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Basic Animal First Aid: How to Give First Aid to Dogs and Cats

Pets tend to be full of energy and not necessarily the best accident avoidance. For this article, our Smyrna vets will discuss first aid and what to do when your pet gets into trouble.

First aid for pets

You love your pets and want to keep them with you, so it is important to know how to handle a health emergency so that you can stabilize them to get them to a vet. First aid for pets is similar to first aid for a human. Use the “Dr. ABCs”

Danger – keep yourself and others around you safe.

Response – check if your pet responds to their name or touch.

Airway – is their airway clear? Breathing – are they breathing?

Circulation – do they have a pulse or heartbeat?

Send – someone to ask for help!

CPR for pets

The first concern is always whether are they breathing. Brain damage and death happen quickly if they are not breathing. For cats and dogs, the process is similar to the process of humans.

  • Check if they are breathing and try to find a heartbeat.
  • If they are not breathing check the air passage is unobstructed.
  • If there is no heartbeat begin chest compression at around 100 to 120 compression per minute.
  • Do 30 compression and give rescue breaths.
  • Close the pet's mouth and breath through their nose.
  • Check every 2 minutes for a heartbeat/independent breathing.
  • Get your pet to the vet, and keep up CPR on route to the vet or until your pet is breathing on its own.
  • If your pet starts breathing on their own you should still take them to the vet.
  • First aid kit for pets

A pet first aid kit is not that different from a human first aid kit.

  • Bandages
  • Blunt-ended scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Wound dressing
  • Self-adhesive tape
  • Vinyl gloves
  • Foil blanket
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • A blanket to use as a stretcher or to immobilize them.


Remember the  “Dr. ABCs”. CPR for most pets is like the human version but breath through their nose. Use common sense and best judgment. When in doubt, call your emergency vet clinic 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
If your pet is having a medical emergency, contact our after-hours emergency vets in Smyrna as quickly as possible.

New Patients Welcome

Are you looking for a vet in Smyrna, Georgia? Cumberland Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about animal healthcare. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

(770) 433-1414