Emergency Tips

Learn more about emergency first aid procedures below.

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Bite wounds

Often when dogs bite, they shake their head while biting down. This pulls the skin away from the underlying muscle leaving a large pocket under what appears to be just a small puncture wound. These wounds need immediate medical care from your veterinarian. To minimize tissue damage, apply a padded pressure bandage or a folded clean towel. This can be held in place with gauze wrapping or masking tape.

Cat bites are particularly deceiving as the initial wound is very small and may be difficult to find. Cat bites almost always result in infections that may become abscesses.

Vomiting and diarrhea

Most over-the-counter medications for humans do not work well for pets, and dosing is difficult. It is best to withhold food and only allow small amounts of water at a time. Call your veterinarian if there is more than one episode of vomiting or diarrhea and if it persists for more than a few hours.


Overheating in animals can be life-threatening. This is much more common in dogs than in cats. The goal is to return the body temperature to normal.

The easiest way to cool down dogs is to use the garden hose. Be sure to allow the water to run until cool before applying to the dog. The dog can also be immersed in the bathtub. It is best not to use ice water as this may cool them down too rapidly and cause shock. Since internal organs can be damaged by overheating, take your pet to your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Hit by a car

Always be cautious with animals that are injured as they may bite or scratch when handled. Covering the pet with a blanket or towel can protect you from being bit. Open wounds should be covered with pressure bandages using gauze pads or small towels if there are open wounds. Be sure not to wrap these too tightly, as this will compromise circulation. If broken bones are obvious, use a bath towel or one of appropriate size to wrap the leg to stabilize it until you can get the pet to your veterinarian.

Any animal that has been hit by a car needs to have an exam as many internal injuries are not obvious without a thorough examination and observation.

For after-hours emergency assistance, the Emergency Pet Clinic and BluePearl can assist.