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Pet First Aid: How to Give Pets First Aid

Pet First Aid: How to Give Pets First Aid

While pets are hardwired to avoid injury, accidents may still happen as they explore the world. In this post, our Egg Harbor Township vets share the basics of first aid for pets, what you should keep in your kit and how to perform CPR on dogs and cats.

Our team at Newkirk Family Veterinarians wants to help you be prepared in case the unexpected happens. So we've put together a list of essential items for your pet's first aid kit. It may be helpful to keep these items in a case or toolbox of some sort for portability and easy access.

  • Disposable gloves 
  • Cotton swabs or cotton balls
  • Antiseptic lotion, powder, or spray
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes 
  • Instant hot and cold packs 
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Penlight or flashlight 
  • Nonstick and waterproof adhesive tape to secure bandages 
  • Grease-cutting dish soap
  • Tweezers 
  • Sterile gauze pads and bandages 
  • Hydrocortisone cream 3%
  • Blunt-tipped scissors or razor for cutting hair and bandages 
  • Splints and tongue depressors 
  • Styptic liquid to stop minor bleeding
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Blanket, muzzle, carrier, or leash to secure your pet
  • Rectal thermometer
  • Copy of rabies vaccinations
  • Water in case of dehydration 
  • Lubricating jelly 
  • Copy of medical records
  • Turkey baster or rubber bulb syringe

First Aid For Cats & Dogs

If your dog or cat sustains an injury, there is a chance that you will need to perform some sort of care until you are able to bring them to the vet to be seen.

  • To be safe, muzzle your pet. When under stress or in pain your pet may lash out, even if they never have before. Ask your vet in advance how to use gauze to tie a muzzle if you don't have a muzzle handy.
  • Press a clean, thick pad of gauze over any cuts or scrapes, and keep your hand on the wound until the blood starts to clot. Keep the pressure on for at least three minutes before checking to see if the blood is indeed clotting.
  • Keep the pet as quiet and warm as you can.
  • If you think the pet has broken bones, find a flat surface, like a board or stretcher, that you can move the pet on from place to place. You can also use a blanket or towel to secure your pet to the board.
  • Remember that any first aid you give your pet should be followed by veterinary care right away. First aid care is not the same as veterinary care, but it could save your pet's life until it can see a vet.
  • Some animal hospitals that treat emergencies have ambulances. You should contact your vet for direct instruction on how to move your pet based on their particular type of injury.

How To Perform CPR on Cats & Dogs

While you may not have ever considered it, there are certain situations where a pet may require CPR. You may think it needs to be done differently but CPR for animals is actually quite similar to that for humans. These directions are based on if the dog or cat is unconscious and that you won't get bit.

  1. Remove any obstacles. Open your pet's mouth and take a look inside to ensure that there are no blockages. If there is an object or debris blocking their airway then you should first remove this. Extend the head and give the dog or cat a few fake breaths.
    • For large dogs, close the dog's mouth tightly and breathe into the nose. The dog's chest should raise. Give 2 breaths at a time
    • You may be able to cover the nose and mouth of small dogs and cats with your mouth while breathing. The chest of the animal should rise. Take two deep breaths.
  2. Do chest compressions
    • Large dogs may be able to be positioned on their backs and their chest compressed in the same way that humans do.
    • You may need to lay the animal on its side and compress the side of the rib cage for small dogs and cats, as well as large dogs with funnel chests. You can also turn the animal on its back and press on both sides of the rib cage.
    • The rate of chest compressions varies depending on the cat or dog's size.
      • Animals over 60 pounds: 60 compressions per minute.
      • Animals between 11 and 60 pounds: 80-100 compressions per minute.
      • Animals 10 pounds or less: 120 compressions per minute.
  3. Alter your breaths with compressions. The compression-to-breath ratio should be similar to that of humans - 30:2. Repeat until the animal responds or begins to breathe on its own.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog or cat has been hurt or is in need of emergency medical attention, contact Egg Harbor Township vets right away.

Always Welcoming New Patients

At Newkirk Family Veterinarians, we always accept new patients into our veterinary family. Our veterinarians are passionate about the health and well-being of Egg Harbor Township pets. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment. 

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