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How to Give Pets First Aid

How to Give Pets First Aid

Many pets can be energetic and not always the best at avoiding injury. In this post, our Poway vets will discuss first aid for pets, and what to do if your pet ever gets into trouble.

Are You Ready For A Pet Emergency?

Animal Emergency Clinic of San Diego wants to make sure you're ready if your dog or cat needs first aid. So we've put together a list of essential items for your pet's first aid kit. Put the items in a toolbox or another case and make sure they are easy to get to.

  • Latex gloves 
  • Cotton swabs or cotton balls
  • Antiseptic lotion, powder, or spray
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes 
  • Instant hot and cold packs 
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Penlight or flashlight 
  • Nonstick and waterproof adhesive tape to secure bandages 
  • Grease-cutting dish soap
  • Tweezers 
  • Sterile gauze pads and bandages 
  • Hydrocortisone cream 3%
  • Blunt-tipped scissors or razor for cutting hair and bandages 
  • Splints and tongue depressors 
  • Styptic liquid to stop minor bleeding
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Blanket, muzzle, carrier, or leash to secure your pet
  • Rectal thermometer
  • Copy of rabies vaccination
  • Water in case of dehydration 
  • Lubricating jelly 
  • Copy of medical records
  • Turkey baster, rubber bulb syringe, or dosing 

Basic Animal First Aid

The following are first-aid tips for cats and dogs you can do before bringing them to the vet.

  • To be safe, muzzle your pet. Even the nicest pets can bite when they're hurt, so it's best to be careful. Ask your vet in advance how to use gauze to tie a muzzle if you don't have a muzzle handy.
  • Press a clean, thick pad of gauze over any cuts or scrapes, and keep your hand on the wound until the blood starts to clot. Keep the pressure on for at least three minutes before checking to see if the blood is indeed clotting.
  • Keep the pet as quiet and warm as you can.
  • If you think the pet has broken bones, find a flat surface, like a board or stretcher, that you can move the pet on from place to place. Using a blanket or towel to tie the pet to the surface may also be a good idea.
  • Remember that any first aid you give your pet should be followed by veterinary care right away. First aid care is not the same as veterinary care, but it could save your pet's life until it can see a vet.
  • Some animal hospitals that treat emergencies have ambulances. Call your vet to find out how to move an injured animal based on your specific situation.

CPR For Cats and Dogs

It is scary thinking you might need to perform CPR on your pet, but it can happen. CPR for dogs and cats is virtually the same as CPR for people. These directions are based on if the dog or cat is unconscious and that you won't get bit.

  1. Remove any obstacles. Open the animal's mouth and make sure its air passage is clear. If not, remove the object blocking the airway.
  2. Extend the head and give the dog or cat a few fake breaths.
    • For large dogs, close the dog's mouth tightly and breathe into the nose. The dog's chest should raise. Give 2 breaths at a time
    • You may be able to cover the nose and mouth of small dogs and cats with your mouth while breathing. The chest of the animal should rise. Take two deep breaths.
  3. Do chest compressions
    • Large dogs may be able to be positioned on their backs and their chest compressed in the same way that humans do.
    • You may need to lay the animal on its side and compress the side of the rib cage for small dogs and cats, as well as large dogs with funnel chests. You can also turn the animal on its back and press on both sides of the rib cage.
    • The rate of chest compressions varies depending on the cat or dog's size.
      • Dogs over 60 pounds: 60 compressions per minute.
      • Animals between 11 and 60 pounds: 80-100 compressions per minute
      • Animals 10 pounds or less: 120 compressions per minute.
  4. Alter your breaths with compressions. The compression-to-breath ratio should be similar to that of humans - 30:2. Repeat until the animal responds or begins to breathe on its own.

If your pet is experiencing a medical emergency contact our Poway vets right awayAnimal Emergency Clinic of San Diego is available 24/7 for your pets needs.

Experienced Emergency Vet Care

Animal Emergency Clinic of San Diego is a family-run after-hours and critical care hospital, providing veterinary emergency care since 1985. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, contact us to get the help your pet needs.

Contact Us

(858) 748-7387