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FIRST AID

The following are some common pet first-aid treatments. Always call your veterinarian at the first sign of trouble.

Bite Wounds
Approach the pet carefully to avoid getting bitten. Muzzle the animal. Clean the wound with large amounts of water. Wrap large open wounds to keep them clean. Apply pressure to profusely bleeding wounds. Bite wounds often become infected and need professional care. Wear gloves when possible.

Bleeding
Apply firm, direct pressure over the bleeding area until the bleeding stops. Avoid bandages that cut off circulation.

Breathing Stops
Check to see if the animal is choking on a foreign object (see Choking). If an animal is not breathing, place it left side up. Check for a pulse by listening at the area where the elbow touches the chest. Close the animal's mouth and exhale into the nose, not mouth, until the chest expands. Exhale 12 to 15 times per minute. At the same time, if there is no pulse, apply heart massage. The heart is located in the lower half of the chest, behind the elbow of the front left leg. Place one hand below the heart to support the chest. Place other hand over the heart and compress the chest one to two inches for large animals, one inch for small animals. Apply heart massage 70-90 times per minute.

Choking (difficulty breathing, excessive pawing at mouth, blue lips and tongue)
Look into the mouth to see if foreign object in throat is visible. Clear the airway by removing the object with pliers or tweezers, being careful not to push it further down the throat. If the object remains lodged, place your hands on both sides of the animal's rib cage and apply firm, quick pressure. Or place the animal on its side and strike the side of the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand three or four times. Repeat this procedure until the object is dislodged.

Diarrhea
Withhold food for 12-24 hours. Give ice cubes only.

Heat Stroke (rapid or difficult breathing, vomiting, high temperature, collapse)
Place animal in a tub of cold water, gently soak with a garden hose or wrap in a cold wet towel.

Poisoning
Record what the animal ingested and how much. Immediately call your veterinarian or poison control center. Do not induce vomiting. In case of poisoning on the skin, wash with mild soap and rinse well.

Vomiting
Withhold food for 12-24 hours. Give ice cubes for two hours after vomiting stops, then slowly increase the amount of water and foods given over a 24-hour period.