Cockapoo at the vets

Essential first aid for your pet

Do you know how to provide your pet with first aid if an emergency occurs?

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for an unexpected pet health issue:


  • If your pet sustains a wound, wash it with clean running water.
  • If there is a lot of bleeding, apply pressure for at least five minutes with a clean cloth, such as a flannel, a towel or even a t-shirt.
  • As soon as you can, call the vet, as the wound may require stitching or further treatment – especially if the wound is large or contaminated.
  • A common injury is a dog bite, and these can be much more severe than they initially look. It is important to always seek veterinary attention in these cases.


  • If your pet suddenly becomes lame, carefully check the foot of the affected limb for thorns, bits of glass, grass seeds or other items that may be irritating.
  • You can usually remove these items safely, but do be careful, as the animal will most likely be in pain and may behave in an unpredictable manner.
  • If the lameness persists call the vet, as the injury may require further investigation and treatment. Animals limp when they are in pain, so at the very least they will need pain relief.

Road accidents

  • If you come across an injured pet in the road or yours gets hit by a car, talk gently to it as you approach.
  • Move slowly and avoid making sudden movements, and put a lead on if possible.
  • If the animal is able to move and walk, go to the vet – even if there appears to be no pain, as there may be internal injuries.
  • If the animal cannot walk and you can pick them up, place one hand at the front of the chest and the other under the hindquarters.
  • Improvise a stretcher for large dogs with a coat or a blanket.
  • If the animal is paralysed, find something rigid to carry them on, such as a board, and cover them with a blanket.

Burns and scalds

  • Run cold water over a burn for at least five minutes and then contact the vet.
  • Do not apply ointments or creams, but if you can’t get to the vet right away, apply a saline-soaked dressing to the area.

Be prepared

Have the following things ready in your home so you are prepared for any incident:

  • A pet first aid kit – your vet can advise on what to keep in there.
  • The phone number and address of your vet – including alternative numbers for evenings and weekends.
  • A pen and paper – you may wish to note down the vet’s instructions.
  • A clean, large blanket.

Try not to panic – an emergency situation will require you to be speedy, calm and most importantly, safe.

It is vital to remember that a sudden illness or injury will cause your pet to be potentially very frightened. In this situation, even tame pets can bite, so you must ensure your own safety. Having a muzzle will allow you to help your pet confidently.

Muzzles cause no harm to the animal and reduce the risk of harm to you.

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