Knowing emergency first-aid could save your pet’s life

There’s almost nothing we love more than our furry friends. And whether it’s displayed with a soft purring or a wagging tail, we know they love us just as much.

That’s why it pains us so much emotionally when they’re in pain physically. Our hearts go out to our hurting pets when they’re suffering. And we do everything we can to get them whatever medical attention they require as soon as possible.

Sometimes, however, that medicinal help may not be immediately available. On occasion, our pets may need us to step in and administer some kind of medical assistance before we are able to transport them to the veterinarian’s office.

That’s why it’s crucial to possess some basic pet first-aid skills. Someday it could mean the difference between life and death for one of your precious pets.

Pet First-Aid Supplies

The first thing you should do is acquire as many pet first-aid supplies as you can and keep them in a place where you can access them quickly.

These supplies would include:

  • Phone numbers for your veterinarian, the emergency vet clinic and the Animal Poison Control Center.
  • Towels, non-stick bandages and strips of clean cloth, for the purpose of protecting wounds or controlling bleeding.
  • Gauze, for wrapping wounds.
  • Adhesive tape, for securing the gauze or bandage.
  • Digital “fever” thermometer (must be inserted rectally).
  • Eyedropper, for oral treatments or flushing wounds.
  • Benadryl, for countering the swelling accompanying bee or wasp stings.
  • Milk of magnesia and activated charcoal, for absorbing poison (always consult a veterinarian or a poison control center before treating a poisoned animal).
  • Hydrogen peroxide, for inducing vomiting (always consult a veterinarian or a poison control center before inducing vomiting in an animal).
  • Leash, for transporting a pet able to walk without pain.
  • Stretcher, for transporting an animal unable to walk without pain.

Another item to keep handy is a muzzle. Your pet may be the most mild animal on earth, but pain can change an animal’s temperament quickly. However, do not muzzle a pet that is vomiting.

Also, talk gently to your injured pet to reassure them, but don’t try to hug them just yet until they’ve received care and their stress level has been reduced.


If you believe your pet has been poisoned by a product such as a cleaning agent, quickly read the warnings on the label and follow the same advice you would for a human.

This might include flushing the skin or eyes with water, or washing the skin with soap and water.

If your pet is already experiencing obvious signs of being poisoned, such as a seizure or losing consciousness, call the Animal Poison Control Center hotline (1-888-426-4435). Be ready to give them information including your pet’s breed, age, sex, weight and symptoms.

If your pet is having a seizure, don’t try to restrain them. Time the seizure (they usually last two to three minutes), then keep your animal as warm and quiet as possible while contacting your vet.


If your pet is bleeding, muzzle them first. Then wrap the wound with a clean, thick gauze pad, keeping pressure on the wound until blood clotting starts. Check every two or three minutes.

Possible Fracture

If you are concerned that your pet may have broken a bone, first muzzle them, then gently lay them on a flat surface for support before transporting them to your vet or an emergency vet clinic.


Muzzle the animal first. If it’s a severe burn, quickly apply an ice water compress to the wound. If it’s a chemical burn, flush it immediately with large quantities of water.


Try to look into your pet’s mouth, but be careful about being bitten. If you see an object that shouldn’t be there, try to remove it with a tweezers or small pliers. But be very careful not to push it farther down the throat.


If extreme weather or some other emergency forces you to leave your house in a hurry, you’re going to want to take your pet with you.

Just as you should have a bug-out bag packed and ready for yourself, you should also have a fully-stocked pet bug-out bag.

Your pet’s kit should include the following items:

  • At least three days’ worth of dry or canned pet food
  • At least two weeks’ worth of current medications (including flea and tick prevention)
  • Food and water bowls
  • Litter and litter box
  • Medical records
  • Photo of your pet
  • Carrier case
  • Favorite toys and treats
  • Bedding

You should also have bottled water ready to transport to your vehicle for your use, as well as for your pets.

As with just about everything in life, being prepared is the way to go. You’ll be able to save valuable time if you know in advance what to do in the case of a pet emergency. And that’s time that could save your pet’s life.


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