Paw prints: Pet first aid

Community Columnist

Caring for your pet when an emergency happens can be scary.

What would you do if your pet consumed a toxin, had a seizure or became unconscious? To avoid panic, be prepared with a pet first aid kit and have a general understanding of how to handle a pet in distress.

Putting together a first aid kit for your pet is easy. Include the following:

—Rolls of gauze, non-stick bandages, towels and adhesive tape.

—Muzzle or towel to cover your pet’s head. Gauze, stockings or a neck tie can be used as a muzzle.

—Three-percent hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting.

—Digital thermometer (avoid glass).



—A large syringe to flush wounds or administer medication.


—Hydrocortisone cream.

—A leash.

—A large blanket or towel to be used as a stretcher.

—First aid book.

—Phone numbers for your veterinarian, veterinary emergency center and animal poison control. The number for animal poison control is (888) 426-4435.

Knowledge of basic handling of an injured pet can prevent injury to yourself and others. A sick or painful animal can be confused and scared. Because of this, even the gentlest pet can bite or scratch those who are familiar.

Move slowly and try to remain calm because animals can sense our anxieties. Avoid hugging your pet, and keep your hands and face away from the animal’s mouth. If necessary, place a muzzle on the animal.

Alternatively, tie gauze or stockings around the mouth and secure it in place with a bow tied behind the ears. If the animal is vomiting, do not use a muzzle. Cats can be wrapped in a towel for better restraint, but make sure they can breathe.

Prior to transport, call the veterinarian or emergency center before you arrive so they can be ready for you. When transporting your pet, it is best to keep them confined to a carrier or box to prevent further injury and reduce anxiety. Large dogs can be transported on a sled or blanket.

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