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First aid for pets

09/08/2022 Health & care Small animal Bird Dog Cat

First aid for pets: this is how to do it

Accidents can happen at any time. It’s therefore very important that you know what to do to help your furry friend until your vet can take over. First aid can be divided into 5 steps:

  1. Observe and assess the situation, try to determine the cause of the injury (this is very important in case of poisoning).
  2. Examine the vital body functions: pulse, respiration, reflexes and mucous membranes.
  3. Apply life-saving measures if necessary: breathing, stopping bleeding, chest compressions, etc.
  4. Prevent the situation from getting worse: apply an emergency splint, wash away poison with water ...
  5. Call for help: call the vet or veterinary clinic or have someone call for you.

When to provide first aid?

Of course, not all emergencies are equally urgent, some require immediate help while others can wait a little longer. Each situation is different. If your pet has several problems at the same time, it’s important that you always tackle the most urgent issues first.
Wounds are not seen as a major threat because they are not life-threatening. However, it’s extremely important that you take care of them quickly. This way the wound can heal properly and your pet won’t suffer from it for the rest of its life.

Why and how to restrain an animal?

An animal in pain can also be very anxious. Because of this, your pet can react very unpredictably and make the injury worse. Sometimes pets simply don’t understand your well-intentioned help. Therefore, in some situations, it’s very important for both your own safety and that of your loving companion, to correctly put it in a restraint hold.

Restraining a dog:

When a dog is in pain, he often bites. It’s therefore advisable to put a muzzle on the dog. If you don’t have a muzzle, you can use a flat lace, a scarf, a piece of cloth, a belt or a handkerchief, as long as it doesn’t cut.
The best way to put a muzzle on your dog is to stand behind him and put it on gently and efficiently. Then fasten it by attaching both ends to the back of the head. With an improvised muzzle, hold both ends and place them around the back of the dog’s nose. Then cross it under the lower jaw and attach both ends behind the head and tie them. Caution: with breeds that have a short snout, it’s important that you don’t tighten the muzzle too much. Panic and a too tight muzzle can cause the animal to become short of breath.

When your dog keeps struggling each time you touch him or he won't lie still, it’s necessary to put him in a restraint hold. Place the dog on his good side, i.e. on the side where there are no fractures, wounds or bleeding. Then take hold of the legs lying on the floor or table and lift them slightly. This way, the dog can no longer stand upright. Let someone else keep the dog pressed against the ground by putting his or her forearms in the animal’s neck and groin. Depending on how hard the dog struggles, this person will have to apply more or less pressure. Once the dog realises that it’s better not to struggle, he will surrender.

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Restraining a cat:

Properly restraining a cat is a little more complicated than restraining a dog. This is because cats are often more agile, smaller and faster. In addition, cats often use both their teeth and claws to defend themselves. It‘s important to know that in nature kittens are lifted up by the scruff of their necks. They then show the natural reflex to stiffen their body. Of course, your cat must not have any injuries on its neck or back.
When you want to restrain your cat, place it on its good side with its back to you. Grasp your cat's neck with one hand. Do this with a firm but gentle grip. With the other hand, hold the legs. Keep one finger between the hind legs so that they are not pressed too hard together. Then slowly pull the cat apart by spreading your arms. This way a second person can examine the animal.

Restraining a rabbit:

When restraining a rabbit, it’s important to support its strong hind legs properly. This way you can prevent the rabbit from damaging its back if it resists restraint.
There are two ways to restrain a rabbit. The first way is when your rabbit isn’t afraid. One hand reaches under the chest and with the other you hold the hind legs. Rabbits must always be restrained close to the body.
When your rabbit is very scared, do the same but this time put its head between your elbow and ribs. This way it will calm down because it will be in the dark.

Restraining a small animal:

Small animals are not so easy to restrain due to their size. Some small animals such as guinea pigs are never aggressive. Rats can get very angry when they are in pain or feel cornered. Any small animal that is calm can, like a rabbit, be supported with one hand around its chest and the other under its hindquarters. This is also the ideal way to lift gerbils and degus. Make sure that you NEVER lift them by their tails as this will tear the skin off.

Restraining a hamster:

To lift a hamster, make a small bowl with your hands and make sure that the hamster can’t escape. You can also secure a hamster by grabbing it by the neck as the animal has plenty of skin left in this area, which makes this very easy.

Restraining a ferret:

A ferret should be handled in the same way as small animals: with one hand around the chest and, if necessary, with the other under its hindquarters. Ferrets often use their teeth to explore and can bite quite hard. In this case, you fix the animal by grabbing it by its neck.

Restraining a bird:

When you have caught a bird to help it, it’s important to bear in mind that birds can succumb to stress. The most important rule is that you should never grab a bird around its chest, as this will allow it to continue to breathe properly. With large birds such as parrots, it’s important that you hold their heads. They have a sharp beak and can bite hard. It’s also important to take into account their sharp nails, they also dare to use them.

See which first aid kit best suited for you

First aid for the skin

When your faithful friend is playing or prancing around, it can always happen that your pet gets wounded. When this happens, it’s important that you take care of the wound as soon and as well as possible. This way you make sure it heals nicely and your furry friend won’t suffer from it in the future.

Different types of animal emergencies

If your dog has a wound, it’s best to treat it as quickly and hygienically as possible. This prevents the wound from becoming infected, e.g. by bacteria on the hands. Therefore, wash your hands thoroughly and wear latex gloves.


Your pet may overheat if it’s locked in a car or small space for some time or left in the sun too long. This can lead to heatstroke or dehydration. It then barely reacts to normal stimuli, breathes irregularly, feels warm. If you notice that your faithful friend is suffering from sunstroke, you should consult your vet immediately. Put the dog in a cool place and sprinkle the body of your dog with fresh water. Also wet his belly, legs and tongue. Under no circumstances throw a bucket of water over your pet.

Bees and wasps

Pets and especially dogs are very curious, so when they see a wasp or a bee, there’s a good chance they will start to play. This usually doesn’t work both ways. Therefore, sooner or later, your faithful friend will be stung. This doesn’t have to be a problem because it’s not often that dogs react allergically to a sting. However, it can be very unpleasant for your furry friend. That’s why it may be useful to apply a soothing ointment. Make sure you only apply the ointment to the non-haired areas, otherwise it will be useless. It’s best to keep an eye out in case your dog does react to the sting, in which case you should of course go to the vet as soon as possible.


You can’t stop your dog or cat from running through bushes, shrubs or tall grass. They simply love it. On hot days, however, these are also ideal places to catch ticks. In most cases, ticks are not life-threatening. Although dogs are less likely to get Lyme disease than humans, it’s still important to remove ticks as soon as possible with tick tweezers. Ticks are not at all pleasant for your pet and should be removed with tick tweezers.

Wound treatment

If your dog is wounded, it’s advisable to find out whether it is a bite wound or a cut or abrasion. This is important to prevent infections.

Bite wounds:

How to care for a bite wound depends very much on the place, the location, the size and the duration of the bite.
When your furry friend gets bitten, a lot of bacteria are released into the wound. This causes the wound to become infected. When your pet has a bite wound, it’s important that you remove the hair around the wound and you dab the wound clean with a saline solution or a disinfectant. Large wounds should be covered with gauze and possibly a light bandage. When a bite wound is older than 6 hours, it can no longer be stitched up because of the danger of an abscess. Therefore, have the bite wounds checked by the vet in time.

Cuts and abrasions

With cuts and abrasions, the risk of infection is much lower, although this of course depends on the object which caused the wound. When the wound is superficial, you don’t have to have it checked immediately. However, it’s recommended to disinfect it. When the wound is deeper, it’s important that you let it stitch as soon as possible by the veterinary surgeon.
Do you notice that your dog or cat keeps licking the wound? Then be sure to cover it with gauze or use a bandage to minimise the risk of infection.

What’s in a first aid kit?

The contents of the First Aid Kit depend on the kit you buy. At Flamingo we have the First Aid Kit Basic and the First Aid Kit Premium.
The First Aid Kit Basic contains the following items:
• Basic rubber tourniquet – 1 pc
• Alcohol pads – 6 pcs
• PVC gloves – 1 pair
• Metal tweezers
• Scissors – 1 pc
• Non-woven gauze pads 5 x 5cm – 2 pcs
• PBT bandage 5cm x 4,5cm – 2pcs
• Tick tweezers
• First aid guide
• 420D nylon pouch

De Firts Aid Kit Premium  contains the following items:

• Self-adhesive bandages – 10 pcs

• Alcohol pads – 6 pcs

• Insect sting pads - 4 pcs

• Non-adhesive compress 5 x 7.6cm - 1pcs

• Non-woven gauze 7.5 x 7.5cm - 2pcs

• Gloves – 1 pair

• Triangular bandage 96 x 96 x 135cm – 1 pcs

• Scissors and mittens

• Tick tweezers

• Adhesive tape (1 pc)

• PBT bandage 5cm x 4,5cm – 1 pc

• PBT bandage 7,5 x 4,5 m – 1 pc

• Standard bandage 8 x 10cm x 4m – 1 pc

• Emergency blanket 130 x 210 cm – 1 pc

• 420D nylon bag

• Instant ice pack – 1 pc

• Disposable syringe – 1 pc

• Basic rubber tourniquet – 1 pc

• First aid guide

• Metal tweezers

• Cotton buds – 10 pcs

In a nutshell

Not every emergency is urgent. For instance, some situations require immediate attention, while others can wait. If your pet is struggling with multiple problems at the same time, it is important that you tackle the most urgent issues first.
An animal in pain may be anxious. As a result, its reactions might be unpredictable and make the injury worse. Therefore, in some situations, for both your own safety and that of the animal, it is important to properly restrain the animal in distress.
The First Aid kit contains all the necessary items to care for your pet’s injury the right way, straight away.  
No, gloves are mainly for you, to make looking after the wound as comfortable as possible. However, make sure you always disinfect your hands properly, so that no bacteria can end up in the wound and cause an infection.