What You Need to Know About Basic Pet First Aid

Knowing how to provide proper first aid to a pet in need may not be something that crosses every pet owner's mind. Our animals may not face as many medical dangers as we think as humans do, but emergencies do occur.

As pet owners, caring for our pets includes the responsibility to know what to do when our pet is in need, and how to do it effectively. More importantly, it's important for owners to know and understand if their pet is sick or not.

First aid training is important. Some of the more crucial points of the ABC of first aid include what supplies a pet owner should have access to and basic health aid skills to perform in the case of an emergency.


Having a mini pet-emergency first aid supplies handy is great for several reasons. You will have it handy in an emergency and so will a pet sitter if you are out of town when an emergency occurs.

Your emergency first aid kit should include a list of emergency phone numbers (including the nearest pet hospital) and your pet's medical record that lists any medications and allergies they may have. Whether you have a dog with allergies or cat with certain food allergies, it's important to note what these allergies are in order to save your pets' lives.

Beneficial materials for when your pet has a wound include gauze, nonstick bandages or clean cloths, and adhesive tape that is made for animals. Milk of magnesia and activated charcoal are also great to have on hand in case your pet ingests something toxic to them. Hydrogen peroxide (3%) to induce vomiting in such a case (contact your vet or emergency pet clinic before treating an animal for poison ingestion).

Other items include pet accessories like a leash, muzzle, stretcher and of course, a thermometer. There are plenty of other items that could be added if you take into consideration any particular medical needs that you already know your pet has.

Basic First Aid

Poison Exposure If your pet has been exposed to poison or potentially toxic substances, the first step that should be taken is to read the label for what should be done if a human were to be exposed to this substance. After following these instructions, proceed to call your vet immediately for further instructions from them.

Seizures Just like with humans, the priority when your pet has a seizure is to make sure they are safe. Keep them away from any furniture that may cause them harm when they are seizing. Next, you will want to keep an eye on the time so that you can report to the vet how long the seizure lasted. Once the seizure has stopped, keep your animal comfortable and calm while you contact your vet.

Choking Once you’ve identified that your pet is choking on something, the first thing you will want to do is assess whether they are still able to breathe or not. If so, take them to your local emergency vet clinic as soon as possible. Otherwise, if they cannot breathe you will want to look into their mouth and see if you can spot the source of the blockage and remove it if possible.


The last thing we ever want to see is our pets in any sort of pain or distress. Unfortunately, these things do happen. The best thing we can do is be prepared for them and do our best to be their hero in the moment.

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What goes in a pet first aid kit?

Your pet first aid kid should include the following: absorbent gauze pads, adhesive tape, cotton balls or swabs, fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide, ice pack, disposable gloves, scissors with blunt end, tweezers, OTC antibiotic ointment, oral syringe or turkey baster, liquid dishwashing detergent, towels, small flashlight, alcohol wipes, styptic powder, saline eye solution, and an artificial tear gel. Remember to also include the contact details of your vet in case of emergency.

Why should you know basic first aid for your pet?

Accidents happen, and if you're one of those people who doesn't have a vet-in-residence 24/7, it's important to have basic first aid knowledge so you can save your precious furry friend in case of emergency. While first aid is not a replacement for veterinary care, it will help prevent situations from getting worse.

Who do you call for a pet emergency?

If you find yourself dealing with a pet emergency with no pet urgent-care to call, you can Google "24-hour vet near me" or "emergency vet near me". There are also vets that provide a 24-hour emergency service. Talk to your veterinarian if they have this service and be sure to keep their contact details with you at all times.

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Written by Leo Roux


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