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CPR for Pets...

Be Prepared for an Emergency!

Learn the ABCs and Save a Pet's Life!!

A= AIRWAY               B=BREATHING             C=CIRCULATION

1. AIRWAY...Check first to see if anything is in your Pet’s mouth in case of choking. Clear the airway if possible.  If you are unable to clear the airway, perform the Heimlich.

2. BREATHING...To check breathing hold a cotton ball or piece of tissue in front of the nose and look for movement or hold a mirror in front of nose and look for condensation. If not breathing, place on a firm surface with left side up.

3. CIRCULATION...Check for a heartbeat by listening at the area where the elbow touches the chest.   Or place your hand cupped around the chest for a cat or small dog to feel for a heartbeat.  Stethoscopes can also be purchased inexpensively at medical stores to assist you in listening for a heartbeat.

If you hear/feel a heartbeat but the Pet is not breathing, close the Pet's mouth and breathe directly into the nose--not the mouth--until the chest expands. Repeat 12 to 15 times per minute.

If there is no heartbeat, apply heart massage at the same time. Place one hand below the heart to support the chest. Place other hand over the heart and compress gently. To massage the hearts of cats and other tiny pets, compress the chest with the thumb and forefingers of one hand. Apply heart massage 80-120 times per minute for larger animals and 100-150 per minute for smaller ones. Alternate heart massage with breathing.

Download this brochure on CPR and keep it handy in case of an emergency...



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Always take caution when approaching an injured Pet.   Even normally docile Pets will bite when in pain or distress.   It is often necessary to place a muzzle on the Pet for EVERYONE'S SAFETY!!

To muzzle your Pet ...

You can use any conventional muzzle that is available at pet stores.     OR

If you do not have a muzzle you can make one.   Use a strip of soft cloth, slip lead, rope, guaze, necktie, or nylon stocking. 

1.  Make a loop and slip it over the nose. 

2.  Pull the ends down and criss-cross it under the jaw.

3.  Take the ends behind the ears and tie it in a bow-tie--never a knot.

4.  Allow the Pet to pant after handling by loosening or removing the muzzle.

Please visit this site for pictures on Restraining a Dog:

Do not use a muzzle in a case of vomiting or on any Pet that is having problems breathing.

Cats and small pets may be difficult to muzzle. A towel placed around the head will help control small pets.   Or wrap the pet up like a burrito.   For fractious animals it may be necessary to wear heavy work gloves to prevent injury to yourself.


NOTE:  Never give your Pet human medication or medication that was prescribed for another pet.  Certain human medications can be TOXIC to Pets.  For example, tylenol (acetominophen) is commonly taken by people for fevers and pain, however, tylenol is DEADLY to cats.  Just one tablet of tylenol will kill a cat.   Other common human pain relievers such as Aleve (naproxen) and Advil (ibuprofen) are also TOXIC to PETS!   And many medications that are used for dogs are toxic to cats.  Always consult your veterinarian.



Here is a list of Common Emergencies that You May Face at Home:

Wounds smaller than an inch in diameter can be treated at home; anything larger requires professional medical attention. With clean hands, gently clip the fur around the wound with electric clippers--never use a regular scissors. Use warm water or saline to flush out the wound. Flush enough to remove all dirt and debris from the area. You can apply an antibiotic cream (Bacitracin, Triple Antibiotic or Neosporin) twice daily. If the wound becomes larger, produces pus material or the Pet is very uncomfortable, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Birth (Whelping and Queening):

Dogs and cats have gestation periods of approximately 58 to 64 days (9 weeks). After 45 days, you could have an x-ray taken to see how many puppies or kittens to expect. By this time the skeleton has calcified enough to be seen on a radiograph. At the time of birth, the Pet will usually nest and seek an isolated, quiet and private area. Expect one pup every 45-60 minutes with 10-30 minutes of hard straining. If she is seen straining hard for over one hour or if she takes longer than a four-hour break and you know more pups or kittens are present, a veterinarian should be consulted. Cats tend to queen a little faster, however, if they are disturbed during labor, they can willfully stop their labor for up to 24 hours. Help clean the airways of the new puppies and kittens and tie off their umbilical cords.  Place them back with their mother to start nursing. (If they do not nurse on their own or the mother refuses them, you will have to bottle feed them!!  visit this site for more information on bottle feeding puppies   Please note that nursing is very demanding on the mother and she should be fed puppy/kitten food to keep up her calcium levels.  Low levels of calcium can cause problems birthing or even lead to twitching/seizures.  Seek veterinary attention immediately if there is a fetus stuck in the birth canal or the mother is in pain or distress.


Bite wounds:
Your Pet may be frightened and hurt, so approach with caution. Use a muzzle if needed. Flush out the wound with saline or warm water. Topical Bacitracin or Triple Antibiotic ointment can be applied. Wrap large wounds with a clean cloth or bandage material to keep clean. Apply pressure if it there is active bleeding. Bite wounds usually become infected, so it is necessary to seek veterinary attention immediately for appropriate antibiotic therapy. Often what you see at the surface, such as a few small bite punctures, will have extensive damage under the skin that you cannot see. Be sure to have your Pet examined if there has been a bite wound inflicted. Rabies is also a concern for with bite wound. Please make sure your Pet is always up to date on Rabies vaccination--it’s the law!

Apply firm, direct pressure over the bleeding area until the bleeding stops. Hold the pressure for at least 10 straight minutes (continually releasing the pressure to check the wound will hamper the clotting). Avoid bandages that cut off circulation. Make sure to check the Pet’s gums.   If the gums are white or very pale pink, take your Pet to the veterinarian immediately.

Capillary Refill Time (CRT) is a way to check the health status of a Pet.

Normal mucous membranes (gums) should be pink and moist.

With a thumTesting the CRT of a dogb or finger, apply pressure to the gums just above or below a tooth. Once the gums under the thumb have been blanched out, the thumb can be removed. The blanched out area should return to normal color in less than 1-2 seconds.

Note: If the Pet is dehydrated, the membranes will be dry and the capillary refill time will be prolonged (>2-3 seconds). A dog in shock will also have an increased capillary refill time.

A CRT of less than 1 second or greater than 3 seconds is considered an emergency.



Bloat can occur rapidly; a dog can be dead within hours of the stomach distention. Death is usually due to circulatory failure and shock. The causes of bloat are still being investigated but bloating seems to be most prevalent in large breeds and seems to occur more commonly if the dog exercises after a large meal. If you ever notice your dog gagging and trying to vomit and shows signs of a distended abdomen... call your veterinarian immediately! This is a true emergency. The belly will appear rounded and full and be rather hard and tight when you touch it.  For more information visit

Broken toenail:
To stop the bleeding, you may pack the nail with styptic powder such as Kwik-Stop, cornstarch, or white bar soap. You or your veterinarian may need to trim the rest of the nail off to prevent further pain or bleeding. Occasionally a nail that breaks off very close to the nail bed may create an infection in the toe that twill require antibiotic treatment so watch for any limping that persists longer than two days or any odor from the foot.  You may soak the foot in warm epsoms salts water to give your pet some relief.

Flush the injury immediately with cool running water. Gently apply an ice pack wrapped in a soft towel to the area for 15 minutes. Never apply the ice pack directly to the skin.  Seek veterinary attention immediately. Water may activate some dry chemicals, therefore, it is best to brush them off of the hair coat and consult your veterinarian.

Signs of difficulty breathing, excessive pawing at the mouth, blue lips and tongue are an emergency. Check to see if your Pet is choking on a foreign object. If the Pet can still partially breathe, it's best to keep the Pet calm and get to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. Look into the mouth to see if foreign object in throat is visible. If you can, clear the airway by removing the object with pliers or tweezers, being careful not to push it farther down the throat. If it is lodged too deep or if the Pet collapses, then place your hands on both sides of Pet's rib cage and apply firm, quick pressure. Or place the Pet 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 or you arrive at the veterinarian


Bloody diarrhea with severe straining may require an emergency trip to the veterinarian; diarrhea along with vomiting can be a sign of serious intestinal obstruction that may even need surgery. A Pet with diarrhea and also weakness, pain, vomiting, or agitation may be in real trouble; whereas a Pet with diarrhea but few other signs of distress may sometimes be treated at home. Always inform your veterinarian about the situation and have a fecal sample checked just in case intestinal parasites are a factor (especially Giardia or Coccidia which can only be seen under a microscope and are not eliminated by conventional dewormers). Withhold food for 12-24 hours to give the intestines a rest. Water should still be given frequently but in small amounts and pedialyte can also be given to replace important electrolytes. Call your veterinarian for advice on dosages on KaoPectate, Pepto-bismal or Imodium if necessary. You may be required to bring your Pet in for medical attention if it persists for more than 24-48 hours. Chronic or frequent episodes of loose stool may be a sign of Inflammatory Bowel Disease which often requires veterinary attention.

Eye injuries:
Any injury to the eye can lead to permanent scarring or blindness. You can use any commercial saline flush or eye wash to clean foreign objects from the eye and to visualize the extent of the damage. If your Pet is squinting, hiding its eyes from the light, has a raised third eyelid or has any blood within or around the eye, seek veterinary attention immediately. Home treatment of eye injuries is not recommended without a veterinarian's exam.  Even a simple scratch on the cornea from a thorn or cinder could lead to severe eye disease.  

Pain, inability to use a limb, or limb at odd angle are signs of a fracture especially after known trauma. Muzzle the Pet and look for bleeding. If you can control bleeding without causing more injury, then do so. Watch for signs of shock. DO NOT TRY TO SET THE FRACTURE by pulling or tugging on the limb--this is very painful!! Transport the Pet to the veterinarian immediately, supporting the injured part as best you can. You can used rolled up newspaper or a stick to support/immobilize the leg. You can place cats or small dogs in a laundry basket for transport to avoid further injury by attempting to place in a carrier. A trash can lid or board can be used as a stretcher for small Pets. A blanket/sheet, ironing board or sled can be used to transport larger pets. Make sure your Pet is secured to the "stretcher" so she or he doesn’t fall off and cause more injury.  Also, note that difficulty walking could be due to a herniated disc in the back or from Lyme Disease or a torn ligament.  Do not delay in taking your pet to the vet.

NEVER leave your Pet in the car unattended or outside in the summer without shade and cold water. Brachycephalic (short nose) breeds are most susceptible to heat stroke. Signs of heat stroke are rapid panting, wide eyes, staggering and weakness or collapse. You can take your Pet’s temperature rectally by using a digital thermometer with petroleum jelly or KY on it. Temperatures above 106 degrees are dangerous (lead to seizures and organ damage) and heatstroke can be fatal.

Place your Pet in a tub of cool running water or spray with a hose being sure the cool water contacts the skin and doesn't simply run off the coat. Thoroughly wet the belly and inside the legs. You may also put alcohol on the feet pads to help cooling via evaporation.  Take a rectal temperature every 10 minutes if possible to know when to stop cooling--a safe temperature is about 103 degrees--otherwise your Pet may suffer from hypothermia if you continue to cool for too long. Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible!

Hit by Car:
Your Pet is frightened and hurt, so approach with caution. Use a muzzle if needed to prevent being bitten by an anxious and injured Pet. Check for breathing and a heartbeat. Check for obvious fractures and bleeding. Check the gums to see if they are pink and well oxygenated... or pale which might indicate internal bleeding or a shock condition where the patient's blood pressure falls. If there is active bleeding, apply direct pressure with a clean cloth or bandage material. If your Pet cannot walk, carefully transport immediately to the veterinarian using a board or a large blanket as a stretcher. Give careful support to any fractured limbs (see above).   A veterinarian should examine any Pet after any vehicle accident in case there is internal bleeding even if your Pet looks fine.

Hot Spots:
These suddenly appearing, wet, circular patches of infection on the skin create intense itching and irritation and are a result of a tick or insect bite, mild abrasion, moisture contacting the skin or an underlying allergy, Hot Spots can spread very rapidly across the skin surface and beneath the fur so they may be difficult to see. It is best to trim the fur around the affected area to allow air to assist in drying. Daily cleaning of the Hot Spot with hydrogen peroxide or sterile saline will speed healing. You may apply topical antibiotic ointment, however, oral antibiotics and other medications are often needed for total resolution.  Rescue Remedy cream often works well for minor skin irritations as well.

Insect bites:
A swollen paw or muzzle may result from the bite of an insect. Over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl or Diphenhydramine (1 mg per pound every 8 to 12 hours**) may be used to reduce the allergic response. Hydrocortisone cream can be applied to any insect bite area to help provide relief. Be sure to call your veterinarian regarding home treatment. Some insect stings will create numerous swollen areas about the head, neck and face, and in these cases injectable steroids are often needed to reduce the swelling... A life-threatening reaction to an insect sting is very rare in animals but it can happen. APIS is a good homeopathic remedy for bee stings.  **Human Adult Benadryl Capsules are 25 mg each (1 cap for each 25 pounds) and Liquid Formula is 2.5 mg per ml (2 cc for every 5 pounds).

Any laceration one inch or larger will require your veterinarian to place sutures to close the wound. For very small cuts, you can attempt to gently clip the fur around the wound with electric clippers. Use warm water or saline to flush out the wound. Flush enough to remove all dirt and debris from the area. You can apply an antibiotic cream such as Bacitracin twice daily. If the wound becomes larger, produces pus or the Pet is very uncomfortable, seek veterinary attention immediately.



Call your veterinarian immediately at 610-705-5801 for help

or call ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 (someone is available 24 hours a day, $55 consulation fee may be applied to your credit card)

Record what and how much your Pet ingested as well as bringing the wrapper or container with you to the vet.

They may give you instructions on how to induce vomiting if it is safe to do so.

Hydrogen peroxide is a common emetic...1 tablespoon per 15 pounds may be given by mouth to induce vomiting. If the Pet does not vomit in 15 minutes, repeat again. This should only be done as your veterinarian instructs.  Note: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml and 1 tablespoon equals 15 ml or 1/2 ounce.

COMMON TOXIC FOODS...Chocolate (see below), grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, coffee, salt, avocado, onions, bread dough, moldy or spoiled foods.  Visit  for 10 Poison Prevention Tips and information on keeping your home Pet-Safe and Lists of Poisonous Plants.

Top 10 most toxic items dogs commonly ingest:

  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa bean mulch
  • Cigarettes and cigarette butts
  • Mushrooms
  • Paint balls
  • Potpourri
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Slug bait
  • Some types of chewing gum that contain Xylitol
  • Pennies
  • Yarn, string, ribbon, cassette tape and other similar items

If your dog eats something and you have any doubt about whether it is dangerous or toxic, always call Poison Control (888) 426-4435, your veterinarian or local emergency clinic....the average cost for treating a dog that has gotten into a toxin is $342.65.

CHOCOLATE is DANGEROUS for PETS...the toxic components are THEOBROMINE and CAFFEINE, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, heart arrhthymias, depressed respiration, seizures, coma and death. It is best to avoid giving any chocolate.  The carker the chocolate, the more toxic components.

Here are the "ESTIMATED" amounts of chocolate that can be FATAL...

SMALL DOGS...4-10 ounces of milk chocolate or 1/2-1 ounce of baking chocolate

MEDIUM DOGS...1-1 1/2 pounds milk chocolate or 2-3 ounces of baking chocolate

LARGE DOGS...2-4 1/2 pounds of mlk chocolate or 4-8 ounces of baking chocolate


PLEASE NOTE THAT Over the Counter FLEA and TICK PRODUCTS CAN ALSO BE POISONOUS TO PETS.  NEVER APPLY a product labeled for a DOG onto your Cat!  Cats can not metabolize PERMETHRIN and will develop twitching and uncontrolled seizures if these products are ingested.  Always consult your veterinarian for the proper flea and tick medication for your Pet.    This site gives true horror stories of what over-the-counter flea and tick medication has done to Pets...


Flush out the wound with large amounts of saline or warm water. If the puncture is on an extremity, you may soak it in Epsom salts. Apply pressure if it is actively bleeding. Puncture wounds often become infected and Tetanus, although rare in the dog and cat, does affect animals; therefore, veterinary attention is required. Oral antibiotics are usually needed.

Keep the Pet safe by removing it from stairways or dangerous objects (table corners, stairs). Use a blanket for padding and protection around the Pet. DO NOT ATTEMPT RESTRAINT and do not put your fingers in the Pet’s mouth... this may lead to injury of you or your Pet ---s/he will not swallow their tongue. Convulsions/seizures are very troubling to witness and you should let your veterinarian know about any seizures your pet has. Time the seizure and make note of the severity. If the seizure lasts for more than 3 minutes, or there are clusters of 5 or more, seek veterinary attention immediately. There really is nothing you can do to stop the seizure other than to provide a quiet environment (keep fearful or screaming children away from the Pet) and softly talk to the Pet for reassurance. Rescue Remedy may be given to help ease the stress of the situation.   In toy breed dogs or diabetic pets, it is possible that their blood sugar is too low and some times rubbing some Karo Syrup on their gums may help.  Any dog or cat that experiences a seizure should be examined by a veterinarian and have bloodwork done to look for underlying causes for the seizures.    Hypoglycemia, electrolyte abnormalities, liver/kidney disease, hypothyroidism, lyme disease, fever and toxin exposure are all possible causes of seizures. 


If the vomit contains any blood at all, call the veterinarian immediately. If your Pet seems alert, active and unconcerned about the vomiting, then you may try cautious observation at home. Withhold food for 12-24 hours. After the vomiting has ceased for 4 hours, you may give ice chips or small amounts of water or pedialyte for 12 hours. If vomiting has not resumed, slowly increase the amount of water and introduce a bland diet of boiled burger or chicken and over-cooked rice or oatmeal with plain yogurt again over the next 24 hours. If the Pet is not interested in food or vomits repeatedly, seek veterinary attention immediately. (Any Pet that eats grass will probably vomit the grass and stomach contents... this is generally of no consequence.)


Urination blockage:
Straining and crying while posturing to urinate without the production of urine is very serious. Especially in male cats there can be an obstruction of the urethra from minerals or small bladder stones. Without appropriate treatment, your Pet can die.   Very rarely do Pets get constipated but if your pet is having problems having bowel movements, you can add canned pumpkin and olive oil to the diet.  If you are uncertain if your Pet is passing urine or stool, a trip to the vet is warranted to be safe.

If you believe your dog or cat is unable to urinate, do not delay... seek veterinary attention immediately!!


Make Your Own Emergency Kit:

Alcohol, Benadryl (Diphenhydramine Caplets), Bactine, Bandage Tape, Betadine, Blanket/Towel , Clippers (battery powered), Cold Pack, Cotton Swabs and balls/Q-tips, Epsom Salts, Eye & Skin Wash (saline), Gauze Squares, Hemastats, Hydrocortisone Cream, Hydrogen Peroxide, KY Jelly or petroleum jelly, Latex Gloves, Oral Dosing Syringes, Pencil and Notepad, Nolvasan (chlorhexidene), Bandage Scissors, Slip Lead, Stretch Gauze, Styptic Powder, Thermometer (digital), Triple Antibiotic Ointment (Neosporin), Tweezers, Vet Wrap (co-flex), Vet & Emergency Clinic’s Phone Number, Poison Control Phone Number...


Natural Emergency Remedies:

APIS...remedy for bee stings and can be given immediately and repeated every 15 minutes.

Arnica 30C...Excellent for first aid use to promote healing. Use to ease swelling & pain of injuries, sprains, muscle strain & ache for any trauma or bruising.

LACHESIS is very useful for snake bites as well as LEDUM which is good for any type of puncture wound. 

Rescue Remedy...Great to help calm Pets and reduce anxiety.

TRAUMEEL...a combination product great for injuries.