Posted by: | January 24, 2012

Knowing Pet First Aid Can Save Your Pet’s Life

In the case of any emergency, all pet owners should have a working knowledge of pet first aid.

I know first hand the experience of saving my own dog from choking.  I couldn’t imagine how panicked and helpless I would have felt if I hadn’t had my training in pet  first aid.

Pets are like children.  Both can often get into trouble (especially the young ones).  But unlike children, most pets spend quite a bit of time unsupervised.  It can be difficult to keep your eyes on your pup at all times.  My career as a pet sitter has provided a wealth of experience in the pet world.  Most of the pets I regularly work with, and especially my own, have me constantly thinking two steps ahead.  I know them very well.  I know their behaviors, tendencies, the way they think, and the trouble some of them love to get into.  This helps to be aware, and that is the very first step in preventing an emergency…


It’s important to know and recognize what is normal for your dog.  Know how he/she usually sleeps, eats, walks, urinates, defecates, etc.  Know what is normal, so you will be able to recognize what isn’t normal.  Especially when you need to take them into the vet office.  The vet’s job is to diagnose and treat your pet.  They aren’t simply magical healers (even though I know a few who seem like it).  Any information you can provide for your veterinarian may be helpful, especially in an emergency.

Check the gums

The gums can tell you quite a bit actually.  Healthy gums are moist and pink.  Lift your dog’s lips (technically a muzzle), and press lightly against the gum area with your finger.  It should return to a pink color within a second or two.  If the gum area is white, pale or blue, that is typically an indication of a problem and you should consider an emergency trip to the vet.


If your dog is choking and is unconscious, approach cautiously to avoid being bitten.  Open their mouth sweep the inside with your finger to dislodge the object.  Pull the tongue forward.  If the object doesn’t dislodge, you may need to attempt abdominal thrusts.

Look for more pet first aid tips coming in the next post.  Feel free to ask any questions and I hope to get those answered for you.

Remember, you should always consult a veterinarian with all health concerns regarding your pets.


Tim Heise
– Certified Pet Care Specialist
Absolute Pet Care, LLC

Scottsdale, AZ


  1. Hi there,

    First Aid in a pet is really important when it comes of emergency. Can you tell what should I do if my pet get poisoned? Thanks

    • Thanks for the question!

      Some of the signs of a possible poisoning include excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, twitching, nervousness, convulsions, coma, and a chemical odor on the body. Here’s what you can do if your dog is poisoned:
      Step 1: If the dog is comatose or convulsing, wrap it in a blanket and transport your pet immediately to the veterinarian with the suspect poison container, plant, or leaf.

      Step 2: If the dog has a chemical odor on its skin, wash the entire dog with mild soap until the odor is gone. If the poison was licked or ingested, flushing the dog’s mouth with clean water may also help in decontamination.

      Step 3: If the dog has not already vomited and the poison is not a caustic or petroleum product (see lists below), induce vomiting by giving 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide per 20 pounds every 10 minutes until vomiting starts. If no vomiting occurs within 30 minutes, transport the dog immediately to the veterinarian with the suspected poison container.

      Step 4: Call the Pet Poison Control hotline for further instructions at 888-426-4435. (There is a charge for this service.)

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