A Little Prep Can Save a Life: Pet CPR and Basic First Aid
Murphy’s law can easily apply to pet ownership. Sure, accidents may not happen all the time, but, as the adage goes, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Nobody enjoys preparing for the worst, but even a little bit of preparation can go a really long way. In the case of pet CPR and first aid, it could actually save your pet’s life.
The Pet Experts truly hope you never need to use pet CPR, but if you do, your ability to act quickly, calmly, and confidently could be a life saver.
Depending on the situation, you may need to look around for additional signs of danger. Once you’ve assessed the environment, you’ll want to determine whether your pet needs CPR, which is as easy as A-B-C:
- Airway – Look, listen, and feel their body for any signs of breathing. You may call your pet’s name or tap them for any signs of recognition.
- Breathing – If there’s no indication of breathing, tilt their head to open the airway. Pull out the tongue a little bit. Are there any obstructions you can dislodge? If it looks clear, blow 4-5 breaths into the nostrils (1 breath every 2-3 seconds). Notice the chest rise slightly. Only conduct rescue breathing if your pet isn’t breathing but has a pulse.
- Circulation – Finding a pulse may not be easy at first. For dogs, check the inner rear leg for the femoral pulse; for cats, check the outside of the front left leg for the apical pulse.
It’s best if your pet is lying on their right side on a flat surface. With you at their back, place one palm on the rib cage (near the heart), and put your other palm on top. Pressing downward, compress the chest ⅓ – ½ the width of the chest for a count of 1. Let go for 1. Aim for 100-200 compressions every 60 seconds. Add rescue breathing (2 breaths into the nose for every 15 compressions).
First Aid Kit and Know-How
Acquiring supplies for your pet’s own first aid kit is an important part of responsible pet ownership. This is especially true if your pet leads an adventurous lifestyle, but it can come in handy for any type of injury or incident.
Your pet first aid kit should contain the following supplies:
- Cohesive bandage that sticks to itself (not your pet’s fur)
- Conforming bandage that adds squishy padding and pressure
- Gauze swabs
- Wound dressing pads
- Paper tape
- Saline solution
- Iodine 1% antiseptic solution
- Sanitizing wipes (for your hands)
- Muzzle (to prevent a bite when you’re trying to help your pet)
- Thermal blanket
- Styptic powder
For more details, please review these basic pet first aid procedures. Encounters with other animals, car accidents, falls, and more can happen when pet owners least expect it. If you’re planning a trip, always keep the contact info for an emergency veterinarian on hand just in case.
Pet CPR is a Part of Life
Accidental illness and injury simply come with the territory of owning a pet. Knowing what to do and how to help your best friend could save their life.