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First Aid

Bite Wounds

 Approach the pet carefully to avoid getting bitten.  Muzzle the animal, but do not make breathing difficult.  Clean the wound with large amounts of water.  Wrap large open wounds to keep them clean.  Apply pressure to profusely bleeding wounds.  Do not use tourniquets.  Bite wounds often become infected and need professional care.

 Call your veterinarian.


 Apply firm, direct pressure over the bleeding area until the bleeding stops.  Avoid bandages that cut off circulation.

 Call your veterinarian immediately.

 Pet Stops Breathing

 Check to see if the animal is choking on a foreign object.

 If the animal is not breathing, place it on a firm surface with its left side up.  Check for a pulse by placing your ear to the chest and listening for a heartbeat.  To locate the optimal spot, gently bend your pet’s elbow just until it touches the ribs.  This is the best place for detecting heart sounds.  If you find a pulse but no breathing, close the animal’s mouth and breathe directly into its nose—not the mouth—until the chest expands.  Repeat 10 times per minute (every 6 seconds).

 At the same time, if there is no pulse, apply heart massage.  The heart is located in the lower half of the chest behind the elbow of the left front leg.  For medium to large dogs, place both hands over top of each other over the heart area and with your elbows and shoulders locked, apply compression by bending at the waist.  Cats and tiny pets may receive heart massage by compressing the chest with the thumb and forefingers of one hand.  Apply heart massage 100-120 times per minute (twice every second) and alternate with breathing.

 Call veterinarian immediately!! Do not delay!! Consider learning these techniques before you need to use them.


 Burns (Chemical, electrical, heat—including heating pad)


Flush the burn area immediately with large amounts of cold water.  Apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes.  Do not place an ice pack directly on the skin.  Wrap in a light towel or cover.


Call your veterinarian immediately.



Choking (Difficulty breathing, excessive pawing at mouth, blue lips and tongue)


Look into the mouth to see if a foreign object is visible and remove the object with tweezers or pliers to clear the airway.  Be careful not to push the object farther down the throat.  If the object remains lodged, place your hands on both sides of the animal’s rib cage and apply firm, quick pressure to expel it from the throat.  Or, place the animal on its side and strike the side of the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand three or four times.  Repeat either procedure until the object is dislodged.


Call your veterinarian immediately, even if you are able to remove the object. Do not delay!



Heat Stroke (Rapid or difficult breathing, vomiting, collapse, high temperature, glazed stare)


Place the animal in a tub of tepid water (not cold, which can cause shock).  Gently soaking with a garden hose or wrapping in a wet towel also helps.  Do not immerse the animal’s head in water.


Call your veterinarian immediately.





Record what the pet ingested and how much if known.  Call your poison control center immediately at 800-213-6680.  Do not induce vomiting unless directed.  In case of skin poisoning, wash with mild soap and flush well with water.


Call your veterinarian immediately.





Withhold food for 12-24 hours.  After vomiting stops, give ice cubes for two hours, then slowly increase the amount of water and foods given over a 24-hour period.


Call your veterinarian.





Withhold food for 24 hours but not water.  Give ice cubes.


Call your veterinarian.

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