Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital recommends:

The Animal Emergency Clinic - open 24 hours a day

5608 South Durango St Tacoma, WA

(3 blocks west of S. 56th & S. Tacoma Way)

(253) 474-0791

Have a Pet First Aid Kit in Your Home, Click Here for a List of Supplies

Abrasions: Wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap. If possible, shave the area around the abrasion with an electric clipper. Flush the wound with warm water or saline to remove all dirt and debris from the wound. Apply an antibiotic cream at least twice daily. Ensure that this cream is not dangerous if ingested, as your pet may lick after you apply it. If the wound grows in size or starts to pus, seek veterinary care. If the wound is larger than an inch, be sure to see your veterinarian.

Artificial Respiration: (see also choking and CPR) Lay your dog on its side, extend the neck to create a straight airway, close its mouth and place your mouth around its muzzle (nose). Blow air until your animal’s chest expands. Perform this every 12-15 seconds and seek immediate veterinary care. Bite Wounds: Approch your pet carefully. Muzzle the animal if needed and if your pet is still bleeding, apply pressure to the wound until the bleeding stops. Flush the wound out with saline or large amounts of water and apply an antibiotic cream. Apply pressure to profusely bleeding wounds and seek veterinary care as bite wounds often become infected. Your dog may need tubes inserted into the wounds to help any fluids drain out and prevent infection. Also, your dog will most likely need to be placed on antibiotics.

Bloat: Although scientists are still unsure about the causes of bloat, they do know it is most common in larger dogs. The stomach inflates in a short amount of time and causes your dog to go into circulatory failure and shock. Signs of bloat are attempted vomiting and gagging along with an enlarged stomach; it will be hard to the touch and will appear rounded and full. Seek immediate veterinary care.

Breathing Difficulty: Check to see if your pet is choking on a foreign object (see choking section). If you remove an object from the throat and the animal still is not breathing, lay your pet down on its right side. Hold the pet's mouth closed and breathe directly into its nose, not mouth, until the chest expands. Exhale 12-15 times per minute. (If you prefer, cover the nose with a handkerchief or a thin cloth.) At the same time, apply heart massage. The heart is located in the lower half of the chest behind the elbow of the front left leg. Place your hand over the heart and compress the chest 1-2 inches for large animals, 1 inch for small animals. Apply heart massage 70-90 times per minute. Seek immediate veterinary care.

Broken Toenail: Dogs and cats have veins that run through their nails, so if your dog breaks a toenail, you may notice bleeding. If you have styptic powder, this can be used to stop the bleeding. If not, you can stop it by using white Ivory soap or corn starch. If the nail breaks too far down, you may want to seek veterinary care to prevent any future infection.

Burns: A pet with singed hair, blisters, swelling or red skin may have been burned. Immediately run cool water over the burned area. After you have run cool water, apply an ice pack for 15-20 minutes and seek immediate veterinary care.

Choking: If your pet has difficulty breathing, paws excessively at the mouth or has blue lips and tongue, check to see if a foreign object is visible in the throat. Clear the airway by removing the object with pliers or tweezers, being careful not to push it farther down the throat. If the object reminads lodged, place your hands on both sides of the animal's rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand 3-4 times. Repeat until the object is dislodged. Seek immediate veterinary care.

CPR: Verify a heartbeat by listening to the chest where the elbow touches the ribs after you have laid your pet down on its right side. If there is no heartbeat, begin chest compressions by placing a hand on each side of the chest where the elbow area is and compressing. Extend your pet’s neck to create a straight airway, and close the muzzle. Place your mouth around it and breath in until your pet’s chest expands. Complete 10 heart compressions and then breathe. Cat's compressions should be done with the thumb and forefinger of one hand. Not all animals can be revived using CPR. Seek immediate veterinary care.

Cuts: Wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap. If possible, shave the area around the abrasion with an electric clipper. Flush the wound with warm water or saline to remove all dirt and debris from the wound. Apply an antibiotic cream at least twice daily. Ensure that this cream is not dangerous if ingested, as your pet may lick after you apply it. If the wound grows in size or starts to pus, seek veterinary care. If the wound is larger than an inch, be sure to see your veterinarian. If the wound has not healed in three days, seek veterinary care.

Diarrhea: If your animal’s diarrhea is bloody, seek immediate veterinary care. If your pet is vomiting, weakness, or in pain along with the diarrhea, seek immediate veterinary care. If there are no signs of distress, do not feed your pet for 12-24 hours. You may give your animal water, but control it in small amounts. Pepto Bismol may sometimes be given to dogs with your veterinarian’s consent and advice on dosage amounts. We recommend you make an appointment with your veterinarian, and bring a sample of your pet's stool for analysis.

Embedded Foreign Objects: Foxtails- Foxtails, a barbed seed, are common in our area. They are usually too deep to remove without a general anesthesia. Call your veterinarian for further instructions. Porcupine quills, sharp, hollow shafts- Quills cannot be removed without anesthesia. Call your veterinarian for further instructions.

Eye Injuries: Use saline to flush any foreign objects out of the eye. If you notice your animal squinting, with a sensitivity to light, has their third eyelid raised, or bleeding, seek immediate veterinary care. We recommend that any eye injury be seen by a veterinarian because of the long-term injuries that can be caused, including permanent blindness.

Fractures: If your pet exhibits pain or is unable to use a leg, check for a broken bone. Muzzle the animal and control any bleeding. Watch for any sign of shock (irregular breathing, dilated pupils). Do not pull on the fractured leg, do not try to reset a fracture, and try to keep it as immobile as possible. If there is bleeding, gently apply a clean cloth. Seek immediate veterinary care, transporting your pet on a board or in a sheet to limit their movement ability.

Heat Stroke: If your pet seems to be overly panting, has wide eyes, vomiting, staggering, or weakness, it may be suffering from heatstroke. If your pet is running a temperature over 106, it is in danger. Either run a hose of cool water or place it in a tub of cool water, ensuring that the water comes into contact with the skin. You may also wrap your pet in a cold, wet towel. Ensure that you wet the belly and the legs until your pet's temperature reaches 103 degrees. Seek immediate veterinary care.

Hit By Car: Check your animal for vital signs, fractures, or cuts. Treat as necessary. Your animals gums, if pale, may indicate internal bleeding or shock. Transport your pet carefully and seek immediate veterinary care. Insect Bites: At the onset of swelling, itching and pain within one hour of bite, remove the stinger and apply cold packs. If you can't reach veterinary care, apply a topical cortisone or an anti-inflammatory ointment on the bite. A previously prescribed antihistamine may be given orally. Seek immediate veterinary care.

Lacerations: Wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap. If possible, shave the area around the abrasion with an electric clipper. Flush the wound with warm water or saline to remove all dirt and debris from the wound. Apply an antibiotic cream at least twice daily. Ensure that this cream is not dangerous if ingested, as your pet may lick after you apply it. If the wound grows in size or starts to pus, seek veterinary care. If the wound is larger than an inch, be sure to see your veterinarian. If the wound has not healed in three days, seek veterinary care.

Muzzle: Use a strip of soft cloth, rope, necktie or nylon stocking. Wrap around the nose, under the chin and tie behind the ears. Care must be taken when handling weak or injured animals. Even normally docile pets will bite when in pain. Allow animal to pant after handling by loosening or removing the muzzle. Do not use a muzzle in a case of vomiting. Cats and small pets may be difficult to muzzle. A towel place around the head will help control small animals. Stretcher- Use a door, board, blanket or floor mat to transport injured or weak animals.

Poisoning: Vomiting, convulsions, diarrhea, salivation, weakness, depression and pain may be signs of poisoning. If you know what your animal has injested and how much, record this information to provide to your veterinarian. If possible, bring in any container that the poison was contained in. Seek immediate veterinary care or call poison control. Hydrogen Peroxide and Syrup of Ipecac are commonly used to induce vomiting only if you are instructed to do so. In the case of poisoning on the fur/skin from oils, paints or chemicals, wash the animal with mild soap and rinse well.

Punctures: Flush the wound out with saline and apply an antibiotic cream. If the wound is bleeding, apply pressure until the bleeding stops. The wound may become infected, so we recommend that you seek veterinary care for a possible antibiotic prescription.

Seizures: If your pet has a seizure, it may salivate, lose control of urine or stool, have voilent muscle twitching or lose consciousness. Do not attempt to restrain your animal! Ensure that your pet is safe from any stairways, table corners, chairs, or any object that they may knock on top of themselves. Use any blankets or padding to help protect them further. Time the seizure: If the seizure is longer than three minutes or happens at least five times, seek immediate veterinary care. Keep a record of the dates, times, and length of any seizures. You may also want to speak softly to your animal during the seizure to try and bring them comfort.

Shock: Irregular breathing and dilated pupils may indicate shock, which can occur with serious injury or fright. Keep your animal gently restrained, quiet and warm with its head elevated. Seek immediate veterinary care.

Urination Problems: If your pet is whining, crying, or otherwise showing signs of troubled urination, they may have a blockage. This is especially common in male cats. Seek immediate veterinary care, as urination blockage can lead to death.

Vomiting: If your pet seems to have no behavioral changes after vomiting, simply observe your pet for any changes. If there is blood or diarrhea with the vomiting, seek immediate veterinary care. If there are no signs of distress, keep food away from your pet for 12-24 hours and water away for four hours. If the vomiting has subsided. You can give your animal ice or small amounts of water for the next 12 hours. If there is still no vomiting, slowly increase the amount of food and water over the next 24 hours. If your animal is not interested in food or water by this time, seek immediate veterinary care.