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First Aid for Your Pet

By April 24, 2018 Small Animal

Whenever your pet has any medical concerns, you should contact your veterinarian right away. However, in emergency situations it is helpful to know some tips to help your pet before you can get him to the veterinarian.


If your pet is bleeding, apply direct pressure to the area using a cotton pad or gauze. Do not wipe at the area as this can dislodge any clots that have formed. Hold pressure for a couple of minutes before checking to see if the bleeding has stopped.

For larger bleeds, you can apply a bandage using rolled gauze or Vet Wrap. If the bleed is severe and on the limbs, you can apply a tourniquet. In these cases, immediately take your pet to your veterinarian.


Move objects away from your pet that it may harm itself on. Time and film the seizure to inform your veterinarian. Do not handle your pet as you may get bitten. When the seizure has ended, call your veterinarian and keep your pet calm and warm. If the seizure lasts more than two minutes, take your pet to your veterinarian right away.


Flush the burn with tepid water for 5-10 minutes and immediately take your pet to your veterinarian.

Penetrating Object

Do not remove the object. Keep your pet calm and warm and take it directly to your veterinarian.


Take your pet to your veterinarian right away. If you can see the object, you can try to very carefully remove it. Have someone try to keep your pet’s mouth open for you to do this, but keep in mind that your pet (if still conscious) may be panicked and may try to bite.

If you are not able to dislodge the object, you can attempt to perform abdominal thrusts. Learn how with this video:

Poisoning or Swallowing Something They Shouldn’t

Call your veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian may instruct you on how to induce vomiting in your pet. However, it is not always safe to do so. Some substances can do more damage if your pet vomits, so make sure to speak with your veterinarian first.

Not Breathing and/or No Heartbeat

This is an emergency. Confirm your pet is not breathing by listening near its nose, or watching its chest. Check in your pet’s mouth to make sure there is nothing obstructing the airway.

Check for a heartbeat by placing your hands on both sides of your pet’s chest around the armpit area or just beside the elbow. Feel for 10-15 seconds. If there is no heartbeat, begin CPR. If a heartbeat is present but your pet is not breathing, perform mouth-to-mouth breathing, but do not perform chest compressions.

Bring your pet to your veterinarian right away. It is best to call the clinic to let staff know you are on your way so that they may prepare for your arrival.

Learn more about CPR here:


It is a good idea to have a first aid kit dedicated to your pet. Here are some of the things that you should include in your pet’s first aid kit.

First Aid Kit Materials:

Bandage Material and Tools

  • Gauze or cotton pads
  • Bandage material such as Vet Wrap, rolled gauze and bandage tape
  • Scissors


  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for allergic reactions, make sure to have a dose written down from your veterinarian
  • Topical antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (use only as directed by your veterinarian to induce vomiting)
  • Pain medication prescribed by your veterinarian


  • Your veterinarian’s phone number
  • Phone number, address and directions to the closest emergency veterinary hospital
  • Phone number for the Pet Poison Helpline: 1-855-764-7661
  • List of all medications your pet is on, as well as current/previous medical conditions


  • A muzzle
  • Tick remover tool
  • Tweezers
  • Styptic powder for broken nails
  • Sterile saline eye flush
  • Syringes
  • Blanket


In any emergency, always make sure to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian can give you directions as to what to do and how to appropriately use the tools and medications in your first aid kit.

Call our team at Mitchell Veterinary Services or Pauly Veterinary Clinic with any questions. Your pet’s well-being is our number one priority.

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