What You Need to Know About Pet First Aid

first aid

Did you know that April is “National Pet First Aid Awareness Month”?

In light of this, this post will discuss some important pet first aid tips that every pet parent should have at the ready. To avoid feeling panicked and unprepared in the face of medical mishaps it is helpful to become familiar with the necessary information beforehand.

Pet first aid is not a replacement for veterinary care, but it may save your pet’s life until such care is available.

Bleeding (external)

If you notice your pet is bleeding, muzzle your pet as safely and comfortably as possible before addressing the wound. Then, press a clean gauze pad over the wound and apply pressure with your hand until the blood begins to clot. This will take several minutes. If the bleeding is severe and on your pet’s legs, apply a tourniquet using gauze between the wound and the body. Apply a bandage to the wound and consistent pressure. Once you have performed this essential first aid, get your pet to the veterinarian immediately as severe bleeding can be life threatening.

Bleeding (internal)

Symptoms of internal bleeding include pale gums, bleeding from the nose or mouth, collapse, blood in the urine, weak and rapid pulse, and coughing up blood. If you notice your pet exhibiting any of these symptoms keep them as warm as possible and in a quiet place. Seek immediate medical attention.

first aid 2
first aid 3


Pets are at highest risk of heatstroke when left alone in a car on warm days. The temperature can rise very quickly inside of a vehicle and can become dangerous even when outside it doesn’t feel all that hot. Be sure to never leave your pet alone in the car on a warm day.

Should your pet be exhibiting signs of heatstroke for any reason, immediately move them to a shaded area out of direct sunlight. Place a cool, wet towel around your pet’s head and neck, being sure not to cover their eyes, nose, or mouth. Use a hose to rinse the pet’s body continuously with cold water, focusing especially on the belly and between the hind legs. Use your hands to sweep the water away from your pet’s body as the water absorbs the excess heat. Make sure your pet is seen by a vet as soon as possible.


While it is no surprise that most products and substances harmful to humans are also harmful to pets, there are common foods and household items which can be dangerous for pets as well. It may be helpful to keep a list of foods, products, and plants in your home or town which could cause your pet harm.

If a toxic product has come in contact with your pet’s eyes or skin treat your pet as you would your own eyes or skin if they encountered such a product. Read the label’s instructions. If the label advises to wash affected areas with soap and water, then this is the same treatment advised for pets.

first aid 4

If you know or suspect your pet has consumed something harmful (symptoms include difficulty breathing, seizures, and loss of consciousness), contact your veterinarian. In the case of after-hours emergencies, you can contact the Animal Poison Control Center hotline (888-426-4435) 24/7. There may be a fee for the consultation.


Symptoms of shock include dazed eyes, weak pulse, nervousness, and shallow breathing. Shock usually occurs following a severe injury or trauma. If your pet is experiencing symptoms of shock, keep them safely restrained, warm, and quiet. If they are unconscious, be sure to keep their head level with the rest of their body. An animal in shock is in extreme danger and needs to be treated by a vet.


If your pet is having a seizure, keep them away from any objects or furniture that may hurt them. Do not try to restrain the pet. Sit with them to insure they are kept safe and be sure to time the seizure. They typically last about 2-3 minutes. After the seizure has stopped your pet will be tired, disoriented, and may need to go to the bathroom. Keep them warm and comfortable as they recover.

Depending upon the severity, a seizure may not necessarily require medical attention. It is important to communicate the length, details, and condition of any seizure activity to your vet either by phone or in person.

first aid 5

These are just a few medical emergencies you may encounter at some point as a pet parent. Of course, we always hope to never need this information, but it is certainly best to be prepared, Next week we will continue to discuss first aid situations for pets in honor of “National Pet First Aid Awareness Month” and spread the news about how to better keep our pets safe.

When it comes to our precious fur-kids, we can never be too informed!


Ashley Gustafson
https://www.facebook.com/ashley.gustafson.31Instagram (@ashikiwoman)