First-Aid Tips for Pet Owners

Bleeding skin, broken bones, choking, burns, seizures, and overheating on a hot summer day are all risks that come with owning a pet.

Knowing what to do if your pet falls sick or gets injured is essential. Here are some basic first-aid tips for pet owners.

First-Aid Tips for Pet Owners

Poisoning and Exposure to Toxins

First and foremost, the most critical of any first-aid tips for pet owners. Any harmful products to humans are also harmful to pets. These include everyday cleaning products, antifreeze, and rodent poisons. If your pet’s skin or eyes have been exposed to a toxic substance, follow the same instruction on the label for people exposed to it. For instance, flushing the skin and eyes with water.

However, call your emergency veterinary clinic immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested anything poisonous. Be sure to take the product container/packaging with you for reference.

Cuts and Lacerations

  • Muzzle your pet to prevent biting
  • Clean the wound
  • Place a clean gauze over the wound and apply pressure on the wound to prevent excessive bleeding. Hold the pressure for a minimum of 3 mins to promote clotting.
  • If your pet is profusely bleeding, apply a tourniquet between the wound and the body by wrapping a cloth or rubber band to limit blood flow. Severe bleeding can quickly become life-threatening, so it’s important to get your pet to the vet immediately.


Signs of heatstroke in animals include drooling, excessive panting, lack of coordination, and distress. If you notice these symptoms, give your pet cool water (not freezing cold) to drink. Also:

  • Move them close to a fan and lay them on a damp towel
  • Slowly wet their feet, ears, and fur – do not immediately pour cold water onto them as this could cause shock
  • Call your veterinarian for advice


  • Move your pet away from any furniture or objects that could hurt them. And do not try to restrain them as they’re seizing.
  • Keep lighting low and noise to a minimum. Also, avoid touching them as this can prolong a seizure.
  • Time the seizure (usually 2-3 minutes).
  • Contact your veterinarian, give your pet some drinking water and keep them as warm as possible as you transport them for emergency care.

Note: Never put anything in or near their mouth during a seizure. 


Symptoms: excessive pawing at the mouth, coughing, choking sounds, and difficulty breathing

  • Look into your pet’s mouth to see if a foreign object is visible. If you see something in its throat, gently remove it with tweezers taking care not to push it further down the throat. Use extra caution because a choking pet is more likely to bite. 
  • If you can’t dislodge or remove the object, place your hands on either side of your pet’s rib cage, then apply firm quick pressure. The idea here is to abruptly push air out of the pet’s lungs to try and dislodge the object.
  • If this doesn’t work at first, keep repeating until the item is dislodged or until you reach the vet’s office. Don’t delay. Get your pet to a veterinarian immediately. 


  • Muzzle your pet to prevent them from worsening the injury.
  • Gently lay them on a flat surface – you may need to hold them in place to prevent excessive movement.
  • Transport them to a vet; you can use a board or other firm surface as a stretcher.

Note: Do not reposition the limb – only apply a bandage if there’s some bleeding you need to control. Leave the bandaging and splinting to the veterinarian.


  • Muzzle your pet
  • Flush the burn with large quantities of water
  • Apply an ice water compress as you transport them to the vet

Tip from a Vet: Any first aid administered to your pet must always be followed by immediate veterinary care. Emergency treatment should never be used as a substitute for veterinary care but may provide the care needed to save your pet’s life. 

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital 

Contact us at (860) 228-4324 or visit our contact page to learn more about first-aid tips for pet owners. Also, be sure to give us a call if it’s time for your pet’s regular wellness or preventative care visit.