First-aid for Your Pets

First-aid for Your Pets

PDSA Vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan provides top tips on what to do in an emergency 

Despite our best efforts to protect our pets, accidents can and do happen. In serious cases, knowing what to do in an emergency can be the difference between life and death.

Life-threatening emergencies require speedy action, so it’s important to know what to do should something happen to your pet. There are many veterinary-led First Aid courses for pets that help you prepare for emergencies.

PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan, said: “Knowing how to respond in an emergency can be the difference between life and death in some circumstances. Taking some basic precautions can stop things from becoming very serious, and potentially life-threatening.”

To help pet owners get up to speed, here are Olivia’s top tips on first aid and what to do if an emergency should arise.

  • Don’t panic. If your pet is involved in an accident, it’s important to remain calm as you are more likely to be able to help your pet if you stay focused.
  • Assess the situation. Ensure it is safe to approach the animal. Look for moving cars, loose electrical cables and other hazards. Don’t put yourself in danger.
  • Animals that are in pain or scared can bite or scratch. Approach them from the front so they can see you, talk softly to them and take things slowly and carefully.
  • Check your pet for wounds, bleeding and any abnormalities. If a wound is bleeding excessively, apply firm pressure to the area using a temporary bandage or a clean towel, blanket or cloth.
  • If your pet is unresponsive, check their ‘ABC’ vital signs: A – check the Airway is clear, B – check they are Breathing C – check their Circulation – do they have a pulse/heartbeat? A veterinary-led first aid course can provide practical CPR training.
  • Call your vet as soon as you can. They can give you vital information, and if they need to see your pet it means they can be prepared for your arrival to save precious time.
  • Don’t let your pet have anything to eat or drink after an emergency, unless your vet says it’s ok to do so. Your pet may need to have been fasted if they need an anaesthetic.

Olivia adds: “It’s important to be prepared for an emergency. So keep a pet first aid kit at home and with you while you’re on the go. This can include bandages, wound dressings, a tick remover, and a foil blanket, for example. Keeping a leaflet of basic instructions on what to do in various types of emergencies can be helpful here too and PDSA has created a great new pet first aid guide for pet owners

To receive your free copy by email of PDSA’s pet first aid guide visit www.pdsa.org.uk/petfirstaid.

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