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Animal First Aid

We've always put safety of the animals in our care as our number one priority. All our staff become First Aid Qualified as part of their training with us and we run our own in-house Animal First Aid training and regular refreshers.

This page just passes some of that knowledge on to help you cope if your pet suffers an accident or injury. It's made up of some of the things we use for our own training plus a number of links we've found to other specialist websites.

The overriding rule is that if you are in any doubt at all about your pet's condition get them to a vet as soon as possible. Sadly though, there is no ambulance service for pets and the First Aid actions you take to deal with the immediate problem could make all the difference.          (Please read our disclaimer)

Animal First Aid

Before you wade in.....

Dogs in fear or pain will bite. Even you, their owner! Use a muzzle. 

Click here for a link on "How to make an emergency muzzle" if you don't have a proper one. But be careful, make sure it can be released quickly (tie with a bow) if the dog can't breath or vomits.

Cats can also be very aggressive when injured. Wrap in towel or coat to restrain and take to Vet.

Keep Calm
An animal in pain or fear is already overdosed on adrenalin. If you're jumping about, screaming and shouting it's only going to make it worse. Stay calm, quieten things down and think.

Clear the Danger
Rushing into a road to help an injured dog is not a good idea: if the traffic doesn't get you the dog probably will! Don't make the situation worse. Clear any overriding danger first. (e.g. stop the traffic, call for help, consider muzzling the dog).

Get some Help
If possible get someone to help. Handling injured animals is seldom a one person job. If nothing else they can be phoning a vet for guidance and advice. Store your vets phone number in your mobile - now?

Basics, anatomy and resuscitation

In general, basic animal anatomy has more similarities than differences to human anatomy. Those with human First Aid training could do worse than apply similar rules when it comes to "what should I do?" The exception being human medicines which in many cases can be poisonous to animals. Click here for a a link about Dog & Cat anatomy

Both animals and humans need AIR via LUNGS to oxyginate blood and both need BLOOD circulated by a HEART to supply vital organs. A lack of either is an immediate problem. 

If an animal is breathing (note chest movement) you can assume its heart is beating and don't need to look for a pulse.
If the animal is not breathing you will need to check for a pulse (inside thigh or left of chest / heart).

Click here for link to "how to take dog's pulse."

If there is a heartbeat it may just be a case of getting the breathing going again by artificial respiration. This is done by holding the animal's mouth shut and breathing gently into the nose, don't overdo it; just sufficient to fill the lungs; note chest movement.

Click here for a link showing how to give artificial respiration and CPR.

If there is no heartbeat then you may need to carry out CPR (CardioPulmonary Resuscitation). See link above.

Note: Do NOT practice Artificial Respiration or CPR on a healthy animal as this can cause serious damage.


Specific First Aid scenarios and other links

Below are some links to sites specialising in Animal First Aid and related subjects. Between them these cover most of the scenarios you're likely to encounter. Try them to see which you like best. If you find better sites which you can recommend do please email the site address to us and we'll include it. We haven't found any really good British sites so let us know if you find one!

Church View Veterinary. Some good basic Animal First Aid tips from a British vets in the north.

Veterinary Partner .com An American veterinary site with quite a good A-Z of links to various Animal First Aid scenarios and situations. Click on any of these and it takes you to a page not only telling you what to do but also, usefully telling you what NOT to do. This link will take you to the page.

Safer Pets: A useful page here on how to break up a dog fight. We've fairly recently had two customers who have had their dogs attacked while out walking, one dog being badly injured.

Poisonous to pets: A list of things that can be poisonous to your pets. These range from grapes to chocolate

Pet First Aid Kits available at this site, "British Dog" for around £10 plus some other useful "pet stuff"

Try the video below which, although not giving advice for specific scenarios,
does give an overal guidance on dealing with animal medical emergencies

Download our Animal First Aid Checklist

This is a basic checklist / reminder of first actions to take in event of a First Aid situation with your pet. It's an A4 sized sheet and can be downloaded and printed free by clicking on one of the links below. It's in either Word format which you will be able to modify and add to if you wish or as a PDF for which you will need Adobe Reader installed. If you need to install Adobe Reader click here.

Click here for Animal First Aid checklist in Word format

Click here for Animal First Aid checklist in PDF format

Try our Animal First Aid Quiz! Click here

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