Pet First Aid

Be aware – a distressed animal can bite, muzzle if necessary before proceeding.

If you have pets at home, would you know what to do if there was an emergency?  Knowing first aid is important – you never know when your pet may become ill or injured.  Here are some basic pet first aid steps you can take if this should occur.

Bites – If your pet is bitten by another animal, first check the wound to see if there is any debris in it. If so, try to remove any foreign bodies, clean with a saline solution, apply an antiseptic lotion, then wrap the wound loosely.

Bleeding – If your pet is bleeding due to an injury, apply pressure to the wound for at least ten minutes. Do not stop the pressure during this time to see if it has stopped bleeding as this will stop the clotting process. Apply a pressure bandage.

Burns – For heat burns first apply cold water or an ice pack for 20-30 mins; follow this with an antibiotic ointment. For caustic burns (such as those from chemicals) apply vinegar followed by an antibiotic preparation. For acid burns apply a paste of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda).

Cardiac Arrest – If the animal has stopped breathing, place them on their right side with head and neck extended. Gently draw the tongue forward and clear any objects from the mouth and throat. Place a hand on the ribs directly behind the shoulder blades and use a sudden but gentle downward movement. Then immediately release the pressure. This should be repeated at five- second intervals.

Choking – Wrap the animal in a heavy blanket to keep still. Remove the foreign object with pliers or fingers. Do not pull on if a thread or string, as there may be needle attached.

External Wounds – Small wounds should be cleaned with salted water. Apply an antiseptic lotion and bandage the wound. When possible bring the edges of the wound together and hold them in this position with adhesive tape.

Eye Irritations – If you suspect there is something in the eye of an animal, inspect it gently by parting the lids under a bright light. Rinse the surface of the eye and lids with water. Do not rub. If you can see the object, gently remove it.

Fractures – If your pet has a broken bone first control any bleeding that he or she may have. Be careful not to pull on the area of the body that has the broken bone. If you can, put your pet on a blanket and lift them into your vehicle for transporting.

Heatstroke – NEVER leave a dog unattended in a closed vehicle in hot weather. Heat can build up to an intolerable level within minutes causing brain damage, even death. Signs of heatstroke include panting, drooling, rapid pulse, fever and shock. If your pet is suffering from heat stroke, immediately immerse them in a tub full of cool water, wrap in wet towels or use a garden hose to lower the body temperature to normal, but no lower.

Insect Stings – If it is a bee sting, establish if the stinger is still in your pets skin, if so remove it with a pair of tweezers. Then clean the area with a saline solution and apply an antiseptic lotion. This will take away the pain and will help stop any inflammation, like swelling.

Shock – Shock can follow almost any type of injury. Signs include shallow breathing, pale, gray-colored mucous membranes, glassy eyes, dilated pupils and collapse. Keep the animal warm and quiet. Administer emergency essence (check web site for details)

Keeping a First Aid Kit for the family pet is an excellent idea. In all cases it is suggested that once first aid has been administered, veterinary advice should be sought as soon as possible.