5 Simple First Aid Tricks Every Pet Owner Should Know

Scenario: Choking

If your pet is choking but he can still breathe, try to keep him calm — and get him to a veterinarian immediately. But if your pet’s gums or tongue are turning blue and he’s in obvious distress, place your hand over the top of his muzzle and lift it up to open the mouth (don't cover or occlude the nostrils). For an object that is clearly visible, you can use needle-nosed pliers to remove it, but be careful not to force it farther down into the throat. Also, a pet in this situation may panic and bite, so be careful.

If that doesn’t work, lay your dog on his side, and then place your hands at the very end of his rib cage. Push down and slightly forward, applying pressure in quick, firm strokes. If you are unable to dislodge the object, get to the veterinarian immediately.

Scenario: Seizures

If your pet has a seizure, try to move furniture and other objects out of the way to prevent further injury. Do not try to restrain your pet, and keep your hands away from your pet's mouth — they will not swallow their tongues, but chances are that you will be bit.

Since pets often lose bladder or fecal control during a seizure, you may want to place a towel under your pet. Talk to your pet in a calm and soothing manner while you time the seizure. Most episodes will last under five minutes. Regardless of how long the seizure lasts, your pet needs immediate veterinary attention.

Numbers You Should Have On Hand

With any luck, you’ll never need to use these first aid techniques, but just knowing what to do in an emergency situation can help to reduce your panic level. You can also reduce your stress levels by making a list of important emergency phone numbers:

  1. Your veterinarian
  2. The closest emergency veterinary clinic
  3. The ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline: 888-426-4435

Program these numbers into your phone, as well as post them to the refrigerator for quick access. It’s also a good idea to print out the driving directions to your nearest emergency clinic so you don’t waste any time.
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