Need to know: pet emergencies. Blue Cross offers owners Top Five First Aid Tips

Need to know: pet emergencies. Blue Cross offers owners Top Five First Aid Tips

As summer approaches, pets will be out and about with us and may be more likely to get themselves into tricky situations where they need our help to give first aid before getting to a vet. 

Common emergencies include: bee stings, broken bones or eating toxic plants such as daffodils and lilies.

National pet charity Blue Cross is offering owners essential first aid tips for pets to prevent tragedy when the worst happens. 
Seb Prior, Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Blue Cross says: “It is vital for pet owners to know what they should do to help their pet in an emergency – in some case it can mean life or death. Once owners give first aid they must also contact their vet for advice, act quickly and never give pets human medicine as it could be fatal.”

Top Five First Aid Tips

1.    Heatstroke - Put the dog somewhere cool with a draught out of direct sunlight. Wet the coat with tepid/cool water (not cold water) and go the vet. You can offer a small amount of water but don’t delay going to the vet. 

2.    Cuts and bleeds – Most cuts are best left undressed, but if there is continued bleeding a bandage maybe needed. To put a bandage on you must apply a layer that won’t stick to the wound such as a clean towel or cloth, add a layer of padding such as cotton wool to protect the wound, secure in place with a bandage that isn’t too tight and get to a vet as soon as possible.

3.    Poisoning - Some of the common symptoms of poisoning are staggering; vomiting; dribbling; collapsing; and difficulty breathing. Call the vet immediately. Take any packaging or plant cuttings with you to the vet. Do not make your pet vomit unless your vet tells you to do so. Rabbits do not have the capability to vomit.

4.    Coat contamination – Use an Elizabethan collar, if you have one, to prevent them from licking it. For smaller animals and rabbits, wrap them in a towel to stop them from getting to the affected area. Never use turpentine or paint remover on your pet. Contact the vet.

5.    Stings - Pull out the sting if possible by pressing below the poison sac. Soothe with ice and contact the vet for advice. Watch the animal carefully because if the sting is in the mouth or throat, it may swell and interfere with breathing.

Notes to Editors
•    Images and videos are available, please contact the press office.

•    Sick, injured and homeless pets have relied on Blue Cross since 1897. Abandoned or unwanted, ill or injured, pets turn to us for help every year. Our doors are always open to them, and with your support, they always will be.
•    Each year, thousands of cats, dogs, small pets and horses turn to our animal hospitals, clinics and rehoming services for treatment and to find them the happy homes they deserve.
•    For more information, please visit 

Blue Cross is part of the Veterinary Animal Welfare Coalition; a group of the UK’s leading veterinary organisations and charities delivering veterinary services, which includes the British Veterinary Association (BVA), British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), Blue Cross, British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS), PDSA, RSPCA and USPCA. The Coalition was formed to meet the recommendations in the Vet Futures and VN Futures project and aims to deliver awareness raising and behaviour change communication campaigns, based around responsible pet ownership and the five welfare needs as outlined in the UK’s Animal Welfare Acts.

Media contact
Sam Murray, Media Officer 020 7932 4070 / [email protected]
Media Team, 0300 777 1950 / [email protected] 

— Page last updated 24/09/2021