First Aid Emergencies for Pets

Bleeding – Bind a sterile pad tightly over the wound for four or five minutes. If bleeding continues, bandage the pad, changing every hour. Use a tourniquet if blood is spurting or the other methods fail to work. Apply the tourniquet to a pressure point between the wound and heart, loosening briefly every 15 minutes. Take the animal to a veterinarian.

Burns – Treat for shock by covering the animal with a blanket, putting it in a quiet place, and placing a hot (but not too hot) water bottle beside it. Douse the burnt area with cold water immediately. Take the animal to a veterinarian.

Convulsions – Make the animal comfortable in a dark and quiet room. Clean up the animal and the resting place after the convulsion is over. Give water, but not food until the animal is completely back to normal. Take it to the vet.

Dislocations and broken bones – If you suspect either, immobilize the limit by carefully placing a thick magazine against the affected part and wrapping it loosely with gauze. Do not attempt to put the bone back in place.

Drowning (small animals) – Hold the animal upside down by the hind legs and swing it carefully for about 30 seconds. Then have someone else open its mouth and give it artificial respiration. (Larger animals) – Pick the animal up, holding it around the abdomen and ribs, and put the animal over your shoulder. Then open its mouth and pump its chest. Take your pet to the nearest animal hospital.

Foreign Body in the Mouth or Throat – Open the animal's mouth and find foreign body. If you can, remove it with your fingers or pliers, but only if you can do this without hurting the animal. You can use the Heimlich maneuver on the pet by putting pressure on the lower part of the chest and quickly squeezing up against your own chest to pop the object out. Be careful though – if you press too hard, you might crack the animal's ribs. Then try methods for drowning (holding upside down). If all else method fails, rush the animal to the vet.

Foreign Body in the Eye – Keep the animal from touching the eye, restrain it, and use finger and thumb to open the eye. If the foreign body sets on the eye and is not embedded, try washing it out with eyewash or weak cold tea: squeeze a gauze pad saturate with solution over the eye until the foreign body is dislodged, then put a drop of cod-liver oil or mineral mineral oil in the eye with an eyedropper. For embedded foreign bodies, take the animal to the veterinarian.

Frostbite or Hypothermia – Warm the animal up slowly in a warm bath or with warm towels for 10-15 minutes, then blow-dry. Keep the animal warm with a hot-water bottle or blanket. If you suspect frostbite, take the animal to the vet.

Heatstroke – Suspect heatstroke if a dog pants heavily, particularly if it collapses. If an animal has heatstroke, douse it with cool water, put it in a cool bath, or cover it with cold wet towels. Put an ice pack on its head. Rush it to the vet.

Poisoning – Signs of poisoning: vomiting, seizures, collapse, spasms, weakness, bleeding.

What do do – If you can, determine what poison your pet took then call the vet and the National Poison Control Center. Follow their instructions. Wash off any poison left on the pet. If you know that poison the animal ate, take some to the vet with you, including the container. If the vet tells you to use an emetic (useful only within 30 minutes after the pet ate the poison), the following are suitable: a small piece (pea size) of sodium bicarbonate; salted warm water; mustard in cold water.

ShockSigns of shock – collapse, fast and shallow breathing, pale gums, fast, weak pulse, cold limbs, dilated pupils

What do do – Give nothing by mouth. Do not prop the animal's head up. Keep the animal warm. If breathing has stopped or is irregular, loosen the animal's collar, check inside the mouth and remove anything foreign, then give artificial respiration. If the pulse has stopped, have someone with CPR training carefully give heart massage and artificial respiration. Treat bleeding. Immobilize broken bones. Call the vet.

Snakebite – Get the animal to the vet as fast as possible. If the bite is on the leg, put a tourniquet above the wound and apply ice packs to the bite.