Veterinarian Recommendations For Pet First Aid

When your pet has been injured, chokes, or has another medical emergency, you must not panic. Your pet will need to see a veterinarian for x-rays, testing, and treatment if the injury is severe. Furthermore, you may need to provide first aid before arriving at the animal hospital. You need to know what to do in these emergency situations.


If your pet chokes on food, toys, or other objects, open his mouth and try to remove the object. Lay your pet on his side, and place your hands on both sides of his chest. Apply one hard thrust until the object is expelled, explains the American Veterinary Medical Association. This should help expel the object. If your dog loses consciousness, continue to thrust and attempt to remove the object until arrival at the vet’s office.

Not Breathing

If your pet stops breathing, close his mouth, and breathe into his nose. Once you see his chest expand, stop breathing into the nose. Repeat this every five to six seconds.  Check for a pulse between each rescue breath. If your pet does not have a pulse, move to the next step.

Cardiac Arrest

You can check your pet’s pulse by feeling on the left side of his chest behind the elbow. Lay your pet on his right side, and press down in the “area where you checked for a pulse. For larger pets, you may need to compress this area in by one to 1.5 inches. For smaller pets, press in at about one-half of this depth. For If your pet weighs more than 40 pounds, you will need to perform 80-120 compressions per minute. Smaller pets will need 100-150 compressions per minute.

For reference, the song, “Stayin’ Alive,” has a rhythm of 100 beats per second. Sing the song to yourself while performing compressions for 100 beats per minute. For smaller pets, you may need to perform approximately 1.5 compressions per word of the song.

Perform compressions for 10 seconds, and then give two rescue breaths. Check for a pulse AFTER GIVING rescue breaths.


If you suspect your pet may have ingested something poisonous, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. You will receive instruction on how to address the problem immediately, and you may need to give water or induce vomiting.


Remove your pet from the heated area. Place a cool, wet towel around your pet’s neck. After a few minutes, rinse the towel with cool water, and place it back on your pet’s neck. Run cool water, NOT ICE COLD, water over your pet’s body.


For chemical burns, flush the area with lots of water. For fire-related burns, apply an ice-water compress to the area. Do not attempt to remove any of the burned skin, fur, or tissue from the area.


Splint the area by wrapping a magazine around the limb and tapping it together. If bleeding is present, move on to laceration first aid.


Press a clean cloth, preferably gauze, over the wound. Apply pressure until the bleeding stops, checking every three to five minutes. If a leg is bleeding profusely in bright red spurts, it means the injury is to an artery. Apply a tourniquet immediately two-inches above the laceration. You can fashion a tourniquet out of a stick and piece of fabric. Wrap the fabric around the leg once, and then place a stick on top of the fabric. Wrap the fabric around once more and tie it loosely. Twist the stick to cut-off circulation to the limb. This must be a last resort and only used if bleeding is excessive. Get to your local vet immediately.

Each of these first aid tips could save your pet’s life. However, you NEED to stay calm throughout the situation. If any of these events have occurred, take your pet to an emergency veterinarian immediately.

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