First aid tips for pet owners


Our pets are loved and valuable members of our family and being prepared to care for all their needs is important to ensure their best health and well being. Here are some basics you need for giving first aid care to your pet and always keep in mind that any first aid you administer should be followed by immediate veterinary care.

First-aid supplies

  • Important phone numbers
    • Your veterinarian
    • An emergency veterinary clinic
    • Animal Poison Control Center - 888-426-4435
  • Gauze for wrapping wounds or to muzzle an injured pet
  • Nonstick bandages, towels or strips of clean cloth to control bleeding or to protect sounds
  • Adhesive tape for bandages to secure the gauze wrap (do not use human adhesive bandages)
  • Milk of magnesia activated charcoal to absorb the poison. **Always contact your veterinarian or poison control center before inducing vomiting or treating an animal for poison
  • Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. **Always contact your veterinarian or poison control center before inducing vomiting or treating an animal for poison
  • Digital fever thermometer to check your pet's temperature. Do not insert a thermometer in your pet's mouth. The temperature must be taken rectally
  • Eyedropper or large syringe to give oral treatments or to flush wounds
  • Muzzle to cover your pet's head. If your pet is vomiting, do not muzzle it
  • Leash to transport your pet (if capable of walking without causing further injury)
  • Stretcher to stabilize the injured pet and prevent further injury during transportation. In an emergency, a door, board, blanket or floor mat can be used.

How to handle an injured pet

  • Never assume that even the gentlest pet will not bite or scratch if injured. Pain and fear can make animals unpredictable or even dangerous.
  • Don't attempt to hug an injured pet, and always keep your face away from its mouth. Although this may be your first impulse to comfort your pet, it might only scare the animal more or cause them pain.
  • Perform any examination slowly and gently. Stop if your animal becomes more agitated.
  • Call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic before you move your pet so they can be ready for you when you arrive.
  • Dogs may be muzzled with towels, stockings or gauze rolls.
  • Cats and other small animals may be wrapped in a towel to restrain them, but make sure your pet is not wrapped in the towel too tightly and its nose is uncovered so it can breathe. If necessary and if your pet is not vomiting, place a muzzle on the pet to reduce the chances you'll be bitten. NEVER muzzle your pet if it is vomiting.
  • If possible, try to stabilize injuries before moving an injured animal by splinting or bandaging them.
  • While transporting your injured pet, keep it confined in a small area to reduce the risk of additional injury. Pet carriers work well, or you can use a box or other container (but make sure your pet has enough air). For larger dogs, you can use a board, toboggan/sled, door, throw rug, blanket or something similar to act as a stretcher.
  • You should always keep your pet's medical records in a safe, easily accessible place. Bring these with you when you take your dog for emergency treatment.




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