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Pet First Aid Guide: How to Give Pets First Aid?

Our pets are curious and energetic creatures, but sometimes their sense of fun and adventure can lead to accidents and injuries. Today, our Tracy veterinarians will share a few pet first-aid tips and discuss what to do if your dog or cat gets injured.

Preparing Your Pet First Aid Kit

To ensure you're prepared in case your dog or cat gets injured, our team at Paws and Claws Veterinary Hospital has compiled a list of essential items for your pet's first aid kit. Store these items in a toolbox or case, which is easily accessible.

  • 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 First Aid For Pets

Below are some basic first-aid tips for dogs and cats that you may need to use before bringing your pet to the vet.

  • To ensure safety, muzzle your pet. Even the friendliest pets can bite when they're hurt, so it's crucial to be cautious. If you don't have a muzzle available, ask your vet in advance for instructions on using gauze to fashion one.
  • Apply a clean, thick pad of gauze over any cuts or scrapes, and maintain pressure on the wound until the bleeding stops and clotting begins. Keep the pressure on for at least three minutes before assessing if the blood has indeed clotted.
  • Keep the pet as calm and warm as possible.
  • If you suspect the pet has broken bones, locate a flat surface, such as a board or stretcher, that can be used to transport the pet from one place to another. It may also be advisable to use a blanket or towel to secure the pet to the surface.
  • Remember that while first aid can be crucial, it is not a substitute for veterinary care. Seek professional veterinary assistance promptly following any first aid administered to your pet. First aid care may temporarily stabilize the pet until it can receive veterinary attention.
  • 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.

How To Perform CPR On Cats and Dogs

It is scary to think 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 the assumption that 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 two 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.
    • For small dogs and cats, as well as large dogs with funnel chests, you may need to lay the animal on its side and compress the side of the rib cage. 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.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Our Tracy emergency vets are available 24/7 to ensure that your pet receives the care it needs as quickly as possible. 

Caring for Pets in Tracy

Paws & Claws Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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