5 Basic Things to Know if Your Pet Needs First Aid

Dec 05 , 2019

5 Basic Things to Know if Your Pet Needs First Aid

April is Pet First Aid Awareness month and in honor of that we will be going over five basic things to know/do if your pet needs first aid.  Of course, with any medical emergency the best course of action is to bring your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible, but here are some first aid techniques which can help you stabilize your pet until you get to a veterinary hospital.


  • Choking: If your pet is choking, keep them calm and look for any visible object that may be obstructing their airway.  If you’re able to spot an object, VERY CAREFULLY while using a pair of tweezers try to remove the object.  If this does not work, lay your pet on their side and place your hand at the end of their rib cage.  Push down and slightly forward, applying pressure (but not too much pressure) in quick firm strokes.  This will help the animal breath and could help dislodge the object.  If it does not dislodge the object, get to the vet immediately.
  • Poisoning: If you believe your pet has eaten something toxic, call your vet or the ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline (888-426-4435) immediately.  Unless instructed to do so by a veterinarian, never induce vomiting.  Many toxins are corrosive, and vomiting may damage the esophagus or cause choking.
  • Cuts, Punctures, or Bites: All punctures, bites, and cuts have the potential to become infected, so they need to be checked out by a vet as soon as possible.  If your pet is bleeding profusely, cover the area with sterile gauze and/or a clean towel, and then apply direct pressure until a clot forms.  If there’s an object penetrating the wound, do not attempt to remove it—removing the object may cause more harm than good.
  • Car Trauma: If your pet gets hit by a car lay them on a flat surface which can be easily transported; like a skateboard or a regular board you may have laying around.  Try and strap your pet to the board but do not put pressure on their chest, it may hinder breathing.  If you suspect your pet has sustained a head injury, place something under your pet’s head which will elevate their head slightly above their body.  If you see any broken bones, do what you can to minimize excessive motion, but don’t attempt to splint them.  Once your pet is inside your vehicle to be transported to a vet, you may cover your pet with a blanket to help prevent shock.  After any car trauma—even if your pet does not appear to be injure—it’s still critical you have a vet examine them.  Many animals suffer internal injuries that are not obvious, and they may be very serious if not given immediate veterinary attention.
  • Seizures: If your pet is having a seizure, move furniture and other objects out of the way to help prevent further injury.  DO NOT attempt to restrain your pet and keep your hands away from their mouth—pets will not swallow their tongues, but chances are they will bite you.  Most seizures won’t last more than five minutes.  Regardless of how long the seizure lasts, your pet needs to see a veterinarian immediately.


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