Emergency situations happen when you least expect them. That is why it’s a very good idea to have some knowledge of first aid. You can help your pet, perhaps even save their life, simply by putting into practice these first aid tips until you can see a vet.
1) Think of your own safety – you will be no help if you are injured and animals in pain will bite even if they normally don’t. Use a thick item of clothing to guard against biting or make a temporary muzzle out of something such as a dog lead. Do not put yourself at risk to rescue a dog in a river for example – they can normally get out better than we can!
2) Prevention is better than cure. Avoid playing ball on hard surfaces, watch out for broken glass and don’t give your dog items or chews that may choke them.
3) Have a first aid kit in the car – even if it’s just a bandage and your vet’s phone number.
4) Call for help! Call the vet or ask a friend to do it while you manage the situation.
5) Know what is normal for your pet. Some pets pant a lot if too hot, or for others, panting would be very unusual. Check your pet’s gum colour when they are healthy so you know what might be abnormal (e.g. pale or very red gums can be a sign of serious illness).
6) Bleeding – apply pressure with a clean towel. Apply for five minutes before checking if it has stopped. If it bleeds through your towel add another towel on top rather than removing the bottom one.
7) Choking on a ball – if you can’t reach it from inside the mouth try pushing it from the neck up from the outside.
8) Eye injury – use only cooled boiled water to bathe eyes, nothing else. Do NOT attempt to treat eye injuries at home as it may result in losing the eye. Phone a vet ASAP.
9) Foreign body in any area – if possible leave it in place so the vet can see how deep it is and phone your vet.
10) Panting/coughing – it can often help to move the pet to a cooler area or use a fan to cool them down.