Jefferson Veterinary Clinic, S.C.

959 West Racine Street
Jefferson, WI 53549


First Aid For Your Pet


Recommended First Aid Kit Items

2-inch athletic tape

2-inch Vet Wrap or ace bandage


Telfa Pads (non-stick bandage pads)

Triple antibiotic ointment

Blood stop powder - for broken toenails or wounds

Digital Thermometer

Benadryl 25 mg tablets

Hydrogen Peroxide - to clean fresh wounds

Saline or Contact lens solution - to flush wounds or eyes

Pepto Bismol- for treating diarrhea in dogs only

Tweezers - to remove splinters or ticks

Activated cold packs - to apply to bumps and bruises to reduce swelling


Allergic Reactions or Insect Bites

            Sings of an allergic reaction or insect bite include swelling of muzzle or face, hives, rash, scratching and chewing at the skin. You can give Benadryl at 1 mg for 1 pound of body weight. (Example: two 25 mg tablets for a 50-pound dog.) Call a veterinarian if there is any breathing problems or extreme lethargy.



            Diarrhea is loose stool with increased frequency. Diarrhea can be caused by stress or change in diet.  Make sure your pet continues to drink water to maintain hydration. You can give your pet a bland diet such as boiled hamburger or chicken and rice. You can also give your dog Pepto Bismol at 1 teaspoon for every 20 pounds of body weight to help control the diarrhea. Pepto Bismol should not be used in cats. If your pet begins to become lethargic or diarrhea persists for more than 24 hours call your veterinarian.



Stop bleeding by applying pressure with gauze or a towel. If bleeding continues, wrap the area if possible with gauze and apply pressure by wrapping vet wrap or an ace bandage.  Once bleeding is controlled clean the area with hydrogen peroxide or saline. Wounds can be difficult to see through hair so look carefully. Once a wound is cleaned you can cover it with triple antibiotic ointment and then a telfa pad. Then keep the telfa pad in place by wrapping it with vet wrap. Contact a veterinarian as soon as you can to have the wound accessed.



            Look at the vomit and make note of any foreign material in it. If there is anything abnormal contact your veterinarian. If there is no foreign material in the vomit try resting your pet's stomach by withholding food for 12 hours and only offering small amounts of water.  Then try small amounts of a bland diet such as boiled hamburger or chicken and rice.  If vomiting persists or your pet has unproductive vomiting (retching) or abdominal distention, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.


Common Toxins

These are some common household items that can cause toxicities. Keep these items away from areas that pets have access. If your pet becomes exposed call a veterinarian to determine what should be done.

            Antifreeze: Ingestion of a small amount can be very toxic. It can cause neurologic and kidney damage. Signs include staggering, lethargy, excessive drinking and seizures.

            Chocolate: Milk chocolate from candies usually only causes GI upset. Bakers or bittersweet chocolate is much more toxic and can cause over excitement, increased heart rate and seizures.

            Foods: Common foods that can be toxic for pets are onion, garlic, grapes and raisins as well as sugar free gums containing xylitol.

            Rat Poison: Most rat poisons cause bleeding problems due to decreased blood clotting.  Vitamin K is the antidote and can be prescribe in cases of exposure.

            Tylenol (acetaminophen): Causes red blood cell and liver damage, especially in cats.

            Plants: There are many toxic plants to pets. Here is a list of the most commonly ones found in households. For a complete list go to:

                        Easter Lilly, Tiger Lilly: Kidney damage in cats and GI upset

Rhododendron: GI upset, slow heart rate and shock

Dumb cane, Dieffenbachia: Burning and irritation of the mouth

Mistletoe: GI upset and liver damage

Oleander: GI upset and heart damage

Rhubarb: Neurologic disease.

Iris: GI upset

Larkspur: GI upset and neurologic stimulation


Household Medications

Never give your pet any medications including over the counter medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin without consulting your veterinarian first. Many human medications can be toxic or could prevent your veterinarian from safely using other important medications to treat your pet.


Skunk Recipe

To remove odor after a pet is sprayed by a skunk.

            In a bucket mix:

                        1 quart 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

                        1/4 cup baking soda

                        1 teaspoon of hand safe dishwashing liquid

Stir ingredients briefly. It will begin to fizz as the hydrogen peroxide releases bubbles. Have someone hold the pet in the bathtub while you scrub in the solution with a soft brush. Rinse the pet with water.


Vital Signs

Taking a Heart Rate or Pulse:

The heartbeat of a dog or cat can be felt on the left side of their chest at the point where the elbow touches their chest. Place your hand or a stethoscope over this area and count the beats for one minute (or for 15 seconds and multiply the number by 4).


Pulses can be felt with a light touch on the inner thigh in the middle of the leg.


Normal Heart and Pulse Rates at Rest:

            Small breed dogs: 100-160 beats per minute.

            Medium to large breed dogs: 60-120 beats per minute.

            Puppies (up to 1 year old): 120-160 beats per minute.                                       Cats: 130-220 beats per minute.


Normal Breathing Rates:

            Dogs: 10-30 breaths per minute and up to 200 pants per minute

Cats: 20-30 breaths per minute. (Panting in a cat can be signs of a serious illness and requires immediate veterinary attention.)


Normal Temperature:

            Dogs: 100-102.5 F             Cats: 100-102.5 F