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Top first aid tips for your pet

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Top first aid tips for your pet 16/03/2016

Has an insect or tick ever bitten your dog or cat and you’ve been unsure what to do? Have you ever worried that your pet has swallowed poison or food it shouldn't?

Here Dr Russell Harrison, Head of Hospital Services at Lort Smith Animal Hospital shares some of his top tips on first aid for dogs and cats:

“Depending on the cause of the injury or issue, there can be a lot you can do to help your pet at home before bringing them into Lort Smith.”

Insect bites

"If a dog swallows a wasp or a bee that's an emergency situation because it might cause swelling in the airways. You'll need to bring your dog to us or take it to a vet as soon as possible."

"But a bite on the body might just cause some discomfort that can be controlled with an icepack. If it's still painful, such as a bite on your pet's foot, take it into the vet to get pain treatment."


"If your dog or cat is bleeding, clean out the wound with saline solution if that's possible, however in the initial stages the priority is to stop the bleeding. You can put a gauze pad onto the cut or laceration and then apply a bandage over the gauze."

"Then bring your pet into Lort Smith or take it another vet to be checked. It might be a deeper wound that needs stitches or is affecting deeper tissues."

Itchy skin

"The most common cause of itching is fleas. Use a flea treatment straight away."

"Make sure you use cat products for cats, and dog products only for dogs. Some dog flea products can be toxic when used on cats."

"Give it a couple of days, and if the itchiness continues or there is redness or damage to your pet's skin, bring it to us or another vet."

Diarrhoea and vomiting

"If you don't know why your cat or dog is sick, and if it is an adult cat or dog, withhold food for 24 hours and provide water. Then offer bland food - boiled chicken and rice. It's the same as dry toast for humans!"

"If your animal has blood in its diarrhoea or becomes dehydrated by passing more liquid that it is able to drink, bring it in to see us."

"If it is a puppy or kitten, call us for advice rather than withholding food for a day."

"If your pet is vomiting because it ate a cooked bone, corn cob or other dangerous item, come into the hospital straight away."

“I also recommend a pet first aid app that you can download for free. It covers first aid for both cats and dogs."

Free pet first aid app for Apple devices:


For Android devices:


To make saline solution, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in one cup of water, and boil for 15 minutes.


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