Every second counts when your pet is seriously sick or injured. Pet first aid can be the difference between life and death for your furry companion, so it’s important for every pet owner to learn the basics. While consulting with a vet for serious issues is essential, knowing what to do in minor emergencies can help stabilize your pet until professional help arrives.
Here is what you should do in case an emergency arises:
What to Do in a Pet Emergency?
When your beloved pet’s life is on the line, it can be difficult to stay calm. However, it is important not to panic, assess the situation, and provide basic first aid to your pet as swiftly as possible. Always remember the ABC code in case of a pet emergency:
- Airways: Make sure to clear the airway
- Breathing: Make sure the pet can breathe.
- Circulation: Make sure the pet has a heartbeat and pulse
Once you ensure these things, send someone for help and call the vet.
Remember that your pet might be panicked and bite or lash out at you if you try to hug it. It is important not to get too close to the animal and make gentle, soothing sounds and motions to signal your fur baby that they are in good hands and help is on the way.
Essential Pet First Aids Tips
Here are some essential pet first aid tips for various emergencies:
CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation): If your pet is unconscious and not breathing, lay them on their side and gently compress their ribcage for dogs or breathe into their nose for cats.
Bleeding: The most common pet emergency involves cuts and wounds, and here’s what to do: First, locate the bleeding source with clean hands or gloves. Check for protruding foreign objects and cautiously attempt to remove small ones with tweezers without inserting them into the wound. Elevate the bleeding area if feasible, but avoid using a tourniquet unless advised by a veterinarian. Cleanse the wound gently with a sterile wipe or solution and pat it dry. Apply firm pressure using a clean gauze swab or towel and secure it with a bandage. Contact your vet for further assistance and treatment.
When dealing with burns, immediately flush the burned area with cold water for at least 10 minutes. Cover the burn with a non-stick bandage or clean cloth, avoiding adhesive bandages. If the burn results from chemical exposure, contact your veterinarian before rinsing with water and adhere to their guidance. Do not apply ointments or creams unless specifically prescribed by a vet.
Choking: For choking, if your pet is conscious, attempt to remove the obstruction by opening their mouth and carefully extracting the object with pliers or your fingers. You can also attempt a modified Heimlich maneuver by placing the pet on its side, applying pressure behind the ribs and pressing your hands forward. This can help force out the obstruction. Seek veterinary assistance promptly.
Seizures: During seizures, prioritize your pet’s safety by removing them from objects or furniture that could harm them. Take note of the seizure’s duration and any unusual behaviors, and contact your vet after the seizure concludes. Typically, seizures do not last more than three minutes. During this time, don’t try to pull the animal’s tongue out of the mouth or put your hand anywhere near its mouth.
Poisoning: Household items like insecticides, sugar-free gum, chocolate, and aspirins can poison dogs. If you suspect your pet has consumed something poisonous, immediately contact your veterinarian or a poison control hotline. Avoid inducing vomiting unless specifically instructed by a professional.
Fractures or Sprains: In the case of fractures or sprains, immobilize the affected area if possible and minimize your pet’s movement. Transport them to the vet promptly. Do not attempt to bandage or splint a broken or fractured bone, as this could worsen the injury.
Heatstroke: If your pet is panting heavily, drooling excessively, or having trouble breathing, it could be a sign of heatstroke. Move your pet to a cooler area and wet their fur with cool but not ice-cold water. Use a fan to help it cool down, and offer small sips of water. Seek veterinary care without delay.
Insect Stings and Bites: For insect stings or bites, use tweezers to remove stingers or ticks, clean the affected area with mild soap and water, and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. You can use antihistamines like Benadryl to relieve some symptoms, but only if your vet advices it. If you notice any swelling on the face or neck of the animals, hives, or difficulty breathing, it could be a sign of anaphylactic shock, which can be life-threatening if not treated immediately.
Dog Bites: If a dog bites your pet, immediately address any bleeding by applying a dressing to the wound. It’s worth noting that an injured animal is more prone to biting, so take precautions by muzzling your pet first with a soft cloth. Dog bites can introduce hair and debris into the wound, which can lead to infection if not cleaned and treated promptly, so seek vet care urgently.
Eye injuries: In case of eye injuries, gently flush your pet’s eye with a saline solution to dislodge any debris. Never use tweezers or sharp objects to remove foreign objects from the eye. Cover the injured eye with a clean cloth and consult your vet for further assistance.
Remember that pet first aid is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. If your pet has significant injuries and illnesses, it is important to consult your veterinarian promptly. Additionally, consider taking a pet first aid course to gain more knowledge and confidence in handling emergencies effectively.
Take proactive steps to ensure the health and well-being of your beloved pet. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can positively impact your dog’s health and quality of life.