A Primer on Pet First Aid and CPR

To be a truly awesome pet owner, all you need is love, right? Without a doubt, warmth and tenderness are essential parts of the puzzle. But to be a responsible pet owner, an understanding of what to do in a pet emergency is crucial.

Acquiring items for a pet first aid kit is a great place to start, and knowing how to perform pet CPR takes it to the next-level in emergency preparation.

Our Duty

Sharing a home with a pet is a privilege not to be taken lightly. Of course, they bring a lot of fun and happiness to the family both in the home and while out at the dog park. However, acknowledging and providing for all their needs involves preparing for sudden illness or injury. Being able to respond appropriately can also come in handy during a natural disaster or other emergencies.

What’s In Your Cabinet?

Print out or organize your pet’s medical history and records in a waterproof bag. Include a recent photo, microchip information and proof of all vaccinations. Place these documents inside the travel crate/cage, as well as the dedicated container for pet first-aid supplies. If you ever have to evacuate or travel quickly with your pet to an emergency hospital, all their information is in one place.

Keep our contact number at hand, as well as the one for Poison Control.

The Right Stuff

Pets that are seriously ill or injured may growl, hiss, bite or swipe at your hands. As a result, it may be necessary to muzzle them to protect yourself. However, if your pet is having breathing difficulties or is vomiting, coughing, choking or panting heavily, do not muzzle them.

Check out these tips for handling an injured pet, such as wrapping them in a towel and more.

Assessing the Damage

As with any crisis, it’s important to stay calm. Stabilize your pet and assess the situation. Call us for help.

Having the following items in your pet first-aid kit can make all the difference:

  • Self-cling bandage
  • Absorbent gauze pads and rolls
  • Blunt ended scissors
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Antiseptic wipe or spray
  • Saline solution
  • Disposable gloves
  • Rectal thermometer (and lubricant)
  • Ice pack
  • Ear-cleaning solution
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Plastic syringe or eyedropper
  • Tongue depressor
  • Splints
  • Styptic powder
  • Small flashlight
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers

Over time, go through your pet first-aid kit and replace any items that have expired.

Pet First Aid or CPR?

The Canadian Red Cross offers online training for pet CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Anyone can learn and apply this life-saving skill in the event that an animal stops breathing or has no heartbeat.

  • Lay the animal down on their right side.
  • Circulate blood to the vital organs by pressing down on the chest to about ½ of the width.
  • Release after a count to one.
  • Repeat 100-200 times per minute.
  • Every 15-20 seconds, blow 1-2 breaths into the pet’s nose (keep a hand around the snout or muzzle to keep the mouth closed).

Stick to the Motto

When pet owners are prepared to handle various pet emergencies, their animals have better odds of surviving emergency illness or injury. If you need more help on this topic, please reach out to us. Toronto Animal Health Partners Emergency and Speciality Hospital is always here for you!



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