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A good first aid kit is a must to be prepared for emergencies. The more complete your first aid kits are the better you can deal with emergencies as they come up. The best time to assemble those kits is now. If you wait until an emergency happens, you will be too late. If you have animals, then supplies for them should be included in both your car and your home first aid kits.

The primary objectives of first aid are to relieve suffering, to save a life and to prevent further physical or psychological injuries until you can reach or be reached by qualified health care personnel. These goals will help you assemble your first aid kits.
Consider all of the possible emergencies that can happen.

PLEASE consult your own vet about appropriate uses and doses before giving your dog any of these medications. Also be sure to become familiar with the side effects and Adverse Reactions before using any of these medications -- while they are considered fairly safe and are not prescription medications, there may be some dogs that will react badly to some of these drugs.

First aid kits should be kept in containers that are labeled as such. Small containers that can be used for first aid kits can be found as cosmetic boxes, sewing boxes, tackle boxes, tool boxes, etc. If you purchase your supplies first, you will have a better idea what size box you will need to find to store them. The first thing you need for a good first aid kit is a suitable container. We use a fishing tackle-type box. On the outside, with permanent marker, label the box "Animal First Aid" on all sides -- in an emergency someone else might have to locate and use this kit.

Tape to the inside of the box lid, a card with the following information:
1) Your name, address, phone number
2) A name & phone number of someone to contact, in an emergency, who will take
care of your dogs if you are incapacitated
3) Your dog's names and any information about any medications they take, any
allergies or significant medical conditions they have.
4) The name & phone number of your vet.

It is also a good idea to keep copies of your dog's vaccination records, including a copy of the Rabies Certificate, in or with the First Aid kit, or in a packet in your car. In addition the emergency contact and vet information are clearly posted on my refrigerator door at home where anyone who needs it can find the information. You never know when you may be incapacitated in an accident and your dogs may be in the hands of a complete stranger who will need this information.

Keep the BOX in a single location. Everyone should know where it is.

Here are some basic items that all FIRST AID BAGS should contain:

Benedryl caplets
(if dog gets stung by insect)
up to 1 to 2 mg per pound every 8 hours to treat allergies, itching, etc. Can also be used as a tranquilizer when the dosage reduced. (feline dosage - same as canine dosage)
Aspirin -
5 mg. per pound every 12 hours for pain relief; antiflammatory. [Maximum dosage one 325 mg tablet/33lbs (max 2) every 12 hours - for small dogs you might want to use baby aspirin which is only 81mg.] [Not for use in cats – poisonous to felines][Note acetomenophin & Ibuprofen is poisonous to most animals]
Imodium AD 2mg -
1 caplet per 30 lbs every 8 hours to relieve diarrhea
Kaeopectate -
1 ml per pound every 2 hours for diarrhea (feline dosage - same as canine)
Dramamine -
up to 50 mg every 8 hours to reduce motion sickness (feline dosage - up to 10 mg every 8 hours)
Mineral Oil -
up to 4 tbs. daily to eliminate constipation (as a laxative) do not use long-term (feline dosage - up to 2 tsps. daily)
Di Gel Liquid -
up to 4 tbs. every 8 hours for antacid and anti-gas (feline dosage - up to 2 tbs. every 8 hours) Tablets can be used.
Pepto Bismol -
1 tsp. per 5 pounds every 6 hours for relief of vomiting, stomach gas or diarrhea. Tablets can be used. Dogs only. Has aspirin in it.
Ipecac syrup
(use 1 teaspoon per 10 lb. dog to induce vomiting).
Hydrogen peroxide 3%
(to induce vomiting)
Antiseptic/anti bacterial hand wipes
Pedyalite powder
(to add to water for hot days to replenish electrolytes)
Arnica Montana 30
(homeopathic remedy for either dogs or humans for muscle exhaustion or injury (trauma) ( give 2 drops on tongue every 15 min.).
Styptic powder
(to stop serious bleeding from cuts) Corn Starch can be used in an emergency.
Adolph's Meat Tenderizer
(make a paste out of it and apply to bug bites immediately after the animal is bitten)
Homemade ear drying solution
(1 part rubbing alcohol, 1 part white vinegar)
(ointment for ear infections)
Nolvasan Otic
(ear cleaning solution)
Ear Ease - 2 fl oz
(A natural herbal oil blend with NO ALCOHOL that cleans the ear canal, removes earwax build-up, dead parasites and reduces ear odor. Can be used before or after swimming or bathing.Will not sting the animal when used in raw, inflamed ears.)
Opticlear (eye wash for dogs and cats)
Chlorasone eye ointment
(or a similar cortisone-antibiotic eye ointment)
Nolvasan First Aid Creme
(antibiotic skin ointment)
Gentocin topical spray
Hydrocortisone topical spray
(such as Cortaid brand)
Derma Cool Spray w/Lidocane
(Topical Wound Dressing)
Betadine Solution
(contains 10% povidone-iodine and is a topical iodophor microbicide.
Rubbing alcohol
Alcohol prep pads
Green soap -
a mild antibacterial soap for cleaning skin, wounds
Bag balm
(all-purpose uses good for foot pads & scrapes)
for coating the thermometer
(terry and paper)
Absorbent pad
(such as baby bed pad)
Unopened baby blanket
(warm & very clean in case of shock)
Emergency space blanket
(for shock / to retain body heat)
Human T-Shirt (to protect dogs skin and bandaging)
Latex surgical gloves
Feminine mini-pads
(great for large cuts or wrapping around a finger/dog leg and they do not stick to the wound)
Conforming bandages
An old sock
(foot wrapper)
Vet flex bandage
(non-constricting & flexible)
Sterile Gauze Pads
(the larger 4" size is better since it can easily be cut smaller if necessary)
Rolls of gauze or cling gauze bandage (1-2")
Adhesive tape
Surgical tape
New Skin liquid bandage
(useful for patching abrasions on pads.& tail tips)
Cotton, cotton balls
Cotton swabs
Iodine prep pads
Bandage scissors
Blunt tipped scissors (
a must for animal first aid - used for cutting hair away from wounds)
(useful for pulling ticks, thorns, large splinters, etc)
Safety pins in several sizes
(good ones)
Nail clippers
(dog and human)
(for examining ears)
Rectal thermometer
Medicinal syringe
(for liquid medications)
Rubber bulb ear syringe - used for flushing eyes, ears, wounds
Plastic baggies for samples, etc.
Small flashlight
(to check inside ears and eyes & other small areas)
Emery board
Instant hot and cold compresses
Gel Ice Pack
Hot water bottle
(in dire emergency)
Wood splint
(paint stirrers)
Plastic Vet Collar
(to prevent chewing of skin, stitches, etc.)
Bitter Apple
(keeps them away from an area on their body that you do not want them chewing on)
Grooming implements (comb, brush, etc.)
Soft muzzle
(for the protection of care giver)
Spare leash & collar
5 gallons fresh water from home
(tablespoon in a gallon of water will pretty much ensure that your dog will not get an upset stomach from strange water)
Canned pumpkin, a quarter can - the pure-not the stuff for pies.
(A home remedy for both constipation and diarrhea)

Numbers for the Animal Poison Hotline & Poison Control for Pets
(800/548-2423 or 900/680-0000 both numbers charge a fee).

Pet First Aid
Some Life-Saving Tips

Pet First Aid is on-the-spot care until professional help is available. Do you know what to do for your pet in an emergency? If you are in there at the right time and you know what to do you can save your pet's life. Every pet owner should have a comprehensive book on first aid for pets and keep it handy. One of the MOST important factors in evaluating your pet's condition is to know what is normal for him or her. Take time BEFORE an emergency to check your pet's normal temperature, pulse, color and respiration.
VITAL Signs for Cats & Dogs

1. Normal heart rate ranges between 80 to 140 beats per minutes for a dog and between
120 and 180 for a cat. Heartbeat can be felt by placing your hands around the chest
just behind the elbow and gently pressing

2. Normal body temperature for a cat or dog is between 100.5 and 102.5 F. Apply
lubricant to the bulb of a rectal thermometer and gently insert 2 inches into the
rectum, holding the animal, its tail, and the thermometer steady. The reading can be
taken after 1 or 2 minutes

3. To check for respiration observe movement in the chest. Placing a thread or hair in
front of the nose will detect even the slightest flow of air.

Mouth-to-Nose Respiration

1. Remove any mucus or foreign material from the mouth
2. Pull the tongue forward
3. Place your mouth over the animal's nostrils and blow a steady stream of air for 2 to 3 seconds
4. Remove your mouth for 2 to 3 seconds and allow air to exit the animal's lungs
5. Continue until normal breathing resumes which can take as long as an hour.
6. Check the heart throughout and apply external heart massage if needed
7. Treat for shock and seek veterinary help

Heimlich Maneuver

1. Hold the animal against you and clasp your hands around the upper abdomen; or lay
the animal on a firm surface and place one hand on top of the other, with the heel of
the bottom hand placed into the midline of the abdomen just below the rib cage
2. Forcibly push or lift upward one or more times to dislodge the object
3. If available, have an assistant open the animal's mouth, hold its tongue and lower jaw
and remove the object with fingers or forceps
4 Give artificial respiration if needed
5. Veterinarian should check the animal for injury

If you suspect POISONING

1.Always call a veterinarian or poison-control center immediately
2.If you are told to give liquids, use a spoon or syringe or basting tube, hold the animal
firmly, grasp the mouth and keep the head tilted back. For dogs, form a pocket by
pulling the corner of the mouth away from the jaw. Keep the head elevated and stroke
the throat to encourage swallowing. NEVER give liquids to an animal that is not alert
3.Keep a 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide on hand to mix with water as an emetic
4.Do not induce vomiting if a strong acid or alkali or a petroleum-based product has
been ingested. Milk or water may be given in most cases to wash the esophagus.

Transporting and injured animal
When approaching an injured animal, always remember that pain and fright may cause even the most mild-mannered pet to bite or scratch. Approach an injured animal calmly and slowly and don't ever put your face in a vulnerable position as even a partially paralyzed animal may be able to lunge. If an injured animal appears too dangerous to handle on your own, then DON'T. Contact your local humane society or animal-control center for help.

USE A BLANKET: A blanket held at the four corners makes an effective stretcher. A smaller animal like a cat may be wrapped in a coat or towel and the placed in a box to keep quiet.

DOGS: If the dog is small and calm, it can be carefully lifted by scooping it up gently, keeping its back straight and level. If broken bones are suspected, support the dog's trunk and let the affected limb dangle freely. Heavier dogs may be carried by pulling them onto a blanket or sturdy sheet. By holding tightly at the corners, you and a partner can use the blanket as a stretcher.

CATS: Lift a cat by firmly holding the scruff of the neck with one hand and supporting the underside of the body with the other. Frectious cats may be covered with a towel before being handled and placed in a sturdy box or carrier. Wear gloves while handling such a cat if at all possible.
Do not feed your dog for twelve to twenty-four hours following heavy vomiting. At the end of twelve hours , you can offer a very small amount of soft, bland food such as cooked rice and skinless chicken breast, pasta, or potatoes mixed with low-fat cottage cheese (9-to1 ratio). If your dog keeps this small meal down for about four hours, another small meal can be offered, then another about four hours later. If no further vomiting occurs, the next day's meals can be normal-sized portion of bland food and the following day you can return your dog to a regular diet. Water should be offered only in small amounts but frequently in order to combat the tendency to dehydrate that accompanies vomiting. Large amount of food or water distend the already irritated stomach and usually cause vomiting to recur. An easy way to have water available in small portions is to place ice cubes in the water bowl and allow the dog to drink the liquid that accumulates as the cubes melt.


My EB has light colored skin around his nose wrinkle which can sometimes look sore. I clean his wrinkles twice a day with baby wipes, then I put Aveeno diaper rash cream on. Also I by Johnson & Johnson liquid baby powder w/ cornstarch...which seems to be easier to put on then powder. Also, someone gave me the advice to use Bausch & Lomb - sterile neomycin and polymyxin B sulfate and bacitracin zinc ophthalmic ointment...where it is red. So far so good! It is a lot of work but it is worth it (Meatball)
We use baby wipes to clean our bully's nose wrinkles. Then we dry the wrinkles out with tissue and apply a very thin layer of Vaseline. If the wrinkles seem a bit red and sore, we apply a thin coating of Neosporin, instead of the Vaseline. We've been doing this for about 4 years now and it works very well. (OtisTheBully)
I make a lotion for my AB's feet because they get dry just like humans. Its made with Goats milk, Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Sunflower Butter and Avocado Butter. I also make a thin mix of this that I can spray on her back and belly when she gets flaky. You wouldn’t believe how much this has helped. Also in the summer when she get hot spots on her belly I mix some Tea Tree oil and Emu oil and spray that on her. (Chris)
If you are interested you can supplement your dogs food with cold pressed organic Flax Seed Oil, it can considerably help to improve his skin and coat. I would start with maybe 1/2 tsp and gradually work your way up to 1 or 2 tsps. Because it heals the body from the inside out it will take at least a few weeks to notice. In the meantime you can also try a brand of dandruff shampoo called Nizoral once every couple weeks on his back. (Care)

Skunk Remedy

Well I, I got all kinds of advice. Everything from tomato juice to Massingill Douche! I settled on two different methods. First I bought some Go Jo orange scented hand cleaner like mechanics use (without pumis). I use this stuff all the time when I work in the shop, and it really cuts the oil and grease. So, I figured it might cut the skunk oil and it has Lanolin so it's not to harsh on the skin. Then I used Dawn dish washing soap (apple blossom) he smells so pretty now, but he's not very happy about it ! This isn't the first go around for the skunk problem. We had tried many other remedies in the past including Tomato juice, but never has worked very well in my opinion. This really did the trick. (blittle)

Fish Oil and Shampoo

Not sure what type of food you are feeding, but dogs that are stinky, greasy, etc. tend to be missing something nutritionally. One supplement I will suggest is fish oil... since I started feeding it to my bullies, I have not had any oily, stinky dogs... their coats look amazing, they barely shed.. great stuff. You can buy fish oil in pill form (for humans) at any vitamin section of a store. I generally feed 1000mg (1 pill) for dogs under 65 pounds, 2000mg for dogs 65-95 pounds, and 3000mg for dogs 95 and up.

A great shampoo and spray I recommend is Eqyss. There are a few different types, but the Micro Tek and Natural Botanical are both excellent. The formulas were developed by Nasa and I have seen some incredible results ... I won't use anything else! Eqyss products (for dogs and horses) can be found at most feed and some pet stores. You can read about their products at Eqyss Products . I use Eqyss Natural Botanical rehydrant spray for any dry skin problems. It actually attracts moisture to the coat and really helps ease any irritation. (Carrie)

Try the Microtek spray by Eqyss. I swear it works. I use it on Chico's belly because he keeps getting bacterial infections and when he sees me coming with it, he rolls over on his back and wags his tail! It smells good too. (Chico-Heidi)


Emergency First Aid Care For Animals


It is presented in the hope that it will save animals' lives until they can be brought to a Doctor. In Emergencies such as Hurricanes, Floods, Fires, etc., it will not always be possible to get the animal to a veterinarian right away. These measures, if followed correctly, may save your pet. Please bring your pet to a doctor as soon as possible if it is injured, even if he or she seems to be recovering. There may be hidden damage & antibiotics or further treatment may be necessary.


If bleeding is severe or continuous, the animal may lose enough blood to cause shock (loss of as little as 2 teaspoons per pound of body weight may cause shock).
Emergencies may arise that require the owner to control the bleeding, even if it is just during transport of the animal to the veterinary facility. As in any injury, take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible!


The following techniques are listed in order of preference.


Gently press a compress (a pad of clean cloth or gauze) over the bleeding area. Consistent, steady pressure is best. The compress helps control the bleeding by absorbing the blood and allowing it to clot. Do not disturb blood clots after they have formed.
If blood soaks through, do not remove the pad; simply add additional layers of cloth and continue the direct pressure more evenly. The compress can be bound in place using bandage material which frees the hands of the first aid provider for other emergency actions. In the absence of a compress, a bare hand or finger can be used. Direct pressure on a wound is the most preferable way to stop bleeding.


If there is a severely bleeding wound on the foot or leg, gently elevate the leg so that the wound is above the level of the heart. Elevation uses the force of gravity to help reduce blood pressure in the injured area, slowing the bleeding. Elevation is most effective in larger animals with longer limbs where greater distances from wound to heart are possible.
Direct pressure with compresses should also be maintained to maximize the use of elevation. Elevation of a limb combined with direct pressure is an effective way to stop bleeding.


If external bleeding continues following the use of direct pressure and elevation, finger or thumb pressure over the main artery to the wound is needed. Apply pressure to the femoral artery in the groin for severe bleeding of a rear leg; to the brachial artery in the inside part of the upper front leg for bleeding of a front leg; or to the caudal artery at the base of the tail if the wound is on the tail. Continue application of direct pressure.


This can also be used in conjunction with direct pressure.
Pressure above the wound will help control arterial bleeding.
Pressure below the wound will help control bleeding from veins.


Use of a tourniquet is dangerous and it should be used only for a severe, life-threatening hemorrhage in a limb (leg or tail) not expected to be saved. A wide (2-inch or more) piece of cloth should be used to wrap around the limb twice and tied into a knot. A short stick or similar object is then tied into the knot as well. Twist the stick to tighten the tourniquet until the bleeding stops. Secure the stick in place with another piece of cloth and make a written note of the time it was applied. Loosen the tourniquet for 15 to 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Remember this is dangerous and will likely result in disability or amputation. Use of a tourniquet should only be employed as a last-resort, life-saving measure!


Internal bleeding is a life-threatening condition, but it is not obvious like external bleeding. Any bleeding which is visible is external. Internal bleeding occurs inside the body and will not be seen. There are, however, external signs of internal bleeding:

The pet is pale (check the gums or eyelids).
The pet is cool on the legs, ears, or tail.
The pet is extremely excited or unusually subdued.

If any of these signs are evident, the pet should be immediately transported to a veterinary facility for professional help. Remember: internal bleeding is not visible on the outside.


We use bandages for several reasons: to protect wounds from the environment, protect the environment from wounds, and to discourage the pet from licking or irritating a wound. They may be applied as support for strains or sprains and to prevent motion. Proper application is important.

The process of bandaging begins with careful cleaning of the wound. All dried blood, dirt, and debris should be washed away using mild soap and copious amounts of water. Hair should be clipped away so that it cannot lie in the wound, and, if possible, the area should be patted dry. The first step in proper bandaging is making sure the wound is clean.


After cleaning the wound, the contact layer is the first layer applied. Ideally, this layer should be sterile and inert. Stay in close contact with, but not stick to, the wound, be very
absorbent, be free of particles or fibers that might shed into the wound, conform to all shapes, allow drainage to pass to the next layer without becoming wet and minimize pain.
A Telfa-Pad, available at most pharmacies, comes closest to meeting these requirements.
After cleaning the wound, place the contact layer over the wound. It is desirable to apply an antibiotic ointment (such as Neosporin) to the pad, but this is not absolutely necessary.
Frequent bandage changes are more important. After cleaning the wound, a clean Telfa-Pad should be applied over the area.


After the contact layer is in place, apply the second (absorbent) layer to hold the contact layer snugly, but not tightly, over the wound. This layer is usually a cotton or dacron material which comes in various widths. Generally, 1-inch rolls are used for small limbs and the tail, 2-inch rolls are for medium-sized legs, and the 3- and 4-inch rolls are for large legs and the body. It is important to use the proper size. Materials that are too narrow often cause a tourniquet effect, especially if the wound causes swelling. If materials are too wide, they are difficult to apply smoothly. Any wrinkles or ridges may cause the bandage to become uncomfortable for your pet. Uneven pressure may cause necrosis (tissue death) of the underlying tissues.

Begin with just enough absorbent layer to hold the contact layer in place. If the wound is on a leg or the tail, proceed by wrapping from the toes or the tip of the tail towards the body. If you begin at the top of the leg or the tail, the bandage is more likely to restrict blood flow and cause swelling, which may cause tissue damage. Apply several layers of absorbent material, which will soak up the fluid from the wound and increase the patient's
comfort by cushioning the wound. Make sure the material you use as the absorbent layer is the proper width, and wrap from the toes or tail tip towards the body.


Finally, apply the outer (tertiary) layer, usually made up of porous adhesive tape or elastic tape (i.e. Elastikon, Vetrap). Wrapped from the toes towards the body, this layer should also be smooth and snug. Do not pull elastic tapes to their limits, as this will interfere with circulation and result in bandage failure. The tape should be in contact with the skin (hair) at the bandage margins, anchoring the bandage so it will not slip. The outer layer of a bandage should be applied smoothly and snugly, but not tight enough to cut off blood circulation.


Bandages should be checked frequently for any signs of swelling, discoloration or coolness of the skin, odor, or saturation of the bandage material. The bandage should be changed whenever any of the above are noticed or any time it appears to be uncomfortable for the pet. Wounds that are draining heavily may require bandage changes every 1 or 2 hours. Bandages over wounds with little or no drainage should be changed every 24 hours.



Talk to the animal first. Gently touch and attempt to awaken the pet. You could be seriously injured should you attempt to perform CPR on a pet who was only
sleeping heavily and was startled awake.


Extend the head and neck and pull the tongue forward. Look in the mouth and remove any saliva or vomitus. If it is too dark to see into the mouth, sweep your finger deep into the mouth and even into the throat to remove any vomitus or foreign body. Be aware of a hard, smooth, bone-like structure deep in the throat. This is likely to be the hyoid apparatus (Adam's apple).

Serious injury could result if you pull on the hyoid apparatus.


Sometimes an animal will begin to breathe spontaneously when the head is put in the position discussed above (head and neck extended, tongue pulled forward).
Watch for the rise and fall of the chest while listening closely for sounds of breathing. If no breathing is evident in 10 seconds, begin rescue breathing.


Rescue breathing is performed by covering the animal's nose with your mouth and forcefully blowing your breath into his lungs.In cats and small dogs, you must hold the corners of the mouth tightly closed while you force the air in. In larger dogs, the tongue should be pulled forward and the mouth and lips held shut using both hands cupped
around the muzzle. Force the air into the lungs until you see the chest expand. Take your mouth away when the chest has fully expanded. The lungs will deflate on their own.
Air should be forced into the animal's lungs until you see the chest expand.


After several breaths are given, stop for a few seconds to recheck for breathing and heart function. If the pet is still not breathing, continue rescue breathing 20-25 times per minute in cats or small dogs, or 12-20 times per minute in medium or large dogs. Push down on the stomach area every few seconds to help expel the air that may have blown into the stomach. If the stomach is allowed to distend with air, the pressure will make the rescue breathing efforts less effective.


And the animal is still unconscious, continue rescue breathing 10-15 times per minute and transport the animal to the nearest veterinary facility.



If no pulse is detectable, begin chest compressions.


Squeeze the chest using one or both hands around the chest. Depress the rib cage circumferentially. Do this 100-150 times per minute.


Compress the chest wall with one or two hands, depending on the size of the dog (and the size of the rescuer). If the dog is on her side, place the hand(s) on the side of the chest wall where it is widest. If the dog is on her back, place the hand(s) on the sternum (breastbone). Depress the rib cage or sternum 1.5 to 4inches, depending on the dog's size.
Do this 80-120 times per minute

Coordinate Rescue Breathing and Chest Compressions:

Give breaths during the compressions, if possible. If it is not possible to give breaths during the compressions, give two breaths after every 12 compressions.

When Two or More Rescuers are Working Together:

Rescue breathing should be given during every second or third heart compression.
Continue CPR Until....You become exhausted and can't continue. You get the animal transported to a veterinary faclility and professionals can take over. The pulse is palpable or heartbeats are felt and they are strong and regular. In the vast majority of cases, artificial ventilations will continue to be required. This is due to nervous system depression secondary to the arrest. All resuscitated animals should be transported to a veterinary facility for further examination and care!


Bright red gums.
Very rapid capillary refill time.
The pet may be either excited or subdued.
Rapid heart rate.
Pulse not difficult to find.

Gums appear pale or "muddy".
Abnormally long capillary refill time.
The heart rate is frequently above normal.
The pulse weakens and may be difficult to locate.
The pet will most likely be subdued, depressed and weak.
Respiration often shallow and rapid (but may be normal).
Rectal temperature often below normal (may be normal or even elevated).

Gums extremely pale or show a bluish discoloration, and are often "blotchy" in appearance.
Capillary refill time is longer (sometimes longer than 3-4 seconds).
Heart rate is probably elevated and irregular, but may be normal or below normal as heart muscle begins to fail.
The pulse will be very weak and difficult or impossible to locate.
Respiration may be slow or rapid, shallow or deep.
The eyes may take on a glazed appearance and appear not to focus normally.
Mental condition deteriorates from depression to stupor to coma.
Rectal temperature will be below normal, often critically so.


Successful treatment of a patient in shock involves prompt recognition of the signs, immediate initiation of first aid procedures, and safe and rapid transport to the veterinary facility for definitive treatment.

First aid procedures include:
Providing adequate breathing. (see CPR)[Choking]
Stopping blood loss. (see Bleeding)
Protecting obvious fractures from further injury. (see Splints)
Preventing loss of body heat by covering the patient with one or more blankets.
Immediately transporting the patient to a veterinary facility for definitive treatment of shock and other injuries and illnesses. (see Transport)
A jacket can be used to keep an animal in shock warm while preparing for transport to aveterinary facility.


Well-meaning pet owners often use first aid procedures which may seem helpful, but, in fact, may prove dangerous to the animal. Do not allow the injured pet to move about on his own.Walking about or any unnecessary movement (especially allowing the pet to jump in or out of the transport vehicle) may increase internal bleeding.
Unnecessary use of muscles "burns fuel," which can be fatal to a patient in shock.

Do not apply a heating pad to a sick or injured patient. He may suffer a severe burn. In addition, application of heat will cause the vessels of the skin to dilate. These dilated vessels require more blood to fill them and decrease the efficiency of the already failing
cardiovascular system, resulting in worsening of the shock condition.

Do not pour water (or anything else) into the animal's mouth. Animals in shock are weak and may inhale anything given by mouth into the lungs, causing a serious complication.

Do not administer any medications. (including aspirin or other pain relievers) unless instructed to do so by a veterinarian.

Do not assume the pet is NOT in shock after an accident. Early, mild stages of shock are difficult to recognize, and the pet may deteriorate rapidly if not treated.

Do not hesitate seeking veterinary assistance. Many injuries and illnesses that cause shock may cause irreparable damage in minutes. Any hesitation could mean the difference between a pet making a full recovery and a pet which cannot be saved.


Choking is interference with breathing caused by foreign material in, or compression on, the trachea (windpipe).


Open your pet's mouth and perform a finger sweep by placing your finger along the inside of the mouth, sliding it down toward the center of the throat over the base of the tongue and gently "sweeping" toward the center to remove any foreign material.
Warning: there is a structure deep in the throat (the "Adam's Apple") which feels like a smooth bone. Do not attempt to pull it out!
See CPR.
If air is not entering the lungs, slap the pet's chest wall firmly or perform the Heimlich maneuver by putting the pet on its back, placing your hands over the abdomen near the bottom of its rib cage, and gently, but firmly thrusting toward the spine. Perform a finger sweep and begin rescue breathing. Repeat until the foreign body is clear and the lungs can be inflated. Transport to the veterinarian.


Stay calm and try to keep the pet calm. If the pet is overheated, wrap him in a wet towel, and transport him to the veterinarian. Perform a finger sweep only if it will not excite the pet. Frequently, pet owners confuse coughing with choking. Both cause the pet to forcefully exhale. With choking, the pet has difficulty inhaling. When coughing, the pet can inhale almost normally. Be careful to distinguish the two: attempting to give first aid to a pet who is merely coughing can injure the animal.


If it appears that your pet has an extra joint, the limb is likely broken (fractured).
If possible, fractures of the bones below the elbow or the stifle (knee) should be splinted at the accident site. This must be done carefully in order to avoid injury to both the pet and the first aid provider. Fractures are usually painful injuries, so it is best to muzzle (see section on muzzling) or cover the pet with a thick blanket or towel. If there is a wound on the fractured limb, bandage it first using the techniques discussed in the previous section. Do not attempt to replace a bone if it protrudes.


If the foreleg is broken, a newspaper or magazine makes a great splint. Roll the paper or magazine loosely and collapse it, forming a gutter shape. Place the leg in the gutter and tape firmly with any good tape (adhesive, duct, even Scotch). Other materials which may be used for splinting are wood, sticks, tree branches, cardboard, or light strips of metal. Be certain to tape above and below the fracture site. All splints should extend at least one joint above and one joint below the fracture site. A magazine makes a good temporary splint until you can get your cat or dog to a veterinarian.


The bones below the level of the knee (stifle) may be splinted by merely taping the broken leg to the other leg (mountaineering splint). Another splint that can be quickly and easily applied involves using wire hangers. Collapse a few of the hangers together and twist them together to form a malleable metal "bar." Bend the bar into a shape which resembles the normal angulation of the rear leg and tape this to the leg. Sticks of wood, thick layers of cardboard, etc. can also be used. As with splints on forelimbs, splints on rear limbs should extend at least one joint above and one joint below the fracture site.
If the rear limb has been fractured above the stifle (knee), it is not easy to splint effectively. It is best to get these patients immobilized and transported. Coat hangers can make an effective temporary splint on a rear limb. They should be bent into a shape following the normal angulation of the leg and then taped to the limb.


If the pet seems paralyzed or unable to get up, a spinal injury is suspect and the pet must be firmly immobilized to prevent further damage to the nerves. Get a firm, flat support (an ironing board, a piece of plywood, a collapsed cardboard box, a table leaf -- think of one in your house before you need it). Grasp the skin over the back of the neck and over the small of the back and gently slide the pet on to the support. Try to keep the back and neck straight. Tie or tape the pet to the support.


If the pet is unconscious, position the head in normal alignment with the
body. It should not flex abnormally downward nor extend excessively upward. Improper flexing or extending can cause decreased blood drainage from the brain and cause serious damage. If the pet has vomited or appears likely to vomit, put the head down below the level of the heart. This will allow the vomitus to run out of the mouth and not down into the windpipe and the lungs. Be aware that pets with severe head injuries are likely to vomit, even while they are unconscious.


If you suspect that your pet has consumed a substance that is poisonous, look for evidence (i.e., an open container, a pool of antifreeze, etc.). Call your veterinarian or a poison control center and be prepared to answer the following questions:

What product caused the poisoning and how much was ingested?
When did the poisoning occur?
What symptoms is your pet exhibiting?
Can you retrieve a container or label from the poisonous substance to determine the active ingredient?

Follow the instructions of the veterinarian or the poison control center. If you cannot get in touch with a veterinarian or a poison control center, then induce vomiting with the following exceptions:

Do not induce vomiting if:

the animal is unconscious, semi-conscious, or convulsing,
there is evidence that the poison was:
a strong acid,
an alkali (such as bleach),
a petroleum product,
a cleaning product,
or the substance was ingested more than 3 hours ago.

If your pet ingested one of these substances, or the poison was ingested more than three hours ago, it is imperative that you somehow get him to a veterinary facility for treatment.

To induce vomiting:

Give full strength (3%) hydrogen peroxide by mouth at a dosage of 1 tablespoon per 15-20 pounds of body weight, or Syrup of ipecac (follow label directions)

Xylitol Toxicity: A Warning to All Dog Owners

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is used in sugar-free products such as gum and candy, as well as for baking and is used in the production of certain low-carbohydrate products now on the market.

As early as the 1960's, experiments indicated a link between the ingestion of xylitol and hypoglycemia in dogs. However, it has only been recently that the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has begun to receive reports of xylitol toxicosis in dogs. It is believed that this recent rise is likely due to the increased use of products containing xylitol in the United States.

Effects of Xylitol Ingestion

In both humans and dogs, the levels of blood sugar are controlled by the body's release of insulin from the pancreas. In human xylitol ingestion does not cause any significant changes in insulin levels or, therefore, blood glucose. However, in dogs, xylitol causes a fast release of insulin, which results in a rapid decrease in blood glucose (hypoglycemia).

Clinical Signs

Clinical signs of xylitol toxicity can develop in as few as 30 minutes after ingestion. Clinical signs may include one or more of the following:

Ataxia (uncoordinated movements)
Hypokalemia (decreased potassium)
Liver dysfunction and/or failure


After ingesting a xylitol-containing product a dog may receive one of more of the following treatments, depending on the amount of time that has lapsed since the ingestion occurred. The induction of vomiting is recommended if performed very soon after ingestion of the xylitol-containing product but before clinical signs develop. Frequent small meals or an oral sugar supplement may be used to manage dogs that have not yet shown clinical signs. Following the appearance of clinical signs intravenous dextrose can be used to control hypoglycemia. It may also be necessary to treat the patient for low potassium levels (hypokalemia), if indicated. Treatment should be continued until the blood glucose levels return to normal levels.

For more information on this and other poison control questions the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center can be reached at 888-426-4435 or on the web at www.apcc.aspca.org.

Information obtained from AMC, Animal Medical Center, newsletter-Winter 2004-2005


The first aid provider must not only identify and treat injury or illness, but must also safely transport the patient to the veterinary facility for treatment. Improper technique when transporting a patient can result in further injury or complications.


Try to make the pet comfortable by encouraging him to lie down and stay. Smaller dogs and cats can most effectively be transported in commercially available carriers or in a cardboard box with a lid.


Rough handling may cause further internal bleeding, more damage to the soft tissues around a fracture, and many other complications.


If the pet seems to resent this or has more difficulty breathing on its side, it may indicate the pet has an injury to the chest or lungs. In this case, it is better to leave the pet in a comfortable position.


It is best in many cases to actually tie or tape the pet to a flat surface. This is imperative when handling the unconscious patient or the patient with a suspected back injury.


This is most important for the pet who is having difficulty breathing, has been vomiting, or has pain in the abdomen.



COTTON balls ... not the "cosmetic puffs" that are made from man-made fibers.
Frozen Half-and-half coffee cream.

Should your pet eat glass ornaments, staples or other small sharp items, defrost the half-and-half & pour some in a bowl. (You can substitute liverwurst or another moist, smooth food or drink that your pet likes.)


DOGS OR CATS UNDER 10 POUNDS: should eat 2 balls which you have first torn into smaller pieces.
DOGS 10-50 POUNDS: should eat 3-5 balls & larger dogs should eat 5-7. You may feed larger dogs an entire cotton ball at once. Dogs seem to really like these strange "treats" & eat them readily. As the cotton works its way through the digestive tract it will find all the glass pieces & wrap itself around them. Even the teeniest shards of glass will be caught &
wrapped in the cotton fibers & the cotton will protect the intestines from damage by the glass.


Your dog's stools will be really weird for a few days & you will have to be careful to check for fresh blood or a tarry appearance to the stool. If either of the latter symptoms appear you should rush your dog to the vet for a checkup but, in most cases, the dogs will be just fine.

Copyright reserved to Sandy Brock. Permission is hereby granted for any non-profit reproduction by any person or group.

Heat Stress
As panting is the main form of heat loss in dogs, any condition that impairs proper ventilation can become fatal. Laryngeal paralysis is a common disease of older large-breed dogs and a common manifestation of this disease on a hot day is heat stress. Dogs that are obese or have very short noses (such as Pugs, Boston Terriers or Bulldogs) are particularly susceptible to heat stroke. If a dog becomes overheated he will be extremely uncomfortable and the condition can progress to the point where the dog collapses and may die. Dogs lose heat by panting. Panting has the same effect that humans achieve through sweating (dogs cannot sweat except through their foot pads). If the build up of heat is faster than the rate a which the dog can cool himself by panting, then his body temperature rises and heat stress begins. Lack of water is a major factor of heat stress. A dogs normal temperature should be approx 38.5 degree c (or) 100.5 and 102.5 F. A dog that is suffering Heat Stess should have immediate veterinary care.

Signs to Look for
Excess panting with difficulty breathing
Uncomfortable and restless unable to get cool

Steps to take whilst waiting for vets attention:
You need to cool the dog down as quickly as possible but not so quick as to put the dog into shock.
Use fans, give water to drink (but do not force), wet dog down with cool water. Take a cool wet rag and wipe down the dogs face and head.
Wipe the foot pads down with alchohol to draw out excess heat from the dog. Keep your dog calm and at rest and out of direct sunlight.
DO NOT wrap up the dog or contain the dog in an enclosed crate. Air needs to circulate to help cool your dog down.

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