Pet First Aid
First Aid That Can Save Your Pet's Life
First Aid That Can Save Your Pet's Life

Although we try to do our best to keep our pets safe, accidents can happen. From being hit by a car, injured by another animal, eating something poisonous and scores of other unforseen mishaps, your knowledge of first aid could save your pet's life, and it is wise to be prepared. Here are some common pet emergencies and ways to help.


If your pet suffers a wound, depending on severity, take the following actions: If there is blood, control the bleeding. If the wound is minor, clean it if possible, cover it with a bandage and take your pet to the vet for antibiotics to prevent possible infection. If the bleeding is severe, you will need to apply pressure to control the bleeding. Apply a pressure bandage (if you have one) and rush him to the hospital. Keep the pressure on (and you may need to keep your fingers or some other form of pressure in addition to a tightly applied bandage) until he is safely at the veteranarian or pet hospital.

Broken bone

If your pet suffers an injury that results in a broken bone, you must first immobilize the limb by holding the animal still. Do not try to straighten the limb or set the bone. You will need to keep your pet still and get him/her to your veterinarian or an animal hospital quickly. Find something to use as a stretcher (like a board covered by a towel). Gently place your pet on the stretcher being careful not to let its body flop or twist. Call your vet first, then take him to the animal hospital immediately.

Internal Injuries

If your pet has suffered an accident and you suspect internal injuries, immediately call your veterinarian or emergency hospital and make arragements to bring the animal in. Next gently place the animal on a stretcher (see above) being very careful not to twist or jar the body. Cover your pet with a towel or blanket and get him into the hands of your vet or hospital as soon a you can.


Like children, dogs and cats can be poisoned by accidentally consuming items commonly found around the home such as antifreeze coolant (often consumed by cats and dogs from radiator leaks), scouring powder, bleach, ammonia, weed killers, insecticides, decaying food from a garbage can and chewing on common indoor and outdoor plants. Some of the symptoms of poisoning include convulsions, vomiting, diarrhea, nervousness, twitching, difficulty in breathing, unsteady on its feet or unconsciousness.

If you suspect your pet was poisoned, time is of the essence. Immediately call your vet or emergency hospital and tell them of your suspicions. It is helpful if you know what your pet ingested to cause the poisoning so try and bring a sample with you. Make your pet comfortable and get him/her to the vet as soon as you can.


If your pet if making choking sounds, is gagging or appears to have something stuck in his/her throat here is what to do: Try to open your pet's mouth to look and see what it is choking on. If you can see the object try and remove it from its mouth. If you can't remove it, but your pet can still breathe, get to your veterinarian or emergency hospital immediately. If your pet cannot breathe, try picking your pet up and hugging it to you. Next clasp your hands around your pet's middle and lift upward quickly to see if you can dislodge the object by forcing air back up through the mouth. If your pet is too large to lift, lay the animal down on its side. Place your hands, one on top of another, just below the rib cage, in the middle of the abdomen. Now push or lift sharply upward to try and dislodge the obstruction. After performing this action, check to see if the obstruction has been cleared and remove any objects from the animals mouth. Then get to a vet to have your pet checked over.


If your pet has been submerged and has gotten water in his lungs, do the following: Lay the animal down, open his mouth and clear the breathing passage by pulling the tongue forward and getting any debris out of of the mouth. If this does not handle the problem and your pet is small, hold it by it's hind legs and swing it gently back and forth to help get the water out of his system. If he is too large, place him on his side and press upward on his midsection or abdomen. Then take him to an animal hospital.


Heatstroke often occurs when a pet has become overheated because it was left in the sun or in a car on a hot day. It is extremely dangerous to your pet's health. Some of the signs of heatstroke include panting, gasping, loss of mobility, uneven gait, listness or collapse. If you suspect your pet may have suffered heat stroke you should gradually cool his body down. Place your pet in a tub of cool running water or spray with a hose making sure the cool water contacts his skin and doesn't simply run off the coat. Thoroughly wet the belly and inside the legs. Run the cool water over the tongue and mouth. As soon as he is cooler and breathing normally, take him to his vet.


If your pet is being shocked by electricity, don't touch him! You need to turn off the electricity first or you may get shocked yourself. Once the electricity is off, wrap your pet in a towel or blanket and take him to the vet. If he or she is not breathing, perform Pet CPR immediately. Afterwards, take him to the vet or emergency hospital.

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