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First Aid and Emergency Care For your Pet

First aid is the immediate care given to a pet who has been injured or is suddenly taken ill.

What to Do at the Scene and Transport

You can provide basic medical care at the scene of the injury. Remember that any animal that is injured or in pain may bite or scratch. Injured animals must be approached carefully, and you should first take precautions for your own safety. Using a muzzle is often a prudent safety measure. one can be easily made from a piece of cloth or a ready-made muzzle can be included in the first aid kit.


Excess loss of water from the body or inappropriate intake of water into the body.

What To Do

• If moderate or severe, seek veterinary attention.
• If mild, give frequent, small amounts of water by mouth.
• Move the pet to a cool (not cold) environment to help reduce panting.

What Not To Do

• Do not allow the pet to have immediate free access to water or other liquid.
• Do not feed him any dry food.
Dehydration often accompanies vomiting, diarrhea, hypothermia, fever, no access to water, and other conditions. It can be detected by several tests:
Mouth: Are the tongue and gums moist or dry? If they are dry, the pet may be dehydrated. Is the saliva thick or ropy? Normally, saliva is quite watery and hardly noticeable.
Eyes: Are they normal, or do they sink into the sockets? Sunken or dry eyes may indicate dehydration, and warrant veterinary attention.
Skin: If the skin is slow to return to position, the animal is at least 5% dehydrated. If the skin does not return fully to its position, the animal is 10% to 12% dehydrated and is likely in critical condition.

Bee Stings / Insect Bites

Any insect or spider can cause problems if they bite or sting your pet. A bite or sting causes swelling, redness, and itching. Certain strings can cause your pet to “faint” or cause an alarming swelling in the face.

What To Do:

• If the stinger can be found, pull it out with tweezers by grasping the stinger itself, located below the venom sac. If the sting just happened, don’t put pressure on the venom sac, as that would “inject” more of the venom into the pet.
• Apply cool compresses to the area.
• To help neutralize some of the acidic venoms, apply a paste mixture of baking soda and water to the sting area.

What Not To Do:

• Do not administer any medications without first contacting your veterinarian. Bear in mind the veterinarian will likely need to examine your pet before recommending medications.


A life-threatening condition in which the stomach fills with air (dilatation) and, or twists upon itself (volvulus).

What To Do

• Transport to a veterinary hospital or emergency facility immediately. This condition requires professional assistance in all cases.

What Not To Do

• Do not attempt to relieve the gas from the stomach.
• Do not give anything by mouth.
It is imperative that this condition is recognized early. Your pet may not have a bloated appearance. Signs of bloat include:
• drooling of saliva
• frequent retching and attempts to vomit (occasionally victims may be able to regurgitate a pool of foamy saliva)
• anxiousness, restlessness, and pacing
• depression and shock
Much has been learned about bloat in the past decade. Only a few years ago, a diagnosis of bloat was almost always a death sentence, as only 25% survived. Today the survival rate is better than 80%.

Part of the reason for this is increased owner awareness. The earlier the veterinarian gets started with treatment, the better chance there is for survival.
Extremely aggressive medical and surgical intervention early in the course of the disease has the most dramatic impact on overall treatment success.


Any injury of tissue caused by heat, flame, chemicals, or electricity.

What To Do

• Extinguish all flames.
• For thermal or electrical burns, immediately apply cold water compresses to the site of the injury, changing them frequently as necessary to keep the site cool and wet. Continue this for at least 30 minutes.
• For chemical burns, see the chemical injuries section.
• Transport your pet to a veterinary facility as soon as possible.

What Not To Do

• Do not apply ointments.
• Do not delay seeking veterinary attention.
• Do not attempt to remove burned hair or skin yourself

Chemical Injuries

Injury to tissue caused by contact with harmful chemicals such as lye, acids, and strong cleaning supplies.

What to Do

• Wash the contaminated area with large volumes of flowing water for at least 15 minutes.
• In the case of dry chemicals, brush them away carefully, taking special care to protect you and your pet’s eyes, nose, and mouth.
• If the chemical is in the eye, flush the eye with large volumes of water or saline for 15 minutes.
• Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

What NOT to Do

• Do not apply “neutralizing agents” to the skin or eyes. They can cause a chemical reaction that produces heat and causes further injury to tissues.
• Do not immerse your pet in “non-flowing” water if a dry chemical has spilled on him. These dry chemicals are usually activated by water. The water must be flowing in order to rinse the chemical away.
Pure water can be quite irritating to the eyes and raw skin. It is much more comfortable for your pet, if you use saline: simply dissolve 2 teaspoons of table salt in one quart of water (metric: 9 grams of salt in 1 liter of water).

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