Pet First Aid – What you need to know.


There are a variety of situations a dog or cat might find itself in where a bit of first aid may be required from the owner before transferring the animal to the vet. Most of these situations are a result of trauma to the animal, leading to either broken bones or bleeding. Please be aware that if your animal is injured, they are likely to be very painful and may bite, even if normally not aggressive, so care must be taken.


Suspected broken bone

  • If your animal has just been in an accident and one of the limbs appears to be broken, then you need to get him/her to the vet as soon as you can.
  • If you have a cat or small dog, transport them in a carrier to prevent them from moving around too much.
  • If you have a large dog, he/she may not be able to jump in the car and you may have to provide help, either by lifting him/her into the car or using a blanket as a makeshift stretcher.


  • In general, it is best not to try and stabilise the leg yourself, as it is very painful and the animal may bite and you may accidentally cause more damage to the area.


  • If your pet is bleeding, the best thing to do is grab a clean cloth and apply firm pressure to the area and get them to the vet to be evaluated. Again, your pet may be in pain so be careful about doing this.
  • Application of a tourniquet is not recommended as you may inadvertently cause tissue damage to the area, particularly if on a limb, which may lead to the damaged limb being removed.
  • Either of these situations can be scary for both owner and pet, so do not hesitate to phone your Vetlife veterinarian for further advice if you find yourself in dealing with a pet emergency.

Mallori Kaminski, BVSc
Vetlife Oxford