First Aid Tips for Helping Pets in an Emergency

Safety First

Before rushing in to assess and treat your pet with First Aid, make sure it is safe to do so. Be aware of hazards such as traffic, animals, water, electricity, uneven ground, and your own pet. You may need to ask people to help you to protect yourself from bites and scratches.

Emergency Number

There is no 999 for pets, but make sure you have your vet’s phone number available at all times. Make a note of emergency and out of hours arrangements. Always get someone to call the vet to let them know you are coming in with an emergency so they can be prepared.


Lie your pet on their side with their neck extended; check the mouth for any obstruction to breathing. Place your hands over the highest part of the chest and press down firmly to about 1/3 the depth of the chest. Try to keep to a speed of 100 compressions per minute; sing Staying Alive! If your pet does not respond in 5 minutes, they are sadly unlikely to recover.

Vital Signs

It will help your vet assess the urgency of your pet’s health problem or injury if you can tell them about your pet’s vital signs. Learn how to feel for the femoral pulse to check the heart rate and make sure your pet is happy for you to check the colour of their gums. Write down all the information you want the vet to know so that you don’t forget when you ring up.

First Aid Kit

Buy or make a Pet First Aid Kit and check the contents regularly. You should have a small kit that fits in your pocket for dog walks, and a more comprehensive kit at home. Store medicines, ear cleaners, shampoos etc. in a separate place (that your pet’s can’t break into!).

First Aid for Bleeding Wounds

A bandage can be useful to control bleeding and to prevent contamination of a wound. For a temporary bandage first apply a clean wound dressing to the wound. Use bandage padding to hold the dressing in place, and then a layer of cohesive bandage to keep everything secure. If blood seeps through add a further layer.

Playing in the garden

First Aid for Collapse and Fits

Look for possible dangers before rushing to help your pet and be aware that fitting animals may bite you by accident. Check for breathing and a pulse and any clues to the cause of the problem. If you think your pet is not breathing or has no pulse start CPR.

Poisoning and Eating things

Dog out on a walk while on hoilday

Avoid the risk of accidental poisoning or gut obstruction by keeping toxic plants, foods, kids toys, and medications out of reach and by checking dog toys are in good condition. If your pet eats something they shouldn’t have, contact your vet as soon as possible for First Aid advice with as much information on what they have eaten as possible. Common toxic substances include chocolate, onions, sugar free foods containing xylitol, plant bulbs, and garden poisons.

First Aid Training

There are several great Pet First Aid courses for owners and pet professionals. Look for a course run by a Registered Veterinary Nurse or qualified Veterinary Surgeon as we are the people managing pet emergencies on a daily basis!

Leading the Way is here to help!

If you would like more information on Leading the Way Pet Care franchise, please contact us via email or phone us on 0800 027 9845.

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