Macgyver-Inspired Pet First Aid

July 28th, 2015


You and your furry friends may love adventuring outdoors together, but you probably do not do carry a first aid kit everytime you do. Like most of us and most of the time, we adventure outside with little more than a leash, if that. Yet, a first aid emergency can happen at any time, at moments when we wished we had brought our home first aid kit along with us. Would you know what to do if your pet's paw got cut or leg strained on a long hike? We at ExpertVet have come up with a list of tips and tricks to unleash the Bear Grylls or Macgyver (depending on your generation) in you in the event of a first aid situation.

You may not realize it, but most of us have a wealth of items in our homes that can be used in place of a first aid kit (if necessary). Here are nine ways to get creative in the event of a pet first aid pinch.


6ft Nylon Leash – Rule #1: Restrain Your Injured Pet

Even the sweetest of pets can bite when injured. The first rule of first aid is to restrain or muzzle your pet to protect yourself and then administer care.

Form a noose and tie around the bridge of your pet's nose. Then, tie under the chin, then tie behind the head on the back of the neck and finally thread the end back to the first noose on the bridge of the nose. Loop back to the top of the head and tie in a bow (never a knot).

Drawstrings from hoodies or shoelaces can be used on small pets. The goal is to restrain your pets mouth only to the point at which prevents him or her from opening their mouth wide enough to bite you; never tie it unnecessarily tight.


A Credit Card or Driver's License – Use for Bee or Wasp Stings

In the heat, bees scurry from low-level flowers to ground covers. You can avoid bee stings on walks by directing your friend away from those areas.

If your pup gets stung and you can see the stinger, use the edge of your card against the stinger to remove it. Avoid using your fingernails or tweezers or you risk puncturing the sac of poison. If the area swells or if your dog has trouble breathing, take it to the nearest veterinary clinic. You can give your dog antihistamine if the only ingredient is diphenhydramine.


Water and Baseball Cap – Treat a Hot Pet

You can tell if your pet is dehydrated by pulling up on the skin between their shoulder blades. It should spring back. If it stays tented, then your pet is dehydrated.

For heated dogs, dip their paws in cool water (dogs perspire from their paws). If necessary, pour water into a baseball cap for your pet to drink from.


Mylar Blanket and Petroleum Jelly – Treat a Cold Pet

For the cold, you can use petroleum jelly to coat your pet’s paws to prevent ice crystals or salts from cutting their paws. “Hug, not rub” to warm up your friend. Place your small pet in your winter coat or larger pet in a Mylar blanket to gradually warm them up.


Socks and Shoe Laces – Bandage a Cut Paw

Clean the paw first with water. Wrap with a bandana or cloth to stop the bleeding. Cover the paw with a sock and secure it with shoe laces. Alternatively, you could use a clean doggie bag and a hair tie.


Popsicle Sticks and Magazines – Splint an Injured Limb

Make a splint for the injured limb with Popsicle sticks or paint stirrers and wrap it with magazines, newspapers, or even a water bottle. These can be secured with a shoelace or a bandana.


Sweatshirt – Moving an Injured Pet

If your pet is too heavy to move, place them on a sweatshirt and drag them. Otherwise, you can carry them in a sweatshirt sling.


Smartphone – Pet First Aid App

Lifesaving information and phone numbers for your pets can all be at your fingertips. Embed many of the tools and numbers into your phone and take it with you. Download a Pet First Aid app as this can be your greatest resource in a pinch. Every minute and second counts in a serious pet emergency so it is better to be prepared now. American Red Cross offers an app in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.


Hands-On Experience – Various Circumstances

Nothing beats a little firsthand experience. This will reduce stress and the time it takes to help a friend in an emergency. Take a class on pet first aid. You can learn CPR, how to build and use a first aid kit for home and on the go, and many more tips and tricks. Plus, the experience can prove invaluable in a real crisis. 


Tips adapted from Dogster April/May 2015 Issue