What would you do if
…your dog ate the entire bag of chocolate covered raisins left on the kitchen counter?
…your cat had a seizure right in front of you?
Answers to these questions may not be easy to come by, and often times cause a great deal of panic among the owners of the pet.
Please keep in mind that any first aid administer to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care.
First aid care is NOT a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save yours pets life until it receives veterinary treatment.
Basic Pet First Aid Procedures
Poisoning and Exposure to Toxins– If you know that your pet has consumed something harmful you should call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 there is a $49 fee associated with this service. When calling you should have your pet’s species, breed, age, weight, symptoms, the product that the pet ingested, or label of the product (AVMA, 2015)
Seizures– If your pet is having a seizure, keep your pet away from any objects that might hurt the pet. DO NOT try to restrain the pet. Time the seizure, they usually last for 2-3 minutes, this information is important to your veterinary professional. After the seizure has stopped, keep your pet arm and as quiet as possible, and contact your veterinarian (AVMA, 2015)
Bleeding– If you find an open wound that is actively bleeding you should do the following. Press a clean, thick, gauze pad over the wound and keep pressure with your hand until the blood starts to clot. This may take several minutes, so to be sure hold pressure for 3 minutes and then check to see if the bleeding has stopped. If heavy bleeding, hold pressure on the wound until you can get to your veterinary clinic.
Choking- Please use caution. If your pet is choking they are more apt to bite when they are in panic mode. If your pet is still able to breath, get to a veterinarian right away. If not, look into the pet’s mouth to see if a foreign object is visible. If you can see it try to gently remove it with pliers or tweezers, but you MUST take care to not shove the object down any further. If it cannot easily be removed, you need to get to a veterinary clinic right away.
Heatstroke– If you cannot get your pet out of the heat, place a cool wet towel around the animals neck and head, do not cover the eyes, nose, or mouth. Remove the towel and re-wet it often to keep it cool. If you have a hose, or access to water, you can keep the water running over your pet’s body, especially the abdomen & between the hind legs, use your hands to massage the legs and sweep the water away as it absorbs the body heat. When able to take your pet to a veterinarian right away.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has created a list of first aid supplies that may be helpful to you if you find yourself in one of the situations above. The list can be found at the bottom of this page. It may be helpful to purchase the items on the list and make up a small “Canine/Feline first Aid Kit” to carry with you in your car or keep in your house.
Pet first aid supplies checklist
As a pet owner, you need to make sure to have basic first aid supplies for your pets in your household. Carefully putting together a well-provisioned first aid kit will make you more ready to deal with a medical emergency if one confronts you for your dog, cat or other pet. Have this kit in the house and fully stocked with supplies at all times, next to the first aid kit for your family. Many of the items in a family first aid kit can be used for pets, too.