When your furry pal runs afoul of a poison, overheats on a scorching summer day, or darts into a busy road, you immediately panic, and you may not be able to think about how to help your pet, with the extra adrenaline coursing through your veins. To ward off disaster, brush up on your pet first aid skills. Outlined below are common scenarios that require stabilizing first aid care, before rushing your furry pal to our hospital. 

The toxin taster

While Beans the basset hound was nosing around for something entertaining, he sniffed out his mom’s secret chocolate stash that was well-hidden from the kids, but no match for this hound dog’s nose. Delighted with the variety of dark chocolates, creamy nougats, and chocolate-covered raisins, Beans devoured the lot. Minutes later, his mom discovered him lying in the wreckage of her chocolate hoard. Worrying about the amount of chocolate he ingested, along with her supply of raisins, she knew her naughty pup could become seriously ill. After a quick phone call to the Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center, she knew how much hydrogen peroxide to give Beans to make him vomit up his ill-gotten candy before rushing him to our hospital for intravenous fluid therapy and further treatment. In any toxin ingestion case, every second counts. The longer the chocolate and raisins were in Beans’ system, the more he would have suffered. 

The seizure sufferer

Piper the mixed-breed pooch had had an incredibly exciting day—a trip to the dog park in the morning, a romp with her canine neighbors over lunch, and then a thunderstorm during her after-dinner walk. As Piper and her owner rushed into their home to escape the downpour, a stray cat also darted inside, seeking shelter. Not a cat fan, Piper gave chase, as the cat clawed his way up curtains, bolted across furniture, and hid behind the couch. Suddenly, Piper collapsed on her side and began shaking. Her owners called her name, but she was unable to respond. They turned off the lights and TV, shooed the stray kitty into the garage, and removed all the objects near Piper, also keeping their hands out of her reach. In minutes, Piper was upright again and, though dazed and shaky, was aware of her surroundings. Worried about their dog’s first seizure, Piper’s family contacted the Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center for an immediate appointment to evaluate her health. 

The burn victim

Petey the acrobatic feline couldn’t resist the scent of steaks sizzling on the backyard grill. When his dad’s back was turned, he made an impressive leap onto the grill to snatch a bite, and promptly realized his mistake. Yowling in pain, he darted into the house to lick his blistered paw. After coaxing Petey out from under the couch, his family applied an ice-water compress to his burnt paw, first wrapping him in a towel to restrain and calm him. Then, keeping the compress in place, Petey’s family headed to the Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center.

The bone breaker

A fragile little dog, Delilah the Italian greyhound enjoyed snuggling in her pile of blankets on the king-size bed. One morning, startled out of her slumber by a backfiring car outside, she attempted to jump up, but she got stuck in the blankets, rolled off the bed, and landed awkwardly on her front leg. With a resounding crack, her radius and ulna snapped. Alerted by her delicate dog’s cry of distress, Delilah’s mom found her pup holding up her leg. She was tempted to temporarily splint the injured leg, but knew that improperly placed splints and bandages can do more harm than good, so she swaddled Delilah in a bundle of blankets, carefully picked her up, and headed to the Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center.

The bleeding casualty

Sylvester was a sly, sneaky kitten, who had an unfortunate penchant for bolting through open doors. As his mom struggled to carry in armfuls of groceries, he saw his chance, and darted into the busy street. Unfortunately, he was not as skilled at dodging cars as he was at sneaking out, and was hit by a car. His mom dropped her grocery bags on the doorstep, and rushed to her bleeding cat. Worried about potential broken bones or internal damage, she asked the driver to guard her kitten, and ran to the garage for a piece of plywood and a stack of towels. Carefully bundling Sylvester in the towels, she laid him on the plywood stretcher to prevent him from being jostled and further injured, and applied pressure for three minutes with a clean towel to the area that was scraped raw and bleeding profusely. Once Sylvester’s wound had clotted, his mom gently moved him on the stretcher into her car and, keeping him warm and immobile, transported him to the Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center.

Pet emergencies are scary situations that require a cool head and knowledge of pet first aid. Purchase a pet first aid book to keep with your kit, check out the American Veterinary Medical Association’s tips on providing pet first aid care, and keep our number handy for any emergencies. Remember, first aid measures are meant only to stabilize your pet until you can reach an animal emergency hospital. Once you’ve performed first aid, contact the Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center team to let us know you’re on your way, so we can prepare to help your pet.