Pet first aid

    ABC's of Pet Emergencies: Learn About Pet First Aid

    Just like in humans, first aid for pets can be the difference between life and death. It can stabilize your pet before you can get them to a vet, prevent a condition from worsening, or even save their life in extreme cases.

    The ABC of Pet First Aid

    A. Airway

    The first step in any emergency is to ensure that your pet's airway is clear. If your pet is unconscious, gently extend their head and neck and check for any obstructions in their mouth or throat.

    B. Breathing

    Next, check if your pet is breathing. You can do this by watching their chest or feeling for breath on your hand. If they're not breathing, you may need to perform rescue breathing, details of which are given below.

    C. Circulation

    PROCEED WITH CAUTION! If you are absolutely sure that you will not get bitten, open the lip so that you can see the gums. Press one finger on the gums and check how fast the colour returns back to the gums. If it takes more than 2-5 seconds for the colour to return, then you may need to perform chest compressions or immediately rush to the nearest veterinarian. Try to keep the pet warm if they are cold and shivering, or use an ice pack if they feel too warm to the touch.

    How to Perform Rescue Breathing:

    Performing rescue breathing on pets can be a crucial skill in emergency situations. Here's a step-by-step guide:

    1. Check for responsiveness: Gently tap your pet and call their name to see if they respond. If they don't, they may be unconscious and in need of rescue breathing.

    2. Clear the airway: Gently tilt your pet's head back to straighten their airway. Check for any obstructions, such as foreign objects or vomit, and remove them if possible.

    3. Secure the muzzle: If your pet is conscious but injured or scared, it's important to secure their muzzle to prevent them from biting you. Use a soft cloth or your hand to gently hold their mouth closed.

    4. Begin rescue breathing: For small pets, place your mouth over their nose and mouth, creating a seal. For larger pets, you can cover their nose and mouth with your hand or use a pet-specific resuscitation mask if available.

    5. Give breaths: Take a deep breath and place your mouth or the mask over the pet's nose. Exhale gently and steadily into the pet's nose, watching for the chest to rise. Deliver enough breaths to make the chest visibly rise, usually 1-2 breaths for every 5-6 seconds, ensuring that the air is going in and not leaking out.

    6. Check for signs of recovery:Β After giving breaths, watch for any signs of improvement, such as increased breathing or movement. If your pet shows signs of recovery, stop rescue breathing and monitor their condition.

    7. Seek veterinary assistance: Even if your pet shows signs of improvement, it's crucial to seek immediate veterinary care. Transport them to a veterinarian as soon as possible for a thorough evaluation and treatment.

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    By Dr. Prafulla Mishra


    Dr. Prafulla's early exposure to cattle ignited his passion for veterinary science. An award-winning top graduate, he's an advocate for pet adoption and brings a wealth of experience to every consultation. Fluent in English, Hindi, Punjabi, and Oriya, he specialises in dogs, cats, farm animals, and select exotics.

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