Puppy with first aid kit
puppy american bully in front of white background

Most of us know how to handle a minor scrape or sprain at home if we are injured, but do you feel comfortable handling small but common pet injuries? Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital wants to help make sure that you know how to navigate basic pet first aid when the need arises.

Common Pet Injuries That You Can Handle

As a pet owner it is highly likely that, at some point, you will need to handle an injury of some type. While some things are an obvious pet emergency, other things are less urgent. Some common pet injuries that you may need to address include:

  • Small scrapes and cuts: If your pet has a minor scrape or cut, you can place gentle pressure on the area with a clean cloth to help stop bleeding. You can then clean the wound with some diluted antiseptic like chlorhexidine. Any wound that is deeper than the skin, won’t stop bleeding, or looks infected should be evaluated by a veterinarian.
  • Torn toe nails: If your pet tears a toenail (or you accidentally trim a nail too short), the bleeding can be impressive. If you are able, apply styptic powder or even a little baking soda to the torn nail. If there is a piece of nail that is still attached or if the bleeding doesn’t stop within about five minutes, it is time to head in for help.
  • Eye injuries: Minor eye injuries can sometimes be handled at home. If your pet’s eyes are irritated, or if you think there may be something stuck, you can gently flush with eye wash. If your pet is in pain, tearing excessively, or the eye appears abnormal, though, it is important to have it evaluated right away. 
  • Limping: Minor sprains and strains happen, and sometimes a pet might be a little ouchy. If your pet is limping, encourage them to rest the affected leg. You can also gently massage and ice the area if able. If your pet has a pronounced limp that doesn’t improve in a reasonable time, you should seek veterinary attention. 

Perhaps the biggest challenge when it comes to common pet injuries is knowing when you are in above your head. Even minor injuries can become complicated quickly, so if there is any doubt, contact us for help.

Pet First Aid Do’s and Dont’s

Educating yourself about basic pet first aid can be very helpful. In fact, the American Red Cross even has a pet first-aid training available. Here are some of our best tips:

  • Don’t ever put your face near the face of an injured animal—even the sweetest pets can bite when they hurt
  • Do stay calm and assess the situation
  • Never give your pet human medication without veterinary direction
  • Do use gentle pressure to control bleeding
  • Don’t try to manually pull an object out of the eye
  • Do keep your pet in a safe, warm area if they are hurt
  • Don’t use hydrogen peroxide to repeatedly clean a wound as this can slow healing
  • Do stay up to date on pet first-aid techniques
  • Don’t apply more than a temporary bandage without veterinary supervision
  • Don’t wait too long to seek help

Being armed with good knowledge about how to handle common pet injuries is important as your pet’s caretaker. Knowing a little bit about what to do and when to call for help can help ensure your pet’s safety.