Emergency first-aid for pets

emergency first-aid for pets- VetMed

In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary for you or a loved one to apply animal first aid to a pet. This is the emergency treatment of a pet in the event that a veterinarian is not nearby. In many cases, owners can provide emergency first-aid for their pets and stabilize them pet before heading through to a vet. 

The Three Aims of Animal First-Aid are:

  1. Preserve life
  2. Prevent suffering 
  3. Prevent the situation from deteriorating

The Four Rules of Animal First-Aid

  1. Keep calm
  2. Maintain the airway
  3. Control any haemorrhage
  4. Seek assistance if required

There are certain situations you and your family should not get involved in, such as dog fights or to rescue a dog in water. In these cases, rescuers often find themselves badly injured or stuck in a situation they can’t get out of. 


It is important to keep your pet calm while you assess and treat the wound. 

  1. Press clean gauze or cotton pad over the site of the bleeding. 
  2. Hold pressure on the area for three to five minutes. 
  3. Remove the gauze and check whether the bleeding has stopped. 
  4. If bleeding has slowed, apply VetMed Wound and Skin Care to the area and dress the wound with non-adhesive gauze and bandage. If need be, you can secure the bandage to your pet with an adhesive bandage.
  5. Do not leave the dressing on your pet for more than 24 hours. Ideally, check and clean the wound one to three times a day. 

If you are concerned about the extent of the wound or if it does not stop bleeding, please consult a vet. 


  1. Run cool water over the burnt or scalded area for five minutes, and be sure to contact a vet regarding the situation. 
  2. You should not apply any ointment to the area as it may retain the heat and exacerbate the situation.
  3. You can apply a gauze pad or cotton pad soaked in VetMed Wound and Skin Care solution to help soothe the area. 
  4. Be sure to follow your vet’s advice on follow-up treatment for the burnt or scalded area. 


  1. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, call the vet immediately. 
  2. Try to find the packaging of whatever your pet may have swallowed. If your pet has been chewing on plants, try to identify the plant. 
  3. Do not attempt to make your dog vomit unless your vet has advised to.


Cold exposure 

  1. If you suspect your pet has cold exposure, keep them as warm as possible. This can be done with a foil blanket or another thick, warm blanket.
  2. Call your vet and follow their instructions. 


  1. Try to cool down your pet as much as possible. This can be done by applying cool water to their ears and paws or laying a cool, damp cloth or towel on their body.
  2. Ensure that your pet is moved away from any heat source.
  3. Call your vet and follow their instructions on the next steps.


  1. Remove the sting using tweezers, ensuring that the whole sting has been removed.
  2. Saturate the area with VetMed Wound and Skin Care solution.
  3. Keep an eye on the stung area for signs of swelling, redness or heat. Contact your vet if these symptoms crop up, as it could be a sign of infection.


  1. Time the length of the seizure and contact your vet.
  2. Keep your pet away from any object, such as furniture, that may harm them. You may want to use pillows, cushions, or blankets to pad any furniture they are bumping into.
  3. Do not try to restrain your pet. Rather keep the area dark if possible, and reduce noise in the area.
  4. Keep your pet as calm as possible once the seizure has passed.

When to call the vet:

Although there are scenarios in which you can aid your pet, certain circumstances may be outside of your control. In these cases, it would be best to refer to a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

  • Your pet has received an electric shock.
  • Your pet has been stung in the mouth or throat. Since this area is likely to swell, it may obstruct breathing.
  • Your pet has been resuscitated after almost drowning. Even in the event of recovery, there are often complications afterwards and a vet should be consulted. 
  • Your pet is having a fit. 
  • Your pet has a potentially toxic substance, like paint or tar, on a large area of their coat. Please do not attempt to use paint thinners, paint removers, or turpentine on your pet as it is highly toxic.
  • Your pet suddenly has a swollen stomach, especially if they are gulping, drooling excessively, or attempting to vomit. This may be a sign of a twist in the stomach.
  • Your pet has broken bones.
  • Your pet has been involved in a road accident.

Check out our blog to learn more about caring for your pet’s injuries. This article explains how to build your own first-aid kit for your pets. Here we look at identifying and treating hotspots in cats. To learn more about our range of animal-friendly products, click here.


  1. https://www.metlifepetinsurance.com/blog/pet-care/what-you-should-have-in-a-pet-first-aid-kit-and-why/
  2. https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/how-make-pet-first-aid-kit
  3. https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/firstaid
  4. https://www.bluecross.org.uk/advice/dog/basic-first-aid-for-dogshttps://www.steroplast.co.uk/blog/pet-first-aid-a-guide-to-the-most-common-emergencies