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First Aid for Your Pet

Dr. Amanda Esposito

If your pet experiences a medical emergency, you should contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. In some situations, beginning supportive care or treatment when the emergency occurs, may save your pet’s life. At home first aid should never replace a visit to your veterinarian.

* Heatstroke

Immediately move your pet inside or in to the shade. Soak your dog in cool water, or place a cool towel around your pet’s body, and use a fan. Do not use icepacks or an ice bath. Transport your pet to the nearest veterinarian as soon as possible.

* Exposure to poison/toxin

Call your regular veterinarian (or an emergency veterinarian), or the Animal Poison Control Center for assistance. If the toxin came in contact with your pet’s skin or eyes, check the label for instructions, such as wash skin/rinse eyes with water. Bring the toxin, label, or a photo with you to your veterinarian if possible, and note the amount ingested.

* Seizures

If your pet begins seizing, keep them safe. Protect them from sharp objects nearby, furniture, and stairs. Never put your hands inside the mouth of a seizing animal. Note the length of the seizure and check the area to identify anything your pet may have ingested. Seek veterinary assistance.

* Injuries

If your pet sustains a laceration, bite wound or other injury causing bleeding, use a clean cloth or gauze pad to apply firm pressure on the wound for several minutes. Consider placing a muzzle on your pet prior to touching the wound, as he or she may be painful. For burn wounds, flush with water and apply a cold compress. Seek medical treatment from a veterinarian.