Basic First Aid Tips for Cat and Dog Owners | PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

Basic First Aid Tips for Cat and Dog Owners

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
2 weeks ago

We love our pets. We want to give them the best, healthiest and happiest life we can. In order to do that, pet parents should be equipped to deliver basic first aid to their cats and dogs to stabilize them until they can seek veterinarian care.

Most parents can recognize the signs of illness or injury in their child and can keep their child comfortable or staunch a bleeding wound until medical care can be sought. Pet parents need to know how to care for their pets in case of an emergency as well.

There could come a time when a pet parent will encounter a health issue with his or her cat or dog and if they take prompt action it could mean the difference between life and death or permanent injury to their pet.

One of the best pieces of advice we can offer is to always have these three phone numbers and information at the ready:

  1. Your veterinarian’s phone number and/or the local emergency vet’s number
  2. Your dog and/or cat health insurance policy number and provider’s phone number
  3. Poison control number

Here are incidents that could arise and how a pet parent should address it until they arrive at the vet’s office:

A traffic accident. While we hope all pet parents keep their pets leashed when they are outside, there are those times when a dog or cat simply gets away. When that happens, it’s possible your beloved dog or cat could run into traffic.

If your dog or cat gets hit by a car, you need to take personal care when you’re dashing into traffic. Slowly approach your pet; if he’s injured he may bite out of fear or pain even though he knows you. When you reach your pet, minimize his movement so he doesn’t further injure himself. If you can find a board or another rigid item to put under your dog or cat that is best, if not, slide a piece of clothing under him then slowly move him out of the roadway.

Cover the injured animal to keep him or her warm and to prevent them from going into shock. If you see bleeding, apply light, gentle pressure to staunch the flow of blood, seek immediate veterinarian care.

Lacerations can happen in other instances and when you see a cut on your dog or cat, clean the wound and apply a non-adhesive dressing onto the wound. Wrap it with a bandage and call your veterinarian.

Heat stroke. Our first piece of advice is to NEVER leave your dog or cat in a car – in any weather – but especially in the summer. If you have a dog that is brachycephalic, one of the breeds with a “pushed in face” like a Pug or a Bulldog, it’s important to keep your dog from overheating, to not exercise him in hot weather and to keep him in a cool space.

Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting and distress. If you notice this, move the dog or cat to a cool place, turn on a fan and use damp, lukewarm towels to cool him or her off. Place the wet towels under your dog’s front and back legs to cool them down and place ice chips in their mouth. Call your veterinarian.

Poisoning. There is any number of poisons or poisonous materials our pets can get into – no matter how diligent we are in pet-proofing the home. If your pet gets into a poison or eats a poisonous plant or food that is dangerous for pets (like chocolate), call the vet or poison control center immediately. Let the vet know what your pet has eaten, how much and when. Do not induce vomiting unless your vet recommends it.

Accidents during play. Our dogs love to play with sticks and balls, but these can become dangerous. If your dog gets a ball or sticks stuck in their mouth, gently try to remove it; only do this if you can do it without getting bitten. You may need to have a second party to help hold the dog’s mouth open while you remove the object.

If your dog cannot breathe because the ball is lodged in their throat, gently massage the throat or do a quick compression behind the last rib – this may dislodge the ball. Call the veterinarian immediately.

Stings. In the summer months, bee stings are a hazard. If your dog gets stung, gently try to remove the stinger. Wash the area with warm water or bicarbonate of soda. If your dog or cat has been stung in the mouth or throat, immediately call your veterinarian as this could interfere with their breathing.

What should you have in a pet first aid kit:

  1. Activated charcoal (for poisoning incidents)
  2. Tweezers
  3. Sterile gauze and bandages
  4. Disposable gloves
  5. Saline eye solution
  6. A stabilizing board
  7. A towel or blanket
  8. Water
  9. All emergency phone numbers
  10. Your pet’s veterinarian records (this will be important if you need to go somewhere other than your regular vet
  11. Antibiotic ointment
  12. A basic pet first aid book

Are you prepared in the case of an emergency with your cat or dog? Are you prepared for an unexpected medical emergency? How will you pay for it?

If you have a dog or cat health insurance policy you can have peace of mind that your pet can receive the highest level of care without worry.

Accidents are unexpected, so that’s where pet insurance comes in —let us give you a free quote today.

Robbi Hess is a full-time pet blogger and multi-published author. She shares her life with a diva Poodle, a goofy Goldendoodle, two Devon Rex, a senior ginger kitty and three reptiles!

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