If you treat your pet well, keep his surroundings clean, and control his activities, the chances you’ll need pet first aid are very slim. However, it is of course important to know what to do if the unexpected happens. Especially if you’re traveling with your pet, be sure to always have some pet first aid items handy. You never know what dangers will be in an unfamiliar area.
How to Handle Specific Situations
Cuts and Wounds – These mostly happen while playing and running in open areas. Stop the bleeding by pressing directly on the injured area with gauze or clean cloth. After the bleeding has stopped, wash the area with running water and apply disinfectant solution.If the one of the paws is injured, use a bandage. Do not let your pet lick it; instead, go to the vet.
Bite Wounds – Sometimes these wounds look small and not as serious, but deep tissues can be damaged in a bite. Since cats and dogs don’t always have the best oral health, bites are a big risk for infection. A vet must check the pet and provide an antibiotic if needed.
Snake Bites – Snake bites are most dangerous at the beginning of summer when snakes are just waking up from their winter sleep and their poison is especially concentrated. The immediate danger is death by suffocation from the swelling that takes place. You should calm your pet, don’t let him move when it is not necessary, wash with running water, ice the wound and go immediately to the vet.
Heatstroke – This is more common in long hair breeds and breeds that have flattened noses like the boxer. Heatstroke signs include fast breathing and heartbeats leading to spasms and blackout. Pet first aid for heatstroke should start with putting your pet in a shadowed area and using wet towels or a bath to reduce his body temperature. Encourage your pet to drink small amounts of water and take him to the vet.
Poisoning – This usually happens at home with cleaning detergents, medications, and disinfectants. Vomiting can sometimes help during the first four hours; however, you need to do it only with your vet’s permission, as vomiting can worsen your pet’s condition depending on the chemical ingested. Go immediately to the vet, and do not forget to bring the name or even the whole bottle of what your pet swallowed.
The number one rule of pet first aid is prevention. Keep an eye on your pets while they’re outdoors and make sure they have no access to dangerous materials in the home.