Pet Care FAQs

You can attend to small abrasions that don't fully penetrate the outer layer of skin at home by keeping them clean. If the wound is bleeding, or penetrating (for example if the wound was inflicted by another animal), it should be checked out by a vet as soon as possible. You can use warm water or saline to flush debris out of a superficial wound. Make sure to keep the area clean and dry.

As the affected area is healing, it's important to discourage your pet from licking or chewing that area. Elizabethan collars should be worn until the affected area has completely healed. Make sure to check the wound for redness, swelling, pain, odor or discharge. If these signs are present, your pet should be seen by a veterinarian for antibiotics and additional therapy. A veterinarian should also evaluate large, infected abrasions or multiple abrasions. Remember, you should not apply dressings or ointments to the wound unless specifically instructed to by your veterinarian.

There are a variety of symptoms when it comes to allergic reactions including swelling, itching, and redness around the eyes, eyelids, muzzle, nose and ears. In more severe cases, signs may include generalized hives, severe facial swelling and difficulty breathing. Insect bites and stings, food allergies and reactions to vaccinations are just some of the variety of reasons that allergic reactions can happen. Sometimes it is difficult to determine the underlying cause of the reaction.

Most animals will need to see a veterinarian to receive the initial allergy medication by injection but call your veterinarian first for advice. Over the counter diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is an antihistamine and is a common treatment for allergic reactions. If your pet is less than 10 pounds, the liquid form of diphenhydramine is easier to administer than the larger, tablet form. Prior to using any medication, please contact your veterinarian to recommend an appropriate dose for your pet.

If your pet stops breathing, please see a vet immediately. On the way to your vet, you may be able to help your pet.

To breathe for the animal:

Extend the neck so there is a straight airway.
Close the mouth.
Place your mouth around its nose and mouth (or just the nose, if it is a large dog) and blow air until the chest expands.
Be sure to keep the neck extended straight, not flexed.
You should be able to see the chest expand with each breath. This should be performed every five seconds. Do not overdo.

If there is no heartbeat, you should start with CPR.

Basic CPR includes breathing and chest compressions:

In Small Dogs or Cats: Squeeze the chest using one or both hands around the chest. Depress the rib cage circumferentially, 100 to 150 times per minute.

In Large Dogs: Compress the chest wall with one or both hands, depending on the size of the dog and the size of the rescuer. The dog should be placed on their side (in lateral recumbency) and the person performing CPR should place their hands on the side of the chest wall where it is widest. Depress the rib cage 1.5 to 4 inches, depending on the dog's size. Do this 80 to 120 times per minute.

Continue CPR until you become tired and can't continue. If there is a second person able to perform CPR, switch every 2 minutes.

All resuscitated patients should be transported to a veterinary facility for further examination and care!

Bites on your pets can be very serious and need to be seen by a vet. First aid can help prevent infection (it takes bacteria about an hour before it causes problems). With severe bite wounds, first aid may be necessary to save your pet's life and keep him alive in order to get to the vet for professional care.

First you want ot control the bleeding by applying steady constant pressure. Most bite wounds don't bleed a great deal, and applying a clean soft washcloth with firm pressure should stop the bleeding within about five minutes. Once the bleeding stops, clean the area gently. First, fill the puncture or broken skin wound with a bit of K-Y Jelly to prevent further contamination. Then use blunt scissors or electric clippers to clear away fur in about an inch border around the wound. For small puppies, you can then place them in a sink and carefully rinse the wound with the sprayer attachment. Trimmed fur sticks to the jelly and washes out with the water.

Your vet will want to provide appropriate antibacterial ointments or other medications, but you can help prevent further wound contamination by cleaning around the injury. Apply hydrogen peroxide on a soft washcloth, and clean the surrounding fur and visible wounds. Avoid pouring it into the wound, as that can damage the tissue and delay healing. The hydrogen peroxide also works well to bleach bloodstains from fur or fabric.

Until you get a pain prescription from the vet, you can use an ice pack to relieve the discomfort. Soak a washcloth with cold water, ring it out, place over the wound and apply the ice pack on top. Use the ice treatment for 10 minutes at a time several times a day or as recommended by your veterinarian.

Pets can bleed externally from causes such as cuts and lacerations, or internally such as from the chest or abdomen. If bleeding is severe, the loss of blood can result in shock. Emergencies may require you to control the bleeding, even if it is just during transportation to the veterinary hospital. If there is external bleeding, during transport to the veterinarian hospital you can apply firm, direct pressure over affected area until bleeding stops. Hold pressure for at least 10 minutes straight (continually releasing pressure to check the wound will hamper clotting). Avoid bandages that cut off circulation. Call your veterinarian immediately.
As most know, chocolate is not good for our pets and can actually be quite toxic. If you see these signs between 1-4 hours after indigestion: vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, seizures, etc., you should contact your vet immediately. They might have you try to induce vomitting. If you are concerned your pet ingested chocolate, attempt to estimate the amount of chocolate and the type (baking vs. semisweet vs. dark chocolate or coffee) and call a veterinarian or animal poison control.
Dehydration can occur for many reasons including: vomiting, diarrhea, a decreased intake of fluids, etc. If your pet has a loss of elasticity in the skin or the gums are pale and sticky, those are sign of dehydration. If you feel your pet may have dehydration, you may need to bring your pet in for medical attention and fluid therapy, especially if there are signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, lethargy, and appetite loss.