Pet first aid

Emergencies can happen, and knowing how to stop them can be the difference between life and death for your pet. Luckily, there are many online resources available to help you handle these situations. Here is our guide to basic pet first-aid:

Keep in mind that first aid is to be administered only until you can get your animal medical attention. Basic first aid should not be used in place of veterinary medical care provided by a professional. 

Stay Calm: 

When in these situations, it’s beneficial for both you and your dog that you remain calm. Take a deep breath, assess the situation, and calmly take action. After administering temporary first aid, contact your veterinary office and safely transport your pet to a place where they can receive care. 

External Bleeding:

Most of the time, minor injuries such as cuts, broken nails, and a loose stitch can be cleared up quickly. The general concept is relatively straightforward, however different sections of your pet’s body could need different kinds of care. 

  • Paw Or Ear: Search for any foreign objects lodged in the paw or skin. Once the debris has been safely removed, clean the wound with a salt solution or an approved antibiotic. Then, wrap gauze or a towel around the injured area and apply constant pressure until the bleeding stops.  
  • Legs: For minor cuts, remove any foreign objects if you can, and flush the wound out with water. Keep pressure on the wound until it stops bleeding. Once it has clotted, assess the wound and decide if further medical attention is needed. For major cuts, wrap a towel around the wound and apply pressure. Do not remove the towel, instead add clean ones on top of the soaked one. Proceed quickly to a veterinary hospital. 
  • Stomach/Torso: For minor cuts, clean the wound and apply a clean towel until the bleeding stops. If you are unable to hold the towel, use tape to keep it secured. For major cuts, wrap a towel along the torso and quickly proceed to the nearest veterinary clinic. Do not wrap the gauze/towel around the wound tightly, as this can restrict your pets breathing. If there is an object protruding from your dog’s chest, do NOT remove it. 

Asphyxiation and Breathing:

Symptoms of choking and asphyxiation include excessive pacing, pawing at the mouth, or throwing up. If you notice signs of choking, it is imperative that you take quick action to help your pet. Open your pet’s mouth and use your hand to try and dislodge the item. If you cannot reach it, perform the heimlich maneuver by using your fist to push upwards on the soft hollow beneath your dog’s rib cage. After taking these steps, if your dog is still not breathing, perform CPR. If a serious choking incident occurs, you should take your pet to the vet for a checkup. 


Symptoms of heatstroke include heavy panting, excessive drooling, rapid breathing, and hot skin. To treat this, pour cool water over your pets, feet, head, armpits, and stomach, and get your pet to a place with continuous cool air flow. Refrain from using ice packs or cold water, as this is controversial and may result in hypothermia. Keep your dog from becoming overheated until you can seek veterinary assistance. In less severe cases, most pets recover quickly from heatstroke if they are treated immediately. 


Worried about not being prepared for these emergencies? Don’t fret. There are dozens of pet first aid kits and certification classes you can take online to keep you informed and ready to help your pet at a moment’s notice. Additionally, if you are concerned that your pet may get injured while you are away, rest assured that many of our pet sitters at Peak City Puppy are pet first aid and CPR certified. Your best friend is in good hands! Would you like to see more articles on pet safety and first aid? Let us know in the comments!