Emergency First-Aid Tips For Dogs

Even though it’s unpleasant to think about, chances are your dog will become sick or injured at some point in his life. I would strongly advise that you also prepare for other emergencies such as weather disasters.


First Aid

The first thing you need to do is to restrain and or muzzle your dog to keep him from panicking or struggling against you. There are several items you can use to make a muzzle: panty hose, a cotton bandage, a necktie, or even a sturdy piece of fabric about two feet long.

Transporting an injured animal needs to be done very carefully to avoid causing further injury. Larger dogs can be placed in a piece of plywood to be moved, while smaller dogs should be placed in a box. You could also use towels or blankets as a stretcher.

To perform artificial respiration, first check to make sure the dogs mouth is cleared of mucus, blood, or any obstructions. Then you need to hold the mouth closed, inhale, completely cover the dogs nose with your mouth, and gently breathe out. Do not blow hard. Repeat every five to six seconds.

With external bleeding, don’t worry about cleaning out the wound until the bleeding has stopped. You need to immediately stop the bleeding by applying gentle pressure from a cloth, bandages, or even your own hand.

Internal bleeding, such as the result of being hit by a car, can be more dangerous. Internal hemorrhaging is extremely serious and needs to be treated by a veterinarian without delay.

Shock can occur from disease or injury. Treat any visible injuries, respond at once by keeping the animal warm and quiet, and take the dog to the vet.

Fractures require immediate attention. You need to get the dog to the veterinarian with as little movement as possible.

Vomiting and diarrhea are usually caused by problems with the digestive system. The resulting dehydration can be fatal. The veterinarian needs to be called if the condition does not improve after 12 hours.

According to the American Kennel Club, the following procedures should be performed if your dog is stung:

If possible, carefully remove the stinger with tweezers. (Only bees leave stingers.)

Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the area.

Apply an ice pick to relieve swelling and pain.

A single sting does not usually present a serious problem. However, multiple stings can be life-threatening. Intravenous catheterization, the administration of fluids, and monitoring of vital signs are performed when treating for massive stings.

The following items are recommended to be kept on hand in case of emergency. If you are unfamiliar with any of the items listed below, your veterinarian can explain it’s proper use:

  • Syringe
  • Gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Cold pack
  • Ipecac syrup
  • Liquid Styptic
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrocortisone 1%
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Tweezers
  • Latex Gloves
  • Cotton balls
  • Muzzle
  • Aluminized Thermal Blanket


Dogs are at a high risk for accidental poisoning, due to their natural curiosity and their tendency to consume anything they come across. CALL YOUR VETERINARIAN AT ONCE IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR DOG HAS INGESTED A POISON. Here are some common poisons and their side effects:

Insecticides and parasite medications such as flea and tick sprays. Shampoos and worm medications also must be used according to directions. Signs of overuse can include loss of bowel control, vomiting, drooling, and trembling and weakness.

Rodent poisons. Most rat poisons thin the blood so it is unable to clot. Ask your veterinarian how to get the dog to vomit. Inducing vomiting before 30 minutes have elapsed will usually get rid of most poisons.

Antifreeze is extremely toxic to digs, even in small amounts. Please use animal-safe antifreeze in your vehicles!

Below are some Common Household Poisons

  • Acetaminophen
  • Bleach
  • Deodorants
  • Detergents
  • Disinfectants
  • Hair colorings
  • Matches
  • Mothballs
  • Nail polish remover
  • Paint
  • Shoe polish
  • Windshield-wiper fluid

Many of the following poisonous plants may cause vomiting and diarrhea:

  • Castor bean
  • Soap berry
  • Ground Cherry
  • Skunk Cabbage
  • Daffodil
  • Foxglove
  • Larkspur
  • Indian turnip
  • Wisteria

Evacuation tips

Plan Ahead!!

Most emergency shelters do not accept pets. Call hotels in your area and in surrounding states to inquire about their pet policies. Ask friends in the surrounding areas if you and your dog(s) can stay with them if you unable to find a hotel.

One of the best ways to be reunited with your dog if he runs away/gets loose during an emergency situation is to microchip him.

Assemble a disaster supply kit for your dog.


  • Collar and leash with ID tags
  • Current copy of vaccination records
  • Any medications and directions for administering them.
  • Recent photo
  • At least three days’ supply of food and bottled water.
  • Bedding and blankets

The last piece of information I’d like to share with you, is that obedience-trained dogs will respond better to commands and will be easier to handle during a stressful situation such as an emergency evacuation.


Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care

Melanie Lovett

Basic Cat First-Aid

When I decided to turn my love and passion for animals into a full-time career, I sat down and thought about some ways I could set myself apart from your “average” pet sitter. That thought process lead me to become a Certified Pet Sitter. While I learned many important aspects of cat and dog health, the most valuable knowledge I became aware of was general First-Aid.

If you are a pet owner and are not familiar with First-Aid for your pet, there are a few simple things you can do that could save your pets life until you can get them treated by your veterinarian.

Because this is such vital topic I am going to discuss this in two separate articles. We’ll start with basic cat First-Aid.

My first piece of advise is to try and stay calm.

Take some deep breaths and try to focus on the situation and what you can do immediately to help your cat. I know, easier said than done, right? Trust me, I’ve been in emergency situations with pets myself and it can be very hard to keep your emotions in check and not let your personal feelings take over the situation. Your cat will sense your alarm and that may make it impossible for you to administer the proper aid she needs.

My second piece of advise is to carry a basic First-Aid kit in your car. 

You may already have one but here are some items you may not have thought of including in case of emergency for your pet:

  • Tweezers with a sharp point
  • Rectal Thermometor
  • Scissors with a small-blunt point
  • A roll of sterile gauze
  • Eye dropper
  • Any medical conditions and a list of your pet’s medicines including dosage (This will be critical if you have to take your cat to an emergency hospital that is not familiar with your cat’s medical history.)
  • Also have the ASPCA’s 24/7/365 poison control center number taped to the inside of the lid of the kit: 888-426-4435

If you are able to get a reading on your cat’s vital signs, the normal ranges are:

Temperature: 100.4-102.5 F
Pulse: 160-240 per minute
Respiration: 20-30 per minute

I think it is a great idea, if you can, to take measurements when your cat is healthy and relaxed and keep those numbers in your First-Aid kit. Even when your cat is perfectly home and at ease, getting a rectal temperature may be challenging. So just keep the above numbers in mind, or even jot them down and keep them in the kit as well.

If you do take your cats temperature, you will need a helper to complete the
process. Always use KY jelly or other water-soluble lubricant on the tip of the

The person helping you needs to gently grab the scruff of your cat’s neck and
hold her front legs still. After you have lifted your cat’s tail, insert the thermometer slowly and carefully into the rectum.

Don’t force it! Insert the thermometer slowly and carefully into the rectum about one inch and hold it in place until it beeps.

You should not attempt to take your cat’s temperature if she is having
difficulty breathing.

To take your cats pulse, find her femoral artery. Press your two first fingers against the inside of her upper hind leg. However, the pulse may not be able to be found on a obese cat. Count the pulse for 15 seconds, then multiply by four to get the beats-per-minute.

For breathing rate, count either inhalations or exhalations for 15 seconds, and multiply by four to calculate the breaths per minute. Rapid, labored, shallow or irregular breathing can help to determine how serious the situation may be:

Shock or lack of oxygen can be indicated by rapid breathing. Obstruction or severe chest injury may be indicated by shallow breathing. The most serious respiratory sign is irregular breathing, and may indicate the need for immediate veterinary attention.

Here are some helpful reminders if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation:

Due to pain and fright, injured animals may lash out.

If possible, wear gloves and protect your face. Approach your cat slowly and
softly.To prevent and struggling, wrap her in a blanket or towel. Place her in her carrier and take her to the veterinarian immediately. If at all possible, call your veterinarian before you arrive so they are aware of the situation.

In closing, if possible, practice basic first aid before your cat’s life depends
on it. If you’re prepared for an emergency, you’ll be in a much better position
to save your cat’s life.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care

Melanie Lovett

Disaster Preparedness for Your Pet

Emergency planning is something we all say we are going to do but never seem to get around to completing. “I’ll get an emergency kit ready for my pet tomorrow… or next week. Nothing will happen.” However when you think something isn’t going to happen, that’s usually when the unexpected occurs. You may not live in an area of the country that gets tornadoes, but a fire can occur anywhere at any time. What about a flood or a terrorist attack?

When you are deciding whether or not to stay home during an emergency it can be easy to overlook figuring your pets into that plan.

PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND if you decide to evacuate your home. Chances are they will not be able to survive on their own and you may be unable to find them when you return.

Please keep in mind that many public shelters do not allow animals. It is advisable to consider staying with a friend or loved ones outside of your immediate area who would be able to host you and your pets during an emergency.

Develop a plan with neighbors, etc to make sure someone will be able to care for or even evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

The APSCA recommends these steps for disaster preparedness: 

  • Get A Rescue Alert Sticker
  • Include the types and number of pets in your household and the name and phone number your veterinarian.
  • Arrange a Safe Haven
  •  Contacting your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities and asking your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
  • Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets

Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits

  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book
  • 3-7 days’ worth of canned or dry food
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Litter
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
  • Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires
  • At least 7 days’ worth of bottled water for each person and pet
  • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters

Choose “Designated Caregivers”

This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something happens to you. Consider people who have successfully cared for animals in the past.

Evacuation Preparation

Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible
Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date information.
Always bring pets indoors at the first sign of warning of a storm or disaster

Never leave your pet chained outside if you have no alternative but to leave them behind, let them loose inside your home. Lift the toilet tank lid and brace the bathroom door open so they can drink.

These valuable tips may help save the life of your pet if an emergency were to unexpectedly occur.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care
Melanie Lovett