First Aid for Your Pet: What You Need to Know - Pet InsurancePet Insurance
Apr 2015

  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3

Compare Pet Insurance Plans

What is your pet’s name?

Choose one (dog or cat?):

Choose one (male or female?):

What is your pet’s birthdate?
(ok to estimate):

What is your zip code?

Please tell us more about your pet

Is your pet a mixed breed?

What breed is your pet?

Has your pet been spayed/neutered?

Any pre-existing conditions?

Pet insurance won't cover costs for any condition that your pet showed signs of before the start date of the policy. (Medical records or a vet exam might be required to establish your pet's health). But, pet insurance will cover new conditions and accidents. Also, all the pet insurance plans here will cover conditions that your pet might have been born with but haven't showed up yet. These are called hereditary or congenital conditions. So it's still important to get covered!

Please provide your contact information

What is your name?

What is your phone number?

What is your email address?

Privacy policy and disclosures

By submitting this form, I agree to this website's privacy policy and expressly consent to be contacted via email or phone by up to five carefully selected companies with related pet health insurance offers. I understand that these calls may be generated using an automated technology, and that my consent is not required to receive services.

First Aid for Your Pet: What You Need to Know

vet checks the health of a dogThe thing about accidents is you don’t plan them – by their very nature, you don’t get advance warning of an emergency. The unexpected happens – so it pays to be prepared.

So when disaster strikes and your pet is hit by a car, chokes on a bone, or cuts his leg would you know what to do? Of course, your pet’s best chance of a full recovery is to seek urgent veterinary treatment, but there are times when the pet needs immediate attention, and you must act fast to save their life.

Stay Calm

The aim of first aid is to stabilize the animal while getting them to professional help. This may mean resuscitating a collapsed dog, or stopping a serious bleed.

Whatever the situation, stay calm. It may be a cliché, but when you panic you can’t think straight. Even worse, you pet picks up on your anxiety and this causes them additional distress. So take a few deep breaths and force yourself to concentrate.

Stay Safe

Don’t get so focussed on the emergency that you place yourself in danger. When a car hits your dog, don’t give him first aid in the road – the next vehicle may plough straight into you. Whilst it is contrary to the advice for people, it’s OK to gently move the dog to the safety of the sidewalk.

Assess the Animal

Before you do anything, find out what the main problem is and how serious it is. The dramatic is often distracting – such as a large gory looking wound – but unless it’s bleeding heavily, the wound is unlikely to be of immediate concern. Much more important is that you notice the dog isn’t breathing.

If the animal is unconscious, the most important things to check are:

  • Is the animal breathing?
  • Is their heart beating?

If the animal is awake then check:

  • Does he have a problem? (Bleeding, difficulty breathing, choking?)
  • Does he have wounds that need first aid?

Urgent Things First

If your pet has collapsed, follow this ABC

A            Airway                        => Is his airway clear?                        Look inside his mouth

B            Breathing             => Is he breathing?                                     Is his chest rising and falling?

C            Circulation.            => Is his heart beating?                         Place your palm over his heart

Blocked Airway => Clear the Airway

Food or fluid blocking the back of the throat stops air getting into the lungs and suffocates him. Check by opening his mouth (taking care you don’t get bitten) and look for anything thing obstructing his throat.

If the object is solid, scoop it forward with your finger.

If it is liquid, hold the pet with his head down to encourage the fluid to drain out of his mouth.

Not Breathing => Give Artificial Respiration

Lay the pet on his side. Hold the pet’s mouth and lips closed with your hand and place your lips over his nose. Blow with surface force to make his chest rise. As soon as the chests rises, release you lips. Repeat this every six seconds.

No Heartbeat => Give Cardiac Massage

The heart lies in the chest just behind the point of the elbow. Place your palm flat over this area and press down briskly with enough force to compress the chest by about one third of its width. Do this is a rapid, sharp movement. Work quickly, you require 10 compressions every 5 seconds or so. Pause after 10 quick compressions (5 seconds) to give artificial respiration.

Continue this cycle of 10 chest compressions to one breath.

Pause every couple of minutes to check if the dog has recovered.

Then phone your veterinarian to let them know you are on your way.

Dealing with Bleeding

Another situation that commonly needs first aid is bleeding. From a cut pad to snagged skin on barbed wire, picking up cuts and scratches is part of a dog’s job description. So what should you do and when do you worry?

Again, the size of the wound does not necessarily reflect how serious it is. A dramatically long skin wound may look impressive, but if it didn’t damage an artery and there’s no haemorrhage, just cover the area and get to the vet clinic (phone first!)

However, a puncture wound that clips an artery can be life-threatening. There may not be much to see on the surface, but blood pumping out could spell disaster.

Stay Calm

Yes, you already know this but it’s easy to panic when you pet is bleeding.

Put your dog on a lead, or shut the cat indoors so he can’t run off. Keep him still where possible because running around increases his blood pressure and pushes more blood out.

Apply Pressure

Use a sterile swab from a first aid kit to apply pressure to the wound. If you don’t have a first aid kit, use a clean towel or improvise with clothing. Pressure down with sufficient to stop the bleeding. Hold this in place for a couple of minutes and then carefully remove the pad. If the bleeding has stopped, lightly bandage the area and phone your vet to let them know you’re on your way in.

If the bleeding resumes, apply more pressure, and this time improvise a way of holding the pad in place. You might bandage around the pad, or use a neck tie to hold it in place, whilst you take the pet to the vets.

Tourniquets are best avoided. OK, when all else fails apply a tight bandage above the wound to stop the bleeding. But the risk is you permanently damage the blood supply to the area, so at the very least loosen the tourniquet every ten minutes.

Animals in Pain Bite!

And finally, much as your pet pal loves you, when he’s in pain he may bite. Be aware of this and if his lip starts to quiver, cover his head with a towel, or use his leash to circle his mouth and make a temporary muzzle.