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How to perform first aid on your pets

It is of utmost importance that you know what a true pet emergency is, have a pet first aid kit ready and be able to stabilise your pet until you can get them to the vet.

PETS, driven by their inherent curiosity, often find themselves in unforeseen predicaments that may result in injuries or emergencies, sometimes even outside regular hours. During such critical moments, it becomes imperative to promptly administer effective first aid to stabilise them before transporting them safely to a nearby vet.

It’s crucial to bear in mind that while first aid is vital for immediate intervention, it should always be followed by professional veterinary care as it serves to sustain your pet until he/she receives proper medical attention.

Also read: Pet owners urged to keep their furry friends cool

Here is how to handle each of the following emergencies:


Pets can be sensitive to substances that may not affect humans owing to differences in digestive enzymes. Common toxic items include raisins, grapes, chocolate (especially darker variants), garlic, onions, paracetamol, ibuprofen and mouldy food.

In the event of exposure to a toxic substance, flush your pet’s eyes with ample clean water. For skin contact, thoroughly wash the affected area with soap and water. If ingestion is suspected, note the time and quantity consumed, and if feasible, bring along the packaging of the suspected toxin to the vet. In cases of vomiting, handle it with gloves, collecting samples for examination by the vet.


Check your pet’s mouth for obstructions, using caution to avoid bites. Gently sweep the throat with your finger to dislodge any foreign object. If visible, attempt to remove the obstruction with pliers or tweezers. If unsuccessful, perform the Heimlich manoeuvre by applying quick pressure to the rib cage.


If your pet suffers a snakebite, try to identify the snake or provide a photo for the vet’s reference. Keep the pet calm and refrain from manipulating the bite area by not applying any ice pack or tourniquets. Seek immediate veterinary assistance without attempting to remove the venom.

Insect bites and stings:

Swiftly remove any visible stingers with a hard material, avoiding squeezing the venom sac. Apply a cold compress or a baking soda paste to alleviate discomfort. Monitor the pet closely for severe reactions, such as facial swelling or breathing difficulties, seeking prompt veterinary attention if necessary.

To be fully prepared in case of an emergency, it is important to have these materials as a part of your pet first aid kit:

  • emergency vet clinic contact information
  • digital thermometer
  • muzzle
  • spare leash and collar
  • gauze roll
  • clean towels
  • bandage materials
  • adhesive tape
  • syringe (needle-free)
  • K-Y jelly
  • saline solution
  • tweezers
  • scissors

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