Your pet is a loyal companion, always ready to offer support, so you want to ensure that you can help should they have a medical emergency. You should always have a pet first aid kit easily accessible in your home, and when you take your pet on the road. Our team at Millbrae Pet Hospital wants to educate you on how you can use the supplies in a first aid kit and best assist your pet. Remember, pet first aid is never a replacement for veterinary care, and you should follow these steps only to help your pet before you take them to the hospital.

What do I do if my pet is poisoned or exposed to a toxin?

Many household substances can be dangerous to your pet. Cleaning products, rat poisoning, and antifreeze are examples. In addition, many foods can cause severe problems for your pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association provides a list of hazards.

  • If your pet ingests a poison, remove the substance from your pet, and call Millbrae Pet Hospital or Animal Poison Control. Have the following information available.
  • The product the pet has consumed, the amount they ingested, and how much time has passed since ingestion
  • Signs the pet is exhibiting
  • Species, breed, age, gender, and weight of the pet
  • The product’s packaging, as well as any vomit your pet produced
  • If your pet’s skin or eyes are exposed to a toxic substance, such as a cleaning product, follow the label directions for human exposure. Wash your pet’s coat with soap and water and lavage their eyes with water. Take the product packaging to the hospital when you take your pet.

What do I do if my pet is bleeding?

Blood can be a disturbing sight, especially coming from your pet. 

  • Place a thick gauze pad or clean cloth over the wound and apply moderate pressure for at least three minutes. When the bleeding stops, you can replace the gauze and carefully bandage the area before transporting your pet to the vet.
  • If your pet has not stopped bleeding after five minutes, they are in danger. If the bleeding is from a limb, apply a tourniquet using a belt or bandage material, and take them to the vet as quickly as possible.

What do I do if my pet is bleeding internally?

After a traumatic event, your pet may exhibit signs such as bleeding from the nose and mouth, coughing up blood, pale gums, or collapse. Keep them as warm and still as possible, and transport them to the vet immediately.

What do I do if my pet is seizuring?

A seizure is scary and upsetting to witness, especially since you have no way to stop the episode.

  • Keep your pet away from any hard or sharp objects, such as furniture.
  • Do not attempt to restrain your pet.
  • Time the seizure—they usually last two to three minutes.
  • Once the seizure is over, call our team at Millbrae Pet Hospital.
  • If your pet’s seizure lasts longer than five minute, rush them to the nearest veterinary hospital immediately. 

What do I do if my pet is burned?

Burns can be serious and extremely painful for your pet. Be aware that some pets become aggressive when in severe pain.

  • Muzzle your pet.
  • Lavage the burn using clean, cool water.
  • If the burn is severe, apply an ice water compress and transport your pet immediately to the hospital.

What do I do if my pet is not breathing?

Despite the frightening situation, you need to remain calm to give your pet the best chance to survive.

  • Open your pet’s airway by grasping and pulling forward their tongue.
  • Check for objects lodged in their throat.
  • If nothing is visible, close their mouth with your hand and begin breathing directly in your pet’s nose until their chest expands. Then, continue rescue breathing every four to five seconds until you reach our hospital.

What do I do if my pet’s heart stops?

This is another terrifying situation where your pet’s best odds rely on your level head. You should always secure your pet’s airway before beginning compressions.

  • Gently lay your pet down on a firm surface on their right side. 
  • For cats and small dogs, place your hand around their chest so your thumb is over the left side and your fingers on the right, and squeeze their chest between your thumb and fingers.
  • For medium-sized dogs, place one hand on either side of the chest, and compress the chest between your hands.
  • For large dogs, stand behind their back, interlock your hands, and apply chest compressions to the center of the chest, just behind the point of the elbow.  
  • For dogs, the force you use to press down will depend on their size.
  • Perform compressions 80 to 120 times per minute for larger pets and 100 to 150 times for smaller pets.
  • Alternate chest compressions with rescue breathing. Perform compressions for five seconds and then stop to allow for a rescue breath.
  • Continue this until you hear a heartbeat, or you reach our hospital.

Your ability to perform pet first aid can be extremely useful in saving your pet’s life, but never use these skills as a substitute for veterinary care. If your pet experiences a medical emergency, do not hesitate to contact our team at Millbrae Pet Hospital.