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pet first aid

Pet Medical Emergencies: First Aid Tips for Pet Owners

Helping provide your pet with a long and healthy life is our goal at Fox Veterinary Services. Yet, if you find yourself in a pet medical emergency, and can’t get immediate help, knowing a few basics may make the difference between a scare and a tragedy. Here are a few tips for common emergencies and “first step” actions you can take until you can get in touch with your veterinarian.

Heatstroke in Pets

In Texas heatstroke is a common pet emergency. If you cannot get your pet to a veterinarian immediately, move it to a shaded area. Mist your pet with cool or room temperature water and place them in front of a fan. Do NOT use ice packs or ice baths. Ideally, take your pets temperature rectally every 3 to 4 minutes. Once their temperature gets down to 103 degrees Fahrenheit, stop the active cooling (ie. misting and fanning). Get your pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Choking in Pets

If you think your pet is choking on an object and you can’t see it, you can try the Heimlich Maneuver for cats and dogs. Hold your pet’s back against your stomach head up with paws down. With one hand find the soft hollow under the ribs. With your closed fist, use the hand on your pet’s stomach to pull up and in two or three times toward your own stomach in a sharp thrusting motion. Fortunately, true choking is rare. Many owners will seek vet care because they think their pet is choking and has something stuck in its throat, when in reality it is much more likely the pet has something mild and infectious such as kennel cough.

Pet Poisoning

Some common household items can poison your pet if ingested. If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, call your veterinarian immediately. Collect any material your pet may have ingested and place it in a plastic bag to take with you. Use your smart phone to take photos of the suspected product container. If you can’t reach your veterinarian or it is after hours, call the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline. Common items poisonous to dogs include chocolate, grapes/raisins, xylitol (artificial sweetener), sago palm, and NSAIDs like Ibuprofen. Common cat poisons include certain species of Lilies, NSAIDs, and Tylenol.

The idea of experiencing a pet-related emergency is scary, but being prepared with a little knowledge and a few skills could save your pet’s life. It is important to note however, that no matter what happens, you should always follow up with your veterinarian.