Pet First Aid Tips That Every Pet Parent Should Know



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No pet parent ever wants their four-legged friend to be uncomfortable. Whether it’s hurting themselves while playing fetch or showing signs of discomfort, being prepared is half the battle. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late!

Knowing how to treat any traumas your pet may face is essential to taking good care of them in those worst-case scenarios. Believe it or not, pets often face a list of common traumas, such as lacerations or blunt force trauma, ocular damage, sprains, bee stings, acute gastrointestinal (GI) upset, and more.

In these instances, the last thing you want to do is Google things frantically or call your vet in a panic. So, we rounded up everything you need to know to provide your pets with the best possible first-aid care in case of an emergency.

General tips for providing good pet first aid

First and foremost, breathe. Accidents and emergencies happen. As scary as they are for you, it is likely ten times scarier for your pet if they observe you in fear. You can only help your little one if you’re calm. Breathe deeply 3-5 times to help settle your nerves so you can assist your pet.

Next, make your pet as comfortable as possible while you grab the first aid kit. If you are in your home, you can ensure your furry friend is in a familiar space and not left alone for too long. If not, blankets and pee pads can be used for both comfort and cleanliness.

Lastly, set out your first aid materials in order of when you’ll need it. You will not want to waste time finding necessary supplies or digging through all your essentials when you are trying to administer first aid care.

| For pet-specific first aid resources, read our articles about First Aid Tips for Cats and First Aid Tips for Dogs.

Things to include in your pet first aid kit

Much like the first aid kits supplied in your vehicle, you’ll want to create a custom first aid kit for your furry friend. Compiling these essentials in one place will ensure you are prepared for any of the common traumas your pet may experience.

Here is everything you need to create a pet first aid kit:


Any and all information about your pet’s medical history is extremely valuable. Particularly in instances outside your home, documentation is great for any veterinary professionals on the scene who may be able to help in case of more extensive trauma.

You should be sure to collect copies of:

  • Patient information (name, age, species, sex)
  • Medical condition(s)
  • Medication and supplement lists
  • Regular veterinarian’s name & contact information

Saline Eye Solution

A plain saline solution is a great first aid item, particularly for any ocular discomfort or lacerations. Saline solutions act as a helpful cleansing agent to help flush away any dirt or dust in your pet’s eyes or wounds.

Saline eyes solutions are also gentle, so you don’t have to worry about anything further hurting your pet. Simply avoid any contact lens solution labeled as an enzymatic or cleaning solution.

The same goes for any first-aid material containing hydrogen peroxide. This solution is likely to cause more harm than good. When applied to a larger wound, hydrogen peroxide can seep in between tissue layers and cause long-term damage.

Wraps & Cloths

In many situations, you will need cleaning solutions or bandages. There are many materials that can be used, so we recommend stocking up on several to ensure that you and your pet can be prepared in the worst-case scenario.

Common materials for wraps and cloths include:

  • Soft cloths (such as a cut-up t-shirt)
  • No-stick pads
  • Cling gauze
  • Cotton padding
  • Zonas tape
  • Self-adhesive bandage
  • Blankets
  • Pee pads

Whether your pet experiences cuts and scrapes, sprains, or even GI upset from an “accident,” these materials can help in a variety of ways.

Essentials Oil Kit

Aromatherapy is fantastic for pets. They can help improve comfort and in some cases, even assist with specific benefits. A small essential oil kit from a reputable brand is a great extra addition to your pet first aid kit.

Our licensed veterinarians here at Canna Companion recommend lavender, clove, peppermint, and ginger essential oils. You can find kits from brands like Mountain Rose Herbs, NOW, doTerra, and Animal EO.

Pet CBD Supplements

If your pet doesn’t respond well to strong smells as with essential oils, CBD supplements can be extremely helpful to provide temporary relief. This can be especially helpful for anxiousness that results from any stressful situation and can help you provide better care for your furry friend while also helping them feel better!

CBD and hemp oil for dogs and cats can help support your pet while you administer first aid. Canna Companion is one of the only veterinarian-formulated pet CBD supplements on the market, meaning our products are backed by an oath to protect your pet above all.

Common pet traumas and how to provide proper first aid

As much as we would like to protect our pets from any and all harm, occasionally, they may run into some type of trauma or discomfort. Luckily, many common pet traumas can be easily treated by a well-stocked pet first aid kit – all you need to do is know how to administer proper care.


Pets most often get lacerations on the paw or lower leg. This common pet trauma can be caused by accidents involving sharp objects, running through thorn bushes or sharp branches outdoors, or even scratching excessively due to skin irritation or allergies.

If this happens, make your pet comfortable and then prepare your supplies. You’ll need:

  • Saline solution
  • Lavender and clove essential oils
  • Non-stick pads
  • Cling gauze
  • Zonas tape

It is important to promptly treat lacerations in pets to prevent infection and promote healing. If your pet has a laceration, you should:

  1. Use saline solution to quickly clean the wound of visible debris, dabbing gently with a soft rag.
  2. Apply 1-2 drops each of lavender and clove essential oils on the wound. These essential oils help improve comfort and reduce microbial load. (Note that clove oil essential may sting for a few seconds before it numbs the area.)
  3. Cover the wound with a non-stick pad.
  4. Holding the pad in place with cling gauze, place a single piece of Zonas tape ¾ around the bandage.
  5. Place another piece of Zonas tape ¾ around the top of the bandage to secure the whole thing (¾ surround prevents accidentally cutting off circulation).

Blunt Trauma

Pets often run into blunt trauma on the head, shoulder, hips, or even tail. This could be caused by tumbling, falling, or being hit by an object during playtime activities. Blunt trauma can also be a cause of lacerations in pets, especially if the force is strong enough to tear or break the skin, so be sure to assess for open wounds and clean as needed.

For this, you will need an ice pack. You can use a sports gel pack, refrigerated or frozen, or a bag of frozen peas (or a similar item from the freezer).

  1. Examine your pet for lacerations and provide care as needed.
  2. Place a covered ice pack (you can use a soft rag or hand towel) over the blunt trauma site to reduce swelling for 10-20 minutes. (More than 20 minutes can harm tissues).
  3. For severe swelling keep gentle pressure over the site on the way to the hospital.

It is important to seek veterinary care if your pet has experienced extreme blunt trauma, as internal injuries may not be immediately visible and can be life-threatening if left untreated.


Pets often experience sprains in the back legs. This is because the most common cause of sprains in pets is physical activity or exercise that involves sudden or strenuous movements, such as jumping, running, or playing fetch. This can lead to the stretching or tearing of ligaments or tendons in the affected area.

To treat a sprain in your pet, follow the same instructions as a laceration, minus the wound cleaning and essential oils.

  1. Add a layer of cotton padding and a loosely-applied self-adhesive wrap to help stabilize the affected area.
  2. Holding the cotton pad in place with cling gauze, place a single piece of Zonas tape ¾ around the bandage.
  3. Place another piece of Zonas tape ¾ around the top of the bandage to secure the whole thing (¾ surround prevents accidentally cutting off circulation).

Another option is to simply use an ice pack to help reduce inflammation and make your pet rest. It is important to prevent overexertion during physical activity and to provide your pet with adequate rest and recovery time after exercise to prevent sprains and other injuries.

Ocular Damage

Some of the most common causes of ocular damage include trauma to the eye, such as getting hit or scratched infections, and allergies. This type of damage can affect the cornea, iris, or other structures of the eye and potentially cause long-term damage.

In case of ocular trauma, be prepared with a saline solution and a soft rag.

Just as your own eyes are sensitive to foreign bodies such as an eyelash or speck of dust, your pet will likely be showing clear signs of discomfort, such as pawing at their face.

  1. Assess the affected eye and wash it with a saline solution.
  2. In case of lacerations, use a non-stick pad and soft rag to hold pressure on the ocular lacerations while on the way to the hospital.

It is important to seek professional care immediately if you suspect that your pet has ocular damage, such as a laceration. Early treatment can prevent further damage and improve the chances of a successful recovery.

Bee Sting

Bee stings can sometimes be difficult to detect in your pet if they are not allergic. A bee sting can cause localized swelling, redness, pain, and itching in the affected area. Unfortunately, pets can be just as allergic to bee stings as humans are, meaning some pets may experience swelling in other areas of the body, difficulty breathing, and even anaphylactic shock.

If your four-legged friend experiences a bee sting, you’ll need:

  • Credit card
  • Lavender and clove essential oils
  • Soft cloth or paper towels
  • Ice pack

If your pet is stung by a bee, it is important to remove the stinger as soon as possible, as this can continue to release venom into the body. To treat a bee sting in your pet:

  1. Use a credit card to remove the stinger from your pet.
  2. Apply lavender and clove essential oils.
  3. Use a covered ice pack for 10 minutes.

If swelling persists and/or respiratory difficulty is seen, seek emergency care immediately.

Acute GI Upset

Acute gastrointestinal upset is often the cause of dietary changes. In most cases, this simply means that your pet had something they are not used to eating, such as table scraps, garbage, or foreign objects. This can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites can also cause gastrointestinal upset in pets. Common examples include Salmonella and E. coli, which can occur through contaminated food or water, or through contact with infected animals or their feces.

Unlike other common pet traumas, GI upset can come from a wide range of unseen sources. Therefore, it is important to seek veterinary care to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

  1. If you can find what your pet ate – whether it was vomited up, obviously chewed up, or suspected – bag it and bring it to the hospital.
  2. Place a drop or two of ginger and peppermint essential oils on the pet’s abdomen or collar. These oils are highly soothing to the GI tract.

It’s important to note that these are general pet first-aid tips, and may not be appropriate for all types of traumas. If you’re ever unsure about how to provide first aid for your pet, or if their condition seems serious, please seek professional veterinary care right away.

Next steps

It can be stressful to see your pet in pain or discomfort. However – and this can not be stressed enough – the more calm you are, the better care you can provide. Continue to remain calm as you assist your pet.

Once you’ve given some first aid, give one to two doses of pet CBD oil in the labeled amounts by mouth to maintain comfort and reduce anxiousness. Canna Companion’s pet CBD supplements are all transparently labeled with charts that guide you on how to best administer CBD or hemp oil based on your pet’s size.

If first aid was enough to support your furry friend, let them rest and recover comfortably before returning to normal activity.

If the situation requires more attention, call the hospital or emergency room, and let them know what happened, what first aid was administered, how the pet feels after the first aid, and any other pertinent information. Then, get the car keys and load up your pet!

For more guidance on how to use CBD supplements for pets, schedule a free consultation with our licensed veterinarian team.

All Canna Companion Blogs are approved by veterinary professionals including the product development veterinarians.

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