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A dog with a blue bandage in its mouth, wrapped around its paw, pet first aid

Pet First Aid: What Every Pet Owner Should Know

A pet emergency can happen any time of day. So, it's important to be prepared to handle anything from cuts and minor bleeding to more serious injuries. Knowing basic first aid can make all the difference in keeping your furry friend safe and healthy. This guide to pet first aid will provide you with some basics regarding handling pet first aid.

Know the signs of common pet emergencies.

Pet owners need to recognize the signs of common pet emergencies. These can include choking, heat stroke, poisoning, and seizures. Knowing what to look for and how to respond can help you provide your pet with the necessary care and potentially save its life. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the signs of common pet emergencies and have a plan for handling them.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Sudden loss of consciousness
  • Severe bleeding
  • Choking

Keep your pet first aid kit supplied with basic necessities.

One of the essential steps in preparing for a pet emergency is having a well-stocked first aid kit. Your kit should include items such as:

  • Gauze
  • Adhesive tape
  • Bandages
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer

You may also want to include items specific to your pet's needs, such as medication or a muzzle. Keep your kit in an easily accessible location and ensure all family members know where it is and how to use its contents.

Basic first-aid techniques for pets.

Knowing basic first aid techniques for pets can be the difference between life and death in an emergency. Some standard methods include CPR, controlling bleeding, and treating burns or wounds. It's essential to familiarize yourself with these techniques and practice them before an emergency occurs. Consider taking a pet first aid class or consulting your veterinarian for guidance. Remember, in any trouble, it's essential to stay calm and act quickly to ensure the safety and well-being of your furry friend.

The AVMA provides some quick links for various pet emergencies. Get familiar with each type of emergency and handling so you can act quickly.


Poisoning and exposure to toxins
Bleeding (external)
Bleeding (internal)
Pet is not breathing
Pet has no heartbeat

When should you contact your veterinarian?

Even when you know basic first aid techniques, there are some situations where you should seek professional help. If your pet is experiencing severe bleeding, difficulty breathing, seizures, choking, or unconsciousness, it's vital to seek immediate veterinary care. Also, if your pet has ingested a toxic substance or is showing signs of a severe illness, it's critical to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. Keep our office number, the number to an emergency vet, and the pet poison helpline where you can quickly call in an emergency.

Prevent emergencies from happening in the first place.

While accidents can happen, there are steps you can take to prevent emergencies from occurring in the first place. Ensure your pet is current on vaccinations and preventative medications, such as flea and tick prevention. Keep your home and yard free of potential hazards, such as toxic plants, sharp objects, and small objects your pet could swallow.  Please supervise your pets when they are outside and keep them on a leash or in a secure area to prevent them from running into traffic or getting lost. Taking these preventative measures can help keep your pet safe and healthy.

Final Words

Pet emergencies can happen when you least expect them, especially when you wake up in the middle of the night to an emergency. So, the more prepared you are, the better you can calmly handle a crisis. But it is also critical to contact us, an emergency vet, or poison control (in case your pet consumes a toxic substance) so your pet can get professional care. Our Advanced Pet Care facility has expert surgeons and technicians to deal with pet emergencies.


Dr. Tammy Stevenson
Advanced Pet Care Clinic

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