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Pet First Aid – What To Do In An Emergency

May 9th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Safety

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Creative Pet Products Sporting Dog First Aid Kit - Dog TrainingIn case you missed it, April was National Pet First Aid Awareness month. But for those who love their pets, first aid awareness should be celebrated daily! That’s why we’re happy to share this helpful information compiled by VCA Animal Hospitals regarding what to do in the event your three (or four) legged friend gets injured.

Whether it’s a leaking seroma, broken bone, cut paw, heat stroke or if your pet suddenly stops breathing, emergency situations can arise at unexpected times and it’s important, as a pet-owner, to know what to do. The information details Pet First Aid tips including instructions on how to perform CPR on pets, as well as various recommended pet first aid kits to have on hand.

Pet First Aid – What to Do in an Emergency

Submitted by VCA Animal Hospitals, 04/27/11

Lixit Pet First Aid Kit  50 pc.When a pet gets injured or stops breathing, it can be a stressful and frightening situation. It’s crucial for all pet owners to have a basic understanding of common veterinary medical emergencies and basic first aid to help their pet in an emergency.

While no one can be prepared for all emergencies, there are some simple guidelines you should follow and things to look for if your pet seems ill or is involved in an accident. This knowledge may just save your pet’s life.

What should I do if my pet gets injured?

1. Keep calm and assess the scene for any additional threats to you or your pet. This is important for everyone’s safety

  • If your pet is injured, it’s likely they will be panicked or disoriented. The stress of an emergency involving a pet or owner can cause an otherwise friendly animal to act aggressively. It is important to ensure the safety of all rescue personnel that are attempting to assist with an injured animal by keeping everyone calm, including your pet.

2. Keep your pet warm, as quiet as possible, and keep movement to a minimum, especially if there is possible trauma, broken limbs, or any neurological symptoms.

3. Contact your local veterinarian, inform them of the situation and get specific first aid advice.

4. To safely move or transport an injured dog, get somebody to help you.

  • For a small dog, put it into its carrier (remove the top for easy and safe access to the carrier; don’t push an injured dog through the small door or opening), or use a suitable container such as a strong cardboard box.
  • For a larger dog, use a makeshift stretcher made out of some rigid material such as an appropriate sized, sturdy piece of wood. Carefully maneuver the dog onto a blanket or coat so that it can be gently moved to the carrier, box or stretcher. The blanket will help stabilize the neck and spine, and prevent inadvertent biting or scratching from the injured pet.
  • To safely move or transport an injured cat, use suitable container such as a strong cardboard box or a cat carrier (remove the top for easy and safe access to the carrier; don’t push an injured cat through the small door or opening). Drop a blanket or thick towel over the patient. Tuck it in carefully or maneuver the cat onto the blanket so it can be gently placed in the container. The blanket will help stabilize the neck and spine and prevent inadvertent clawing or scratching from the injured pet.

5. Get to a nearby veterinary hospital as soon as possible. After being involved in an emergency or accident, it is important that you take your pet for a veterinary examination as soon as possible, even if it appears to have recovered fully.

What should I do if my pet stops breathing or becomes unconscious?

Pet First Aid KitAlthough frightening to think about, when pets become unconscious or stop breathing due to heat stroke or a variety of other reasons, it’s important to know what to do. At the first sign of trouble, all attempts to get to a veterinarian should be made, but knowing basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques may help you save your pet’s life until veterinary help is available.

How To Give CPR For Dogs

CPR is best when performed by two people. One begins rescue breathing and the other monitors the heartbeat or begins chest compressions, if necessary. CPR is as simple as ABC:

Lay your dog or cat on his/her side on a firm, flat surface.

A: Open the AIRWAY. Extend their head and neck (by lifting his/her chin) for the best possible breathing position. It is important to check for a breathing obstruction. Open their mouth, look in the back of the throat and grab the tongue and pull it outward. If an object is blocking their throat or airway, use your fingers or a grasping instrument (pliers, etc) to remove it. Only perform this maneuver if your pet is unconscious — otherwise you may be bitten badly. If the object cannot be reached or pulled out, use the Heimlich maneuver to try to dislodge the object.

B: Check for BREATHING. Watch for the rise and fall of the chest and feel for breath on your hand. A lack of breathing and oxygen will also cause your pet’s gums to appear bluish.

C: Check for CIRCULATION. Place your fingers or hand on the left side of your pet’s chest—just behind the elbow—to feel for a heartbeat. You can also try to feel their pulse by pressing gently on the inside of the top of the hind leg. If there is a heartbeat or pulse, continue with rescue breathing only. If there is no heartbeat begin chest compressions also.

Grasp your dog’s or cat’s muzzle (snout) and hold their mouth shut.

Place your mouth completely over their nose and blow gently. Don’t blow too hard—just enough to cause their chest to expand normally. Wait for the air to leave the lungs before breathing again. Give 20 breaths per minute (one breath every 3 seconds) until your pet begins breathing on his/her own or as long as the heart beats.

Continue CPR until your dog or cat breathes on his own or has a steady heartbeat.

To supplement these basic VCA CPR guidelines, many local American Red Cross chapters offer hands-on training in pet first aid procedures. They also offer detailed reference guides and DVDs which can help you learn CPR.

Save on Recommended Pet First Aid Kits

Creative Pet Products Sporting Dog First Aid Kit - Dog TrainingCreative Pet Products Sporting Dog First Aid Kit
The Creative Pet Products Sporting Dog First Aid Kit is perfect for taking care of your hard working dog, whether it’s on the hunt, field, trail, or competition. This first aid kit for hunting dogs includes the necessary emergency first aid items in a water-resistant bag. Kit contains: staple gun, thermometer, stainless scissors, forceps, hydrogen peroxide, 3-ply towels, alcohol prep pads, cotton balls, cotton swabs, eye wash, surgical scrub brush, saline solution, syringe, scissors, first-aid ointment, 4” x 4” gauze pads, 2” flexible cohesive wrap, iodine solution, hydrocortisone cream, iodine pads, styptic pencil, tourniquet, vinyl gloves, pill gun, and 6” x 9” cold pack. Comes with first-aid book for dogs. Features: Take care of your hard-working dog Essential first-aid items in a water-resistant bag Includes first-aid book for dogs The Creative Pet Products Sporting Dog First Aid Kit is perfect for taking care of your hard working dog, whether it’s on the hunt, field, trail, or competition.

Lixit Pet First Aid Kit  50 pc.Lixit Pet First Aid Kit 50 pc.

Don’t be caught unprepared when a pet emergency arises! Lixit’s 45 piece human grade first aid kit contains everything you need when unfortunate incidents occur. Kit contains: (1) Roll 1 in. Adhesive Tape – for securing gauze. (3) Alcohol Prep Pads – for disinfecting wounds, metal tools. (3) Antibiotic Ointment – for inhibiting bacterial growth and promotes healing (3) Antiseptic Towelettes – for cleaning metal tools and hands. (1) Weather-proof Canister with Bowl (container and lid for kit) -for holding extra water or supplies. (1) Cold Pack – for reducing swelling, pain or itching. (5) Cotton Tip Applicators – for gently applying ointment, removing foreign bodies or cleaning outer ear. (1) Pair Examination Gloves – for keeping your hands clean and protected when handling your injured pet. (2) Finger Splints – for stabilizing fractures. (1) First Aid Guide (1) 8″ Gauze Pad – for covering and protecting wounds. (2) 4″ Gauze Pads – for covering and protecting wounds. (1) Gauze Roll – for covering and protecting wounds. (3) Hydrocortisone Cream Packets – for providing temporary relief from itching. (3) Povidone Iodine Pads – for preventing infection in minor cuts and wounds. (1) Pair Scissors – for cutting tape, gauze and hair around wounds. (5) Splinter Removers – small, sharp lancets for removing splinters or stingers. (3) Sting Relief Pads – for providing temporary pain relief and preventing infections from insect bites and stings. (1) 10ml Syringe – (1) Thermal Blanket – for keeping your pet warm and preventing shock. (1) Triangular Bandage – for wrapping wounds or injuries; using as muzzle (1) Pair Tweezers – for gently removing foreign objects from skin or paws (not for eyes – call a vet).

Pet First Aid KitPet First Aid Kit

LOTS of people have dogs that they love a great deal. Very few have a pet first aid kit on hand. Quickly respond to pet emergencies with this Pet First Aid Kit. Kit contains all the stuff you’ll need to deal with common pet ailments such as bee stings, ticks, cuts, scrapes, ticks and much more. Handy snap lock case is ideal for travel and compact for storage at home. Includes a pet care card that provides easy to follow instructions for common problems. Pet First Aid Kit also makes a thoughtful gift for those pet lovers in your life. Case is 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 3 inches in size. Contents: Plastic carrying case, 1 bottle styptic powder, 1 pair latex gloves, sterile gauze bandage (1″ x 6 yards), 1 bottle of eye & skin wash, 2 packages of triple antiobiotic ointment, 2 packages of hydrocortisone cream, 2 PVP iodine antiseptic wipes, 2 insect sting wipes, 1 roll adhesive tape (1/2″ x 2 1/2 yards), 2 packages gauze pads (2″ x 2″), 2 packages gauze pads (3″ x 3″), 1 pair scissors, 1 hand wipe, 2 antiseptic towelettes, 5 cotton swabs, 2 green soap towelettes, 1 pet care card, 1 pet emergency card, 1 pair plastic forceps Brand: VSI Pet Care Products, Inc. Made in USA

Gimborn R-7 First Aid Kit for Cats and DogsGimborn R-7 First Aid Kit for Cats and Dogs

Gimborn R-7 First Aid Kit for Cats and Dogs will allow you to always be prepared for minor pet injuries. Gimborn R-7 First Aid Kit for Cats and Dogs contains 1 oz. bottles each of liquid bandage, anti-septic spray, sterile eye wash, gauze and bandages. Gimborn R-7 First Aid Kit for Cats and Dogs is a must have for owners with active pets.

For more information and to learn about other pet health updates, visit VCA on Facebook or go to to locate the hospital nearest you.

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