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Basic First Aid Procedures

By April 21, 2020 June 20th, 2023 No Comments


Any first aid should always be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet’s life until it can receive veterinary treatment.

  • To be safe, muzzle your pet. Even the most docile pets may bite when in pain and it is best to be careful.
  • If there is heavy bleeding press a clean, thick gauze pad over the wound and apply pressure until the blood starts clotting.
  • Keep the pet as warm and quiet as possible.
  • If you fear there are broken bones, find a flat surface (like a board or stretcher) that you can use to transport the pet. If possible, secure the pet to the surface with a blanket or towel.
  • Call your vet for advice on how to transport an injured animal based on your specific situation.


CPR for cats and dogs 

CPR for cats and dogs is similar to CPR for humans. These directions assume the animal is unconscious and there is no risk of being bitten.

  • Remove any obstruction. Open the animal’s mouth and make sure the airway is clear. If not, remove the object obstructing the airway.
  • Extend the head and give several breaths. For large dogs, close the dog’s jaw tightly and breathe into the nose. The dog’s chest should rise. Give 2 breaths.
  • Perform chest compression. For large dogs, you may be able to position the dog on its back and compress the chest just like for humans. For small dogs and cats as well as large dogs with funnel chests, you may need to lay the animal on its side and compress the side of the rib cage. Alternatively, you can position the animal on its back and press on both sides of the rib cage.
  • The rate of chest compressions varies with the size of the animal.
  •             – Dogs over 60 pounds: 60 compressions per minute
  •             – Animals 11 to 60 pounds: 80 to 100 compressions per minute.
  •             – Animals 10 pounds or less: 120 compressions per minute
  • Alternate breaths with compressions. The ratio of compressions to breaths should be approximately the same as for humans, about 30:2. Continue doing this until the animal responds and begins to breathe on its own.


These directions come from Learn CPR, a free public service supported by the University of Washington School of Medicine.

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