Top Tips to Help Your Pet In An Emergency (from the AVMA)

Chihuahua standing in a bowl barking at phone

I fallen into my bowl and it’s empty!

Accidents happen – sometimes pets get injured, eat the wrong foods, get bitten, cut, or even have seizures.  But, there are ways you can help on the way to the vet. As Dr. Doug Aspros, Former President of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says, “You can’t be over-prepared. Do your thinking and planning when you’re calm – you’ll make better decisions when the emergency happens.”

So here are a few life-saving tips from the AVMA to help stabilize your pet:

  • If you think your pet has a broken bone, gently lay him or her on a flat surface, or use a blanket as a sling to gently transport your pet on the way to the veterinarian.
  • With cuts, press a clean, thick gauze pad over the wound and press on it until the bleeding stops. If bleeding is severe and on the legs, apply a tourniquet (using a rubber band and gauze) between the wound and the body to slow down the blood flow and get your animal to the vet ASAP.
  • For burns, flush immediately with lots of water. If the burn is more severe quickly apply an ice compress.
  • If your pet has been exposed to a toxin, check the label for immediate instructions such as washing its skin with soap and water, or flushing eyes with water.
  • If your pet is having seizures, keep them away from any objects, blanket your pet to keep them warm and call your vet or an emergency vet clinic.
  • For choking, if your pet can still breathe, get them to the vet immediately. Look in their mouth with a flashlight and quickly try to get the object out with a tweezer. If that doesn’t work, place both hands on the side of his or her ribcage and strike the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand 3 to 4 times while getting to the vet.

What your Pet First Aid Kit should include for home or travel:

  • VetWrap (or a similar bandaging product that clings to itself and molds nicely)
  • A nylon leash, muzzle, pet carrier (depending on animal size) and a pillow case for a cat that might need to be restrained; a small flashlight can also be quite useful

For more life-saving tips from the American Veterinarian Medical Association, log onto www.avma.org/

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