nerves or body tissue on contact. Rush to veterinarian.
food for 12-24 hours. To prevent contagion, isolate pet from
other pets. If vomiting is severe, dehydration could occur so
give ice cubes and call you veterinarian immediately.
First Aid Kit
for an emergency: By owning or carrying a first aid kit with you
on your outings, it can only increase the chances of a successful
recovery from disaster. Your First Aid kit should include:
- First Aid
Tape - 1 inch roll
- Furacin Ointment
- Gauze Pads
- 3X3 inch
- Gauze Pads
- 3 inch
9 (curved or straight)
- Instant Cold/Hot
- Panalog Cream
- Band - aids
- Scalpel &
- "Tamed" Iodine
(or other antiseptic)
Jelly (not carbolated)
(veterinary blood clotting cream)
- Tongue Depressors
Self Stick Wrap
- Muzzle -
Use a strip of soft cloth, rope, necktie or nylon stocking. Wrap
around the nose, under the chin and tie behind the ears. Care
must be taken when handling stressed or injured animals. Even
normally docile dogs may bite. Once the muzzle is on, make sure
the animal is able to pant. Do not use muzzle in case of vomiting.
Cats and small pets may be difficult to muzzle. A towel placed
around the head will help control small pets.
- A door, board, blanket, towel, floor mat, etc. can be used as
a stretcher to transport injured or weak animals.
phone numbers and emergency veterinarian numbers
knowing first aid and having a first aid kit should never give you
the excuse to not take your pet to your veterinarian. If your precious
pet is injured, a certified veterinarian should be notified in case
there is anything overlooked by you, a caring and loving pet owner.
You should always keep the pet's best interest in mind by keeping
up with vaccinations, proper diet and exercise, and of course, plenty