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Pet First Aid Tips

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

If your pet is injured or involved in an accident, it can be frightening for both of you. The first thing to remember is to be calm and reassuring and make sure everyone is safe.

Here are a few basic tips for some of the more common pet first aid occurrences:


Apply a tight bandage over the area (you can also use a towel or item of clothing) to slow down the bleeding. Seek veterinary attention immediately for copious bleeding.

Broken bones

Keep your pet calm, and deal with any incidences of bleeding first. Do not try to splint your pet’s broken bone as this can cause more harm. Transport them safely and keep them as still as possible.

Fits and seizures

Darken the room and reduce any noise. Do not touch or move your pet as this could prolong the fit. Ensure anything that could cause further injury is removed from the vicinity of your pet.


There are several products, plants and foods that can be poisonous to pets, for example antifreeze, lilies, chocolate and onions etc. If you suspect your pet has consumed something poisonous, try to identify the source and find the packaging where possible. Contact your vet ASAP who will advise you of what to do next. Do not try to make your pet sick unless instructed by a vet.

Burns and scalds

Immediately run cold water over the burn for several minutes and then apply a soaked dressing whilst transporting to the vets (but still keeping your pet warm overall). If your pet sustains a burn from an electrical source, ensure the electricity is turned off and you take your pet to the vet - some electrical burns can take a few days to appear so it's best to have them checked over.

Eye injuries

If the eye is bulging out of the socket, apply a wet dressing to keep the eye lubricated until you have reached the vets. If your pet’s eye has been contaminated (e.g. by a chemical etc) try to flush the eye with water repeatedly and seek further instruction from your vet.

Insect bites or stings

If your pet still has the sting inserted in the skin, scrape it off with a flat-edged item such as a credit card – try to avoid using tweezers as this can squeeze more venom into the skin. Bathe the area with cold water or apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. If the sting is in any way impacting the airway, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Swollen tummy

If your pet’s belly is suddenly distended (swollen) seek urgent veterinary attention. This is of particular importance for deep-chested, large breeds such as Boxers or Great Danes. They may also display symptoms such as dribbling, gulping for air or attempting to vomit. This could be a sign of a twisted stomach, which could be life-threatening.

In a fight

Sadly pets do sometimes get in to fights with other animals which can be frightening for all involved. Puncture wounds should be treated immediately as a course of antibiotics may be required to avoid infections. Even if your pet seems fine, do contact your vet as they could be suffering from shock.

Road traffic accident

If the pet cannot walk and is small enough to carry, safely lift the pet by placing one hand on the chest and the other under their hindquarters. If the pet is too large, use a make-shift stretcher such as a blanket or coat. If the pet appears paralysed, try to use something firm to avoid further spinal damage.

Most importantly, ensure your own safety and of those around you, especially if there are other cars.


Place your pet somewhere cool, such as in the shade or indoors, ideally with a small draught. Wet the coat with tepid water (not cold!) and offer a small amount of water to drink. Take to the vets as soon as possible.


Try to safely remove the object from their throat, either by reaching inside the mouth or by pushing it up the throat from the outside. If you cannot reach or remove the object, lay the pet on their side and push down sharply on their abdomen – another person should be ready to retrieve the object from the mouth when it reappears.


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