First Aid For Your Pet
What you can do in an emergency for your pet!
There are many situations you may come across where first aid treatment can save your pet’s life. If a veterinary professional is not available then your pet may rely on you! If you come across any of these situations the first instruction to follow is DO NOT PANIC in any emergency. Always remember to ring the vet surgery to inform them of the emergency so they can prepare for your arrival.
Phone 01323 640011
Situations that may require first aid treatment include:
- A cut pad
- A dog bite
- An open wound
- A head wound
- If your pet is bleeding apply pressure to the wound.
- Then check your pet to make sure they haven’t gone into shock by checking their colour and ensuring they aren’t pale. (If you are worried that they are indeed in shock or unconscious then call your vets straight away)
- Then using your first aid kit (available from the surgery) apply the gauze directly on top of the wound and wrap the knit fix around to secure until you can safely get to a vets
There are many substances that can harm your pet and will need emergency treatment from your vet such as:
Certain foods (dogs)
Chocolate (contains theobromine, especially dark chocolate and cocoa mulch/shells)
Grapes or raisins
Chewing gum and mints (contain xylitol)
Human medicines especially ibuprofen, paracetamol (especially cats) and other painkillers
Rat poison - causes blood clotting problems
Slug bait (metaldehyde) can cause seizures
Lillies in cats -all species of lily, any part of the plant and only a small amount is fatal to cats
Anti freeze-tastes very sweet to our pets
Most of these substances, if not treated, can be fatal to your pet. If you suspect your dog or cat has eaten any of these then it’s important to find out exactly what it was and how much and call your vets immediately. You pet may need to be given medication to make him/her sick. Knowing exactly what your pet ate will help the vet determine your pet’s exact treatment
You should suspect snake bit if your dog goes suddenly lame on a walk with a sore swollen paw, or if you notice a sudden swelling of the face.
If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake, call your vets immediately! It is very important that we try to treat your pet within the first 2 hours of being bitten to administer the anti venom and administer shock treatment. If you saw the snake, try to remember exactly what it looked like.
Increased circulation causes the venom to spread more quickly so if you are on a walk with your dog, if able to, carry them to the car or if they are too large walk them very slowly.
If your pet has a fracture in one of their limbs try to discourage them from using it, either carry them or support them walking by using towels under their chest and abdomen. Do not attempt to touch the fracture as your pet will be in a lot of pain and may become aggressive.
If you’re pet has an open fracture (where the bone is exposed), and your pet allows it, apply a wet sterile gauze over the wound and gently wrap the knit fix to hold in place. Then call your vets immediately
Heat stroke or exhaustion
Dogs especially, become prone to heat stroke during very hot weather due to being walked in the middle of the day or being left in hot cars or conservatories without any ventilation. Signs include laboured breathing, vomiting, blue tongue, high temperature and collapse.
If cool, not cold, water is available then soak your pet in copious amounts, paying particular attention to their armpits, inner thighs and any areas less covered in fur. Apply a fan to them or ensure they are in a well ventilated area. Then get them to the nearest vets to treat for any shock. If you’re worried your pet is about to experience heat stroke then administer this treatment before they worsen and keep them settled until symptoms have gone.
Seizures occur for many reasons. Symptoms include violent muscle spasms, vocalisation, salivation, unconsciousness and loss of bowel movements.
It’s important to keep calm and keep noise levels down and turn any lights off, if your pet is in danger move him/her to safety but do not get bitten yourself. Try to record how long the seizure is for and call your vets for advice. Do not handle your pet whilst fitting as they may become aggressive through no fault of their own and the stimulation may prolong the seizure. Observe the seizure and then bring them to the surgery when they are fully conscious. If the fit lasts longer than 10 minutes call for immediate veterinary attention.
Bee and Wasp stings
Most bee and wasp stings do not cause serious harm to your pet except some swelling and discomfort. However the swelling can be dramatic and the discomfort distressing so we always advise immediate veterinary attention.
Apply a cold compress and if you can see the sting carefully remove it. Phone your veterinary surgeon to arrange a prompt appointment.
Your pet may choke on a small toy, ball, bone or stick, blocking their airway and causing panic and breathing difficulty.
If possible open the mouth and see if you can locate the object easily. You can try removing it carefully with tweezers if it’s not lodged too far in their throat. But, if it does not move, or you are uncertain then call the vet immediately. If deeply lodged or stuck then your pet may need sedation to remove the object so ring the surgery for advice.
Your pet may go into shock after a road accident or if they are seriously ill. Common signs include, laboured, irregular breathing, low temperature, rapid heartbeat, pale tongue and gums and in the later stages they can even become unconscious.
Try not to let your dog walk around unnecessarily and keep them calm and warm. Treat any other symptoms such as a bleed and call your vets immediately.
It’s always a good idea to have a small first aid kit around the house and especially on walks in case of an emergency. We do supply a mini one here at St Anne’s.
You may want to include the following items:
- Dressing material
- Small scissors
- Bandage material
- Your vets number
If you are in any doubt that you cannot deal with your pet’s emergency situation then there is always a veterinary surgeon available 24-7. Just call the surgery on 01323 640011 for advice or an appointment.
St Annes Veterinary Group also runs a Facebook page, with a Group for ‘Poisons to Animals’ for up to date information