First – Aid for Animals:

Emergency Procedure

When you come across an accident or an animal in severe distress, find a number for a local vet or animal shelter. Should you not find one , take the time and trouble to transport the animal yourself to a veterinary centre. Being able to administer basic first aid to a sick or injured animal can make the difference between life and death. In the absence of professional medical help, proceed with the basic emergency drill, as outlined below:

If breathing appears to have stopped completely, check for a heartbeat Normal heartbeat can be felt by placing the fingertips on the lower part of the chest wall on the left side, just behind the front leg

The ABC Drill

Airway – Ensure that there is nothing blocking the animal's nasal passage. Squeeze the nasal passage with a flat palm. Blow into the nose, it helps clean the nasal passage.

Bleeding – To control bleeding, tightly press a cold compress or cloth against the wound. Repeat and bandage. If blood is bright red and pumping, it is from an artery. Apply a tourniquet above the wound. If the blood is dark red and flowing regularly, apply the tourniquet below the wound.

Collapse, Convulsions and Lack of Consciousness – Ensure the animal in place where it will not receive any further injury. Start artificial respiration. If it does not respond, try mouth to mouth respiration. Convulsions occur in cases of heat stroke, severe exhaustion and poisoning. Do not restrain an animal when it is having a spasm. Administer glucose and a warm drink orally, once the animal recovers from the fit. Give Diazepam (to calm down the animal) orally after consulting a vet.

Useful Techniques

Pulse Taking : The normal pulse rate of cats is 110-140 beats/minute, and of dogs, 80-120 beats/minute. The smaller the breed, the higher the pulse. Put your index and middle finger over the artery at the point where it crosses the thigh bone on the inside of the thigh. Count the pulse rate for 10 seconds and multiply by 6.

Artificial Respiration : If possible, lay the animal on its right side, open its mouth and take out anything blocking the air passage. Pull the tongue forward. Press down firmly with both hands below the shoulder and over the ribs. Release immediately and briskly.

Mouth-to-mouth respiration : Clear the animal's mouth of any foreign obstacles, hold it closed and blow into nostrils.

Common Problems and How to Administer First Aid

Blood in Vomit – Don't feed the animal, take it to the vet. The bleeding could be due to: A foreign body like a sharp edged nail, glass etc.
Internal injuries
Nasal bleeding

Burns – Wash with plenty of cold water. Give a painkiller tablet. Cover the burnt area with a clean soft cloth, either dry or soaked in tea decoction. Keep the animal clean and warm to avoid shock. The animal must be given either plain water or water diluted with glucose. Call the vet.

Choking – – If something is stuck in the throat, try to get it out with your fingers or a long spoon. Hold the tongue down with a hanky if necessary. If the animal loses consciousness, clear the throat by massaging it downwards. Open the mouth and examine for any foreign body which is causing choking. If visible and not sharp, then slowly pull out with forceps and give artificial respiration. NEVER give your dog or cat small chicken or fish bones. These are the most common causes of choking.

Heat Stroke – –Increase in body temperature beyond the point of normal physiological temperature is called a heat stroke. It is due to hot weather, high humidity, inadequate ventilation, exposure to direct sunlight and overcrowding. Never leave your pet parked in a locked car in the sun or muzzle it for long durations in summer. The symptoms of a heat stroke are:
High rise in temperature
Oral mucosa inside mouth and tongue
Inner lips turn bright red in colour
Red eyes

Heavy breathing
High pulse rate
High pulse rate
Extreme cases will have glassy eyes and grey lips


• Place animal in a cool, well ventilated place or a shaded area
• Give small amounts of cold water containing glucose or sugar frequently
• Ice packs should be applied on the head, forehead and all over the body. If you cant get ice, apply water all over the body and cold towel compresses on the head and chest
• Give cold milk to drink
Once first aid has been administered, and the animal is stable, consult a vet.


Usually, skin disorders are manifested by itching, hair loss (alopecia) or thickened skin masses and bee sting kind of eruptions on the affected part. Wash the affected area with a mild antiseptic lotion, like savlon. Keep the animal in a dry and clean place. Identify what kind of skin infection the animal is suffering from.


Bacterial Infections – there will be oozing of pus and blood.
Fungal – there will be Crust formation and blackening of skin with loss of hair Localized and generalized lesions Foul smell
The appearance of ringworm in the shape of circular patches of infection
Reddening of skin with severe inflammation and lesions
The first site of infection will be around the ears, eyes and forelimbs Continuous scratching and oozing of fresh blood
Allergies and Eczema – there will be Only reddening of area without much loss of hair Bee sting eruptions on the affected part


If there is loss of hair then –

If there is loss of hair then – Apply Gentian Violet (Blue Medicine) and Gamma Benzene Hexachloride mixed in equal quantities on the affected area
Bathe the dog with Petmosol soap

Mange – There are two kinds of Mange, Demodectic and Sarcoptic. Both are treatable. Even dogs that have lost all their hair can be cured with a combination of medication and dedication.

Clinical Signs – The mites live in hair follicles and sebaceous glands. Loss of hair and thickening of skin is found.

Squamous Form – Scaly wrinkled, often resembling ringworm infection, sebarrhoea (pus filled crusty lesions on the face of the animal)

First Aid – • Bathe the dog once a week with Petmosol soap manufactured by ICI.
• Apply Ecktodex, one teaspoon in one litre solution for 5-7 weeks.
• Alternatively, you can apply Gamma Benzene Hexachloride solution, sold as Escabiol. Consult a vet for further medication.

Buy the book “First-Aid for Animals” by Gautam Grover & Maneka Gandhi to help animals in distress. The book is published by Sterling Publishers (P) Ltd., and is available for Rs 100/- only. Get your copy today. .


Concept: Gautam Grover Model: Nathassha Sikka Photography: Manish Manchanda

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