Pet First Aid
Top tips from the vet experts at PDSA
Despite our best efforts to protect our pets, accidents can and do happen. In serious cases, knowing what to do in an emergency can give you vital extra minutes to get your pet to a vet.
Life-threatening emergencies require a calm and quick response, so it’s important to plan ahead and know what to do should something happen to your pet.
PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan said: “Knowing how to respond in an emergency can be the difference between life and death. Even for simple issues, knowing first aid can stop things from becoming more serious.”
Here are Olivia’s top tips on what to do if your pet is in an emergency:
- 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. Look for moving cars, loose electrical cables and other hazards. Don’t put yourself in danger.
- Animals that are in pain or scared can lash out in shock, fear or to try to keep you away– take care you don’t get bitten or injured. 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:
o A – check their Airway (throat) is clear
o B – check they are Breathing
o C – check their Circulation – do they have a heartbeat?
o If not, your pet needs CPR. A veterinary-led pet 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 give your pet anything to eat or drink after an emergency, unless your vet says it’s ok to do so. It’s better for your pet to have an empty stomach if they need an anaesthetic or sedation once at the vet.
Olivia adds: “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. I’d recommend going on a pet first aid course run by vets or vet nurses, so you can make sure you know how to use everything safely. Keeping a leaflet of basic instructions on what to do in various types of emergencies in your first aid kit can be helpful to refresh your memory too and PDSA has created a great pet first aid guide to use.”
To download PDSA’s free Pet First Aid Guide, and to sign up for courses in your area, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/firstaid.