Desert Hills Animal Hospital

13811 N 7th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85022


One of the goals of this website is to provide a quick reference for pet owners should they need first aid care for their companion before they can obtain veterinary care. Listed below are some first aid tips.  These tips are NOT intended to replace veterinary care but to help you until care can be obtained.

Every home should have a first aid kit for their pets.  Listed below are the items we would recommend you stock in the kit and their uses.

Diaper- Very good absorbable material for bandaging wounds
Ace Bandage- Good for bandages
Sock- Good for bandages (large one cut for head, ear wounds)
Tape- Elasticon is best but duct tape is better than nothing!
Wood- 1 inch wide, 1/2 inch thick 1 foot long used as a splint
Roll gauze- cover wound bandages and splints

Benadryl- Liquid for small dogs  1 teaspoon for each 10 
                             pounds as often as every 8 hours
                 Tablets (50mg) 1 tab for every 50 pounds as often 
                             as every 8 hours
Aspirin-   Baby aspirin (81mg) 1 for every 10 pounds as often 
                                      as every 8 hours
                 Adult Aspirin (325 mg) 1 for every 50 pounds as 
                                      often as every 8 hours
Hydrogen Peroxide-for cleaning wounds and inducing vomiting
Peptobismol-1 tablespoon for every 25 pounds as often as every 8 hours

A dog or cat that is injured or sick can be dangerous to even their owners. Please be careful in how you handle the pet.

Dogs can be carried by placing on a blanket and getting two or more people on the corners to lift and carry. A muzzle can be made with heavy string (or even a shoe lace) around the mouth then tied behind the ears.

Cats can be wrapped in a towel. Their head can be pushed thru a hole making a secure bib. A pillowcase can be used to carry a fractious (very hostile) cat.

Wounds can be cleaned with mild soap and water. Peroxide is fine but it will slow wound healing. An over the counter antibiotic ointment (Neosporin) can be used to help prevent an infection.

Large wounds or wounds on the legs may need protection until veterinary care can be obtained. A good absorbant material to be used to cover wounds is a baby diaper. When you use elastic wraps on the body or limbs be sure not to wrap too tight as it may cause the bandage to act like a tourniquet and cause more damage.

Floppy ear wounds are always a problem. One way to provide protection is to cut the end of a pair of nylons or a tube sock and put over the head to cover the ears.

We see many limping pets that the owners fear is a fracture.  A fracture is a very traumatic event.  As a general rule a fracture will be accompanied by great deal of swelling near the area that is broken.  Most pets will put no weight at all on a broken leg.  Most fractures are very painful.

An obvious fracture of a leg needs to be protected from additional soft tissue damage. A protective splint can be used by using something rigid (piece of wood, plastic, rolled newspaper) and lightly wrapped with an ace bandage.

Many pets have allergic reactions.  The most common one is facial swelling.  Your pet will have sudden swelling of the lips, cheeks, eye lids and ears.  This allergic reaction is serious only if the swelling involves the throat area.  Make sure the pet is breathing normally.  If there is difficulty in breathing the pet MUST be seen as soon as possible.  If the breathing is fine then you can give Benadryl (See information in first aid kit), monitor closely, and seek veterinary care if not improving or getting worse.

We do not recommend giving any medication without approval by a veterinarian.  There is a dose for aspirin in the first aid kit area.  Do not give anything, especially Tylenol to cats.

This is one of the most common problems we see in pets, especially dogs.  The important factor is if the patient is drinking and seems to feel fine otherwise.  If not, then they need to be seen as soon as possible.  If the pet has diarrhea and vomiting only occasionally then you can withhold food for 24-36 hours (must still have water), and give peptobismol.  If improved then slowly switch back to regular diet.

There are times you may want to cause a pet to vomit.  Do this only at the recommendation of a veterinarian.  The only way at home is to force them to drink hydrogen peroxide.  Give 1/8-1/4 cup amounts every 3-5 minutes until vomiting.  If not vomiting after 4-5 doses then stop and seek veterinary care.

We see many ear problems especially in dogs.  If you need care before you get into a veterinarian here are a few things you can do.  If the ears are very red and the dog is scratching then you can give Benadryl.  If the ears are hot and painful aspirin might help.  If the ears are full of "stuff" you can clean it with 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water.  Pour into ear, massage, let the pet shake his head and then soak out the remainder with a cotton ball.