Keep phone numbers for your veterinarian. a pet emergency clinic, and the nearest poison control center by a home phone and in your wallet. Consult a veterinarian immediately after any serious accident to your pet.
Assemble a pet first-aid kit. It should contain a rectal thermometer and petroleum jelly, tweezers, a small scissors, adhesive tape, cotton batting and swabs, gauze pads and bandages, a germicidal soap. antibiotic cream, 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting, and powdered activated charcoal to absorb poison.
If your pet is injured by a car or in a fall and remains lying down, move it as little as possible. If it gets up, keep it from walking or running. If possible, have someone else call the veterinarian or make arrangements to get you there while you comfort the animal. Restrain a dog with a muzzle of gauze about 2 feet long, or use a tie or stocking. Remove the muzzle if the dog starts to vomit.
To tie a muzzle, wrap a panicky cat in a towel or blanket, or have an assistant hold the cat by the scruff of the neck with one hand and by the rear legs with the other: tell him to place the cat on a table, body extended, uninjured side down, while you administer first aid.
To control bleeding, press a gauze or cloth pad on the wound; wrap it tightly with gauze strips. Don’t use a tourniquet. If you suspect a bone fracture, restrict the animal’s movement. Even if no wounds are visible, an injured animal may bleed internally and go into shock. Look for pale gums and shallow, uneven breathing. Cover the animal lightly with a blanket.
As soon as possible, get an injured pet to the veterinarian. To transport a dog, slide it gently onto a board or other rigid support. Or use a blanket or a coat as a makeshift stretcher. Gently lift a calm cat under the chest and place it in a carrier or box. Place a struggling cat in a pillowcase if you don’t have a carrier.
To treat wounds and cuts restrain the animal. Clip the coat around the wound: rinse it with water. Gently remove surface dirt with a cotton swab, wash the area with a germicidal soap, and apply an antibiotic cream. Bites, other easily infected wounds, and cuts longer than 1 inch should be treated by a veterinarian.
Leaving a pet in a closed car or tying it outside in hot weather without shade and water invites heat stroke. If on a hot day, your animal pants and drools heavily, is warm to the touch, or collapses, douse it with cold water from a hose or immerse it up to the neck in a cold bath; put ice packs on its neck and head. Continue treatment until panting stops and its temperature returns to normal; then take it to a veterinarian.
Prevent your pet from playing with small, swallow able objects, especially needles and thread. Consult a veterinarian if your pet swallows a foreign object. It may pass naturally or it may cause gagging, excessive salivation, and vomiting. Sharp objects require immediate attention.
Keep household cleaners, pesticides, car antifreeze, and other toxic sub-stances away from all pets. In case of poisoning, try to determine what the substance was and call your veterinarian or a poison control center immediately. You may be told to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide and to administer a specific antidote or activitated charcoal. After the animal vomits, take it to the veterinarian.
If your pet swallows a caustic or acid substance, or if you suspect poisoning but aren’t sure what it has eaten, do not induce vomiting. Rush the animal to a veterinarian.
Don’t leave electric cords exposed where a cat or puppy can chew on them. If you leave a young pet alone, unplug lamps and appliances in its confinement area and roll cords up out of reach. Don’t touch an animal in contact with current. Cut off power at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box: or stand on a dry surface (newspapers or a rubber mat) and prod the animal off the cord with a wooden pole. Take it to a veterinarian without delay.