Pet First Aid

Moose had a crisis 10 days ago when out playing football with her family.

There was a collision, and afterwards she was holding up her right foreleg. The normal vet was closed, so the question was: what should her owner do? Did she need to rush to the vet straight away, or was there something she could do herself?

First aid or a trip to the vet?

When it comes to first aid for pets, perhaps the most important thing is to make the right decision: when does a pet need to be rushed to the vet at once, and when can a more relaxed approach be taken.

Urgent situations, where vet needed at once:

  • Bloat or gastric torsion
  • Whelping difficulties
  • Serious trauma – road accidents or fights
  • Seizures that don’t stop
  • Bleeding from anywhere
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Collapse or unconsciousness
  • Obviously broken bones
  • If poison has been taken

Situations that seem urgent, but can probably wait till the next day.

  • Lameness with no obvious serious damage
  • Mild coughing
  • A one-off digestive upset
  • Itchy skin
  • Adult dog not eating dinner (more serious if a puppy)
  • Increased thirst

Simple first aid measures

When it comes to first aid being carried out by an owner, this is probably best kept to simple common sense measures such as:

  • Simple bandaging to stop bleeding: e.g. cut pad, cut tip of ear.
    It can be more difficult than you’d think to bandage an animal. Need to be firmer than most people are used to being to hold them still.
  • Cooling down a dog that has obvious heat stroke
  • General reassurance and calming of an animal that has suffered from trauma

All vets are obligated to provide access to a 24 hour service, so owners can always phone their vet for advice if they are not sure whether help is needed.

Pet first aid kit

An example of a home first aid kit for pets might include:

  • Simple muzzle
  • Bandaging
  • Non-adhesive wound dressing
  • Gauze swabs
  • The vet’s phone number

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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