First aid for pets

Prevention is the best way to keep your pet safe. If an accident does happen, knowing what to do in an emergency can make all the difference for you and your pet. Be prepared with a first aid kit for your pet.

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First aid for pets

As part of ongoing efforts to aid all animals in need, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center plays a vital role in the ASPCA's round-the-clock lifesaving efforts.

Always consult a veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for directions on how and when to use any emergency first-aid item.

You can purchase a Pet First Aid Kit at the ASPCA online store:

First Aid Kit

It is important to keep the phone number of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888)426-4435, along with that of your local vet or clinic in a prominent location. Have ready an emergency first aid kit that includes:

-A fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide, 3 percent LISP (to induce vomiting)

-A turkey baster, bulb syringe, or large medicine syringe (to squirt peroxide)

-Saline eye solution, plus artificial tear gel (to lubricate eyes after flushing)

-Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid (to bathe animal after skin contamination)

-Forceps (to remove stingers)

-A muzzle (to protect against fear- or excitement-induced biting)

-A can of your pet's favorite wet food

-A pet carrier

If your pet is poisoned:

Try to stay calm. Panic only interferes with the process of aiding your pet.

Take 30 to 60 seconds to safely collect any materials involved. This will help your local veterinarian or ASPCA toxicologist determine what poisons, if any, your pet may have been exposed to.

If you need to take your pet to a local clinic, bring the product's container with you. Also, use a sealable plastic bag to collect any material your pet may have vomited or chewed.

If your pet consumes anything you suspect might be poisonous, don't hesitate to seek emergency aid, even if your animal seems fine. "Symptoms may be hard to detect at first," says Dr. Charlotte Means, a veterinary toxicologist with the ASPCA. "Cats exposed to lilies, for example, may initially show only vague symptoms, like tiredness or drinking more water than usual. Anywhere from one to three days later, signs of kidney failure, with severe vomiting and an inability to pee, may develop. At this later stage, it's not always possible to save the animal."

Call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline at (888-426-4435). A $55 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card. Be ready with the following information:

The species, breed, age, sex, weight, and number of animals involved

The animal's symptoms

Information about the potential toxin (if you know what was involved), the amount that your pet was exposed to or ingested, and how much time has gone by since the time of exposure. Have the product container or packaging handy for reference

If your animal is having seizures, losing consciousness or unconscious, or having trouble breathing, telephone ahead and bring your pet immediately to your local veterinarian or emergency clinic. If necessary, the veterinarian on duty may call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

For more information and a wealth of pet poison prevention tips, visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center online at

Pet Health Tips

Take the time to learn what plants and foods can be harmful to pets. Keep the Animal Poison Control phone number accessible.

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