Pet First Aid

Pet First Aid

Have you considered what you would do if your pet had an emergency? Choking and bleedingare two common pet emergencies. How would you handle them? Knowing pet first-aid can make a big difference in your pet’s survival.

Tips and Advice

Pets that are in need of first-aid care are scared and in pain. This makes them unpredictable. Even Fluffy that has always been great with the kids and has never show any sign of aggression can change under the right circumstances. Always practice extra caution when dealing with an injured or sick pet. Though your instinct may be to hug your pet and provide comfort, it may cause more pain or make your pet more scared. Do not put your face anywhere near the pet’s mouth. To be safe, muzzle your pet if it is not vomiting (do not muzzle if vomiting).

Perform your examination slowly and gently. If your pet becomes more agitated, it’s time for you to stop your examination. Do what you can for your pet, such as immobilize a leg with a splint or apply bandages to a wound, then call your vet or emergency clinic. Calling before you leave will give the clinic time to prepare for your animal. Grab your medical records and it’s time to go. For the ride, confine your pet with a pet carrier, box, or large blanket. This will prevent the pet from moving and causing more damage.

Some of the best advice in first-aid is to be prepared for what might happen and take a first-aid class. Red Crossoffers a pet first-aid course online where students can gain the skills that might save a pet’s life. Know what is normal for your dog so you can recognize when something is wrong, including gum color, breathing rates, heart rates, temperature, energy levels, and urination habits. All of this information will be useful in an emergency situation. It may not seem relevant to you that Fluffy wants to sleep a little more the past couple of days, but to a vet it can be an important clue.

Creating a First-Aid Kit

The first things to include in any first-aid kitare a pet first-aid book so you can look up specific problems, all paperwork relating to vet care and ownership, phone numbers and directions of vet clinics and emergency clinics, a recent photo of your pet, nylon leash, and self-cling bandage. Consider putting all of this into a water-resistant container or bag so it will always be useable. Other items to consider can be found at a local pet supply store or pharmacy.

gauze pads and rolls

antiseptic spray

adhesive tape

foil blanket

cotton balls

hydrogen peroxide

ice pack

disposable gloves

petroleum jelly

rectal thermometer


saline solution


blanket or carrier


ear-cleaning solution

plastic card to use for scraper

glucose paste

nail clippers

antibiotic ointment


eye dropper

rubbing alcohol

tongue depressors

styptic powder


needle-nosed pliers


Talk to your vet, especially if you are planning an adventure or traveling. Your vet may recommend specific items for your pet based on medical conditions and habits. If you are traveling, make sure to include temporary contact information in your documents.

Knowing some basic first-aid for your pet may make the difference in an emergency. Take a course, create or purchase a first-aid kit, and know what is normal for your pet so you can recognize when something is not normal. These simple ideas could help save your pet’s life. After first-aid, get your pet to the vet. First-aid is a temporary treatment and not meant to replace veterinary care. Hopefully, you will never need to use your pet first-aid knowledge, but it is always best to be prepared. Do the best thing for your pet and learn first-aid basics so you can help if there is an emergency.