What to do if your pet is injured
We've compiled a simple list of first aid tips for animals to help you in case something terrible should happen to your pet.
Hooks or objects with barbs
Occasionally fish hooks can get caught in an animal's skin. If this happens to your pet you should cut off any attached fishing line to prevent further injury, making sure you leave enough line attached so that the hook is visible (especially if covered by fur).
If you can't get the hook out easily, gently pass it through until the barb is exposed. Where possible, try to cut off the barbed section of the hook with wire cutters or pliers, then ease the shank back and out through the original cut. Clean and dress the wound, then depending on the size of the wound you may need to take the animal to the vet.
If the hook has entered the eyes, mouth or ears DO NOT attempt removal. Take the animal to the vets immediately as an anaesthetic may be required.
Snake or spider bites
Firstly try to locate where your pet has been bitten, then cut away the fur and clean the area around the bite with warm water or a normal antiseptic. These types of injuries really need to be treated by a vet as soon as possible.
With cats the first sign of a bite may be an abscess or swelling. The cat may become listless or refuse food. Bathe the swelling with warm water and mild disinfectant and take the cat to the vet as quickly as possible.
Cuts and bleeding
Locate the injury or source of the bleeding and cover with clean cloth or bandage. You may be able to treat minor scratches at home, but if the cut is deep or serious it is best to visit the vet immediately.
If your pet's leg is broken there is not much you will be able to for them at home, other than make them as comfortable as possible. It may be possible to prepare a splint to support the broken bone, but you will need to visit a vet as soon as possible.
If your pet suffers a burn, either from heat or from a chemical poison, immediately, hold the burned area under cool running water for at least 10 minutes
Contact your vet as quickly as ppossible for advice, giving them as much information as possible about the substance if the burn is from a chemical.
Immediately remove any collar your pet is wearing. Hold their jaw open and try to remove any object caught in their throat, taking care not to get bitten! You may be able to place a block across the corner of the jaw to stop your pet from biting, while hooking out the offending object with your fingers.
Seek professional attention if you think they may have damaged their throat in the process.
Just like babies and children, you should never leave an animal in a car on a hot day.
If your dog or cat does get overheated, immediately try to cool them down by taking them to a cool spot and soaking them in cool waterif possible. If the heat stroke is serious, you should take the animal to the vet immediately.
There can be many reasons why your pet suddenly develops a limp. Check out the affected leg for signs of swelling or obvious points of pain. Often it will just be a thorn or splinter in their paw.
Carefully remove anything that shouldn't be there, provided it will come out easily. Clean cuts in water or disinfectant. Do not attempt to remove glass or anything which is firmly embedded as splinters may be left behind - the animal should be taken straight to the vet instead.
Occasionally pets accidentally consume toxic plants, waste, or chemical poisons like household cleaners. If your pet shows any of the following symptoms it may have been poisoned.
- Excessive drooling
- Vomiting, convulsions
- Lack of coordination
There may be many other causes for these symptoms but you should always try to seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible. Try and find out what they have eaten, such as solvent or week killer, so it will be easier for the vet to find the antidote.
As long as your pet is not convulsing or unconscious let it drink as much water as it wants, as this will dilute the poison.