Pet First Aid

April 3rd, 2014

If your pet sustains an injury, it is best to see a veterinarian right away. Do not attempt to self-diagnose with Internet searches etc., and do not give them any medicine that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian. With that in mind, it is important to know some basic first aid techniques that may come in handy before you can take your pet in for treatment.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, call a veterinarian or the ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline (888-426-4435) immediately. Never induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by a veterinarian. If such aggressive action is required, a doctor will likely recommend using a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Refrain from using salt or ipecac. This home remedy is not suggested for cats, so any felines must be taken to a veterinary clinic for treatment right away.

To temporarily treat bites and other wounds, remove any loose debris and cleanse the area with a sterile saline solution or water. DO NOT attempt to dislodge any objects piercing the skin. To stop any bleeding and form a clot, apply pressure with an uncontaminated cloth. Wrap the wounded area with a bandage and keep the pet from licking it until a professional can look at it.

If a car hits your pet, try to strap him down to a board, without putting any pressure on the chest area as it could limit breathing. Wrap your pet in a blanket to help prevent him from going into shock, and keep the head elevated during transport to the hospital. Always take the pet to see a doctor even if the injuries do not seem severe because serious internal injuries might be present without being visible.

If your pet is choking, try to keep him calm and get him to a doctor immediately. Your pet's mouth could turn blue due to a lack of circulation. Grasp the top of his muzzle and lift it up and back to open the mouth without covering the nostrils. The obstruction may be visible, in which case, try using needle-nosed pliers to remove it, but be careful not to force it farther down into the throat. You may also try a sort of Heimlich maneuver by laying your dog on his side or holding them with their head down, and pushing downwards towards the head xand slightly forwards at the end of the rib cage with quick, firm strokes.

If your pet has a seizure, do not try to restrain him and place a towel under him, as he may lose bladder and fecal control. Try to pet and soothe the pet., Most seizures end within five minutes. The pet should be taken to a veterinary clinic after five minutes whether or not the seizure has ended. Seizures can be fatal if uncontrolled.

Being armed with some knowledge about what to do in an emergency situation and some basic techniques and can help reduce stress, lead to better decision-making and can result in better outcomes for your animal. The Red Cross offers a Fist Aid for Pets app with information and video on topics such as CPR, poisoning and trauma. Studying these in advance will provide a higher likelihood of a more successful outcome in the event of an emergency.