The outcome of many injuries can be much improved if proper care is given while on the way to the veterinary hospital. In certain cases, such as heat stroke, uncontrolled hemorrhage, and choking, minutes count so do not waste precious time treating your animal. Go directly to the hospital. However, there are minor injuries that can be managed at home until you get to the hospital.
Burns: Rinse area with lukewarm water. Do not place any covering on the burn or attempt to shave any hair. If you can get to the veterinarian immediately (what is recommended) then do not apply any ointment or salve to the injury. If it will be several hours before your appointment, you can apply a burn cream available in
human first aid kits. Make sure your pet does not lick at the area!
Lacerations/Bites: Gently clean the injury with warm water. You may use hydrogen peroxide sparingly. Do not use alcohol. You may apply firm pressure with a clean towel if there is abundant hemorrhage and go to the hospital immediately. Otherwise, it is always best to leave the area uncovered. NEVER apply a pressure bandage and leave in place! Your pet will need to be on antibiotics regardless of the cause, so always visit your veterinarian.
Spider/Snake Bites: Snake bites require an immediate visit to the hospital. You may be unaware your pet has been bitten by a spider until many days later. Always visit the hospital when you are aware the pet has been bitten. NEVER apply a tourniquet.
Fractures: Never attempt to place your own splint. Get to the hospital ASAP. You may give a small amount of aspirin-ask your vet for a dose when you call for an appointment. However, if you are going immediately to the hospital, it is best not to give any medication to avoid interactions with what your vet will give.
Hemorrhage: Apply firm pressure to the area with a clean towel. DO NOT apply a tourniquet. If you can not control the hemorrhage, go to the hospital immediately.
Choking: This of course is an immediate emergency. Do not waste time trying to dislodge any object deep in your pet’s throat. If you can see the object in your pet’s mouth, and they can still breathe, feel free to try to grasp the object. Have one person hold the mouth open wide so you will not get bitten. Most pets are panicked at this point and it is usually best to allow a vet to sedate them to remove any oral object.
It is always wise to keep an animal first aid kit in your home and car. Basically most items in a human first aid kit are appropriate, EXCEPT oral medications such as Tylenol. You can use hydrogen peroxide, Betadine, skin salve (as long as your pet does not lick it off!!), gauze, and a cold pack. Just use them sparingly, and not more than for 24 hours-you should visit your veterinarian by then. It is also a good idea to use latex gloves and you may want to consider muzzling your pet-an animal in pain will bite anyone. Remember to never place a constrictive bandage on any part of your pet’s body.