Pet First Aid Care


Can be exhibited by facial swelling, focal areas of swelling on the body, and generalized hives.  If the swelling is focal you can attempt to treat at home with benedryl.  A dog’s dose is 1mg per pound.  If there are generalized hives or facial swelling/neck swelling, you can administer the oral benedryl and veterinary attention is necessary.  If there is focal swelling you may be able to find a stinger and remove it with tweezers.


Abrasions are wounds that rough up the surface of the skin but do not penetrate to the area below the surface skin.  These can be gently cleaned with mild soap and water.  Do not use peroxide.  Peroxide kills living cells, both the good and the bad ones. It is more harsh on the good cells, which outweighs the benefits of killing off any present bacteria. Neosporin is often not preferred to use in healing wounds, as it prevents the wound from getting air exposure. There are better creams and ointments that can be used in the case of a wound.  If the wound is large enough that you feel it could benefit from wound cream, please bring your pet to the vet, as you likely need some oral medications as well.  If the wound is small, preventing your pet from licking and chewing at the wound can help it to heal quickly.  Your dog’s mouth is not clean, and will create more infection at the wound site if he/she is allowed to lick at it.  A clean and dry wound will heal nicely. If your pet has a wound that you are feeling needs to be bandaged, please make plans to see a veterinarian immediately.  Improperly placed bandages can do far more damage than leaving a wound open.  If you feel strongly that a bandage should be applied, it should be only used as a temporary measure to cover the wound until your vet is able to assess the situation.


If your pet has a broken bone, please be very careful handling your pet. Injured animals can be prone to lash out and attempt to bite, as they are scared and painful.  Keeping a thick blanket, a large flat board to use as a stretcher, and a loop leash handy in your trunk or in your garage can assist you in safely transporting an animal for veterinary attention.


Always necessitate veterinary evaluation as soon as possible. Even injuries that appear minor can be much more serious than they seem.


If your pet is vomiting, please withhold food and water for 4-6 hours.  Do not allow your pet to drink and vomit up water multiple times. This can serve to cause further dehydration.  If after the 4-6 hour break, your pet continues to vomit, it is time to seek veterinary evaluation. For diarrhea – you can change your dog to a bland diet.  This consists of boiled plain rice, and unseasoned boiled chicken or ground beef with the juice and fat removed.  This can be substituted for your dog’s meals, and should be fed three times daily.  If after two days the diarrhea is not improving or resolved, it may be time to see veterinary evaluation.


If your pet has a seizure, the best thing and most difficult thing to do is not panic.  If your pet is on the couch or at the top of a staircase, and you are able to gently move them to an area that they will not fall and further hurt themselves during the seizure, then you can do that. Otherwise, allow your pet to finish their seizure before handling them.  Animals in a state of seizure are unaware of their behavior and can bite, or injure you.  They will not swallow their tongues and this should not be a concern or reason for you to attempt to handle their mouth.  They are also unaware of their surroundings, so while being close to them may feel like the right thing to do, it can put you in danger of injury.  If your dog/cat has a seizure, please have them examined by a veterinarian as soon as you are able.  If they are having multiple seizures, you need immediate and emergent veterinary attention.


While some human medications can definitely be given to your pet, please do so only on the direct advice of your veterinarian.  Many of the human pain medications can be toxic to your pet, even at small doses.  All of the human pain relievers have side effects in your pet, and these should be carefully considered prior to administration.  Additionally, if your pet is suffering from a particularly painful condition, the veterinary pain relievers can do a much better job of controlling your pet’s pain.  If you have already administered a dose of human medication, it can impede the ability of your pet to receive some of the veterinary medications and can make pain control more difficult.

Author: Dr. Lauren Simermeyer