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Emergency First Aid Tips from Croton Animal Hospital’s Veterinarians

By October 4th, 201810 Comments




Seek veterinary treatment quickly. But there are steps you can take that may save your pet’s life until you can get to the vet. 


 Your pet may be choking if they: 

  • have difficulty breathing
  • paw excessively at their mouths
  • make choking sounds
  • may have blue-tinged lips or tongue

If your pet can still breathe, look into his mouth. If you see an object, gently try to remove it with pliers or tweezers.

If you can’t, or if he collapses, place both hands on the side of his rib cage and apply quick pressure, or lay him on his side and strike the rib cage firmly with your palm 3-4 times to sharply push air out of his lungs and push the object out from behind.

Repeat until the object is dislodged or until you arrive at the veterinarian’s office. 


Open your pet’s airway by gently grasping his tongue and pulling it forward (out of the mouth) until it is flat. Check for any foreign objects blocking the airway. 

Perform rescue breathing by holding his mouth closed and breathing into his nose until you see the chest expand.

Continue administering one rescue breath every 4-5 seconds.


Check for puncture wounds, broken nails, or any other abnormality that may be causing discomfort. Try to stabilize injuries before moving an injured animal by splinting or bandaging them. If in doubt, leave that to professionals. 

If there is a foreign body in the wound, don’t remove it. If necessary, carefully cut it short to leave 3-6 inches sticking out before going to the veterinarian.


Clean the wound with a mild antibacterial soap. Rinse the water and dry well. Apply direct pressure with clean towels for at least three minutes. If the towels soak through, apply more until the blood has clotted. 

Severe bleeding that cannot be stopped by applying pressure can become life threatening. Get your pet to the vet immediately.


If you believe your pet has ingested a toxic substance, contact your veterinarian or a poison control hotline immediately. If possible, have the following information available: 

  • Species, breed, age, sex and weight
  • Symptoms 
  • Name/description of the substance that is in question; the amount and how long it’s been since your pet was exposed.
  • The product container or packaging, and any material your pet may have eaten, placed in a plastic sealable bag. 

Don’t try to induce vomiting or give any medication to your pet unless directed to do so by Poison Control or your veterinarian.


It’s important to keep your pet from injuring himself or others. Move objects and other animals away from the seizing pet. Also, be sure to keep your fingers away from the pet’s face and mouth. 

Record a description of the seizure, including its duration. Once your pet has recovered, keep him quiet and warm and contact your veterinarian.


Apply a muzzle and flush the burn with cool (not cold) water. Seek immediate veterinary care.


Assume the snake is poisonous and seek veterinary attention immediately. Try to identify the snake if it can be done without risk; do not attempt to capture or kill it. 

Remember, when it comes to your pet’s health, your best bet is always to contact your veterinarian.


  • Hey there,
    By reading this Emergency First AID I come to know much more about how to manage the emergency situation with first AID for my lovely pet.
    This is a very important article for every pet owner you share.

    Thank You!

  • Linda Wright says:

    Thanks for letting us know this. I am gonna share this.

  • Steele Honda says:

    Thanks for pointing out that if your pet gets injured you should check for puncture wounds, broken nails, or any other abnormality that may be causing discomfort. I think it would also be smart to know where an emergency veterinarian was that was close to you before your pet had any emergencies or injuries. I think that would help make sure that if your pet did get injured and you couldn’t figure out what had happened or where exactly it was you would be prepared know where to take them to help make sure they could safe.

  • I am planning on getting a German Shepherd puppy this year. It is good to know that I should pay attention to signs of him coking. I didn’t realize paws being around his mouth a lot could be a sign that he is having a hard time breathing.

  • Thanks for the suggestion to assume a snake is poisonous if it bites my dog and to seek medical attention immediately. My husband and I have noticed a lot of snakes around our neighborhood, and we’ve been worried about our new puppy encountering one. We’ll have to look for great emergency pet services in our local area who could help us out in case there is a snake bite incident!

  • I’m glad you wrote what to do if your dog collapses when they are choking. I love my dog very much but he really doesn’t know how to chew, and I’m worried that one day he’ll choke on his food. Now that I know how to help him, I can rest easy.

  • I’m glad that you talked about how if you believe your pet has ingested a toxic substance, contact your veterinarian. My wife and I adopted a dog last month, and he is still used to wander around the house. I will contact an animal hospital near me in case my dog eats something that he doesn’t suppose to.

  • Mindy Jollie says:

    I never even thought about my dog getting bitten by a snake, or what I would do if he did! That’s a good idea to assume the snake is poisonous, just in case. I’ll have to scope out an animal hospital nearby to make sure we know where to go if that happens.

  • John says:

    Great article. Having even just basic knowledge can be crucial when such emergencies happen especially when a trip to the vet may take longer.

  • John D Lee says:

    Hey. I don’t normally leave comments, but I just wanted to say thanks for the great information. I have a blog too, though I don’t write as good as you do, but if you want to check it out, just click on the name.

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