First aid for pets

Pet First Aid


Its Emergency treatment administered to an injured or sick animal before professional medical care is available.
Over the past few years, pets have become more and more part of the family, requiring advanced attention and with that Emergency Care and First Aid.

What to think off in Pet First Aid?

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

It is feasible to perform CPR on animals, including cats and dogs. The principles and practices of CPR are similar to that carried out in humans, except that resuscitation is usually done through the animal’s nose, not the mouth and the animal is laying on its side. Always pay attention to the size of the animal, and it’s bone structure when compressing the ribcage (a cow can have more force than a Chihuahua). Also, ensure your safety as the animal might panic and bite when not entirely unconscious.

Artificial Respiration and Airway Obstruction

Ensure the airway is free and if not check what is blocking it, after which you can carefully try to unblock it.  Airway obstruction can be caused by the tongue, foreign objects, the tissues of the airway itself or other. When the airway is free, close the mouth and fold the lips around it. Now put your mouth on the Pet’s nose and breath out and see if the ribcage comes up. Two breaths and then continue pulses on the ribcage (30) to stimulate the heart to contract or push blood flow round. Keep rotating this routine till the pet comes by again, help arrives, or you are too tired to continue.

Heat stroke

In this climate pets easily get overheated and you will need to be able to act fast in this case. Do NOT bring the animal to the Vet without starting the cooling process first! This is the most important thing to do. When a Pet collapses of heat, it needs cooling immediately. Make it wet with cool (not cold) water, put ice packs/frozen vegetables/cans of soda from the fridge in armpits or inguinal area, spray alcohol to evaporate over them. Do not wrap them in wet blankets as they will start to work as isolation. Offer electrolyte solution to drink if pet still can swallow. Take the rectal temperature if possible, so your vet knows what the starting point was and therefore what to expect and how to approach the severity of the heatstroke.

Now bring your pet to the Vet for supportive therapy while they investigate the gravity of the heat stroke effects.


Food or any other object or can get stuck in a pet’s throat. Hence the animal starts to coughing or struggle to breathe. Be careful to approach the pet as it might be panicking and bite to defend itself. If possible investigate what is stuck and how to release it. Heimlich grip can also be used to remove particles stuck in the airway in Pets, however, consider which strength you use as each species, the breed will need size relevant pressure to prevent further damage. When the airway is still free, or respiration is still possible, consider bringing the Pet to see a vet to help remove the Foreign Body from the airway.

Bleeding (Internal vs. External)

External bleeding is always visible from the outside, and a source generally can be found easily unlike internal bleeding which is not obviously visible and therefore is difficult to detect and requires the attention of a veterinarian. Every pet owner should know how to control or stop bleeding.

External Bleeding

It is important to localize the source of the bleeding and estimate the severity. How much blood is lost already, is the stream pulsating (arterial) or just oozing, is their one point or multiple points? What is the situation of the patient, is he/she conscious, shock, alert?

Once localized the source of the bleeding put pressure on it with the use of cloth or other available object. If despite the pressure the wound continues to bleed, put more pressure or even a tourniquet. Positioning the animal differently with slight elevation could stop the blood from flowing as much. When there is severe bleeding on the leg or tail, gently elevate the leg where the wound is above the heart. It allows gravity to reduce blood pressure near the wound which will slow the bleeding.Arterial bleeding can be stopped by pressing upwards of the wound, closer to the heart.

Internal bleeding is difficult to detect unlike external bleeding; you can only check for these visible signs of internal bleeding:

It is hard to detect internal bleeding as it does not show on the outside other than via special symptoms such as:

  • The pet’s gums or eyelids are pale.
  • The pet’s legs, ears, or tail if it feels cold.
  • The pet is exceptionally excited or unusually subdued.
  • Guarding of the abdominal wall in some cases of intraabdominal bleeding.
  • Difficulty breathing in case of blood in the chest area
  • shock symptoms

If your dog shows any of these signs, he/she needs to be taken for professional help immediately. Remember, internal bleeding is difficult/impossible to stop from the outside




When your pet is having a seizure, ensure that the surrounding is safe, so he/she cannot damage himself or hurt any of the pets/people around. The seizuring pet is often not aware of its surrounding. Best is to make a video and note the exact time of start and finish. Think about what happened before, during & after the seizure, so you have a complete story for the Veterinarian to build diagnoses on. Often there is no real reason for seizures to start. It is important to know how often do they happen, how severe are they and how long do they last. This to decide on medication and further investigation. Did your pet have this before?  Try as much as possible to create an environment with little or no stimuli.


Burns can be caused either by heat, chemicals or friction. Rinse the burnt area with cold water or apply ice packs for few minutes if caused by fire, heat or friction. In the case of Chemicals or Oil, water might make it worse, in these cases just apply cold without a water source in it. When the initial cooling has taken place (10 minutes to half hour),  go and visit your veterinarian for further assistance. Do Not open blisters or remove the skin as this can aggravate the inflammation and infection following the burn and delaying the healing process.


Poisoning can either occur through ingestion, inhalation or other of a poisonous substance but it can also be caused by a venom as for instance a snake bite or insect sting.

It is important for a possible poisoned or bitten Pet to be seen by a Vet rather sooner then later. Ensure to bring evidence of your suspicion to the Veterinarian in order to give the most appropriate First & Emergency Aid. Mention this in your telephone call so the Veterinarian can give you direct advice on what to do and what not to do, before coming to the Vet Clinic. If you cannot bring a sample, make a photo or a video. Ensure to not put yourself in a dangerous place or position.

Restraint and Transportation.

Please ensure to transport a Pet in the safest way, either by having it in a Pet Travel Carrier, on a stretcher or behind a fence in the back of your car. Cats often escape when stressed out in the car and not in a travel box and can cause car accidents by jumping onto the driver’s lap, head or face. Dog’s might do similar action but can also be catapulted through the window if you need to brake.

In the case of emergency don’t hesitate and immediately call your vet or visit us at ABVC.
ABVC provides free nurse advice on first-aid and can advise when to bring and when not to bring in your Pet. You may also send your queries to for assistance, or you can call us directly at 04-3408601.

Non-urgent questions can be sent to for help, or you can call us directly at 04-3408601.

In case of an emergency don’t email, but call for assistance!