There’s no more scary time for a pet owner than when their beloved pet is injured. It’s hard not to panic when you see them limping, or worse, notice an open wound. Unfortunately, panicking is one of the worst things you can do: our pets can be very receptive to our moods, and seeing you raise your voice, move in fast, unpredictable movements and depart from your normal routine is likely to only add to their distress – and make getting them help more difficult.
With that in mind, today we’re looking at what you can do if you have an injured pet, and how to get them the help they need.
The first thing to do is try to find out exactly what’s wrong. If you’re able to tell your vet that your pet has specifically been bitten, rather than cut for example, they’ll be able to give you more specific advice and assess the situation more accurately.
Try not to handle your pet more than necessary – many animals, when they’re injured or sick, want to find somewhere they feel safe and won’t be touched or interfered with. If they’re licking their wounds, try to let them be as much as you can.
It’s not always easy to tell what’s wrong: most pets carry old instincts from their ancestors’ days in the wild telling them that showing weakness can be deadly. You need to look for more oblique evidence of pain. This can include heightened aggression, loss of appetite, awkward movement and lack of energy.
If your pet is behaving strangely and you’re not sure what it means then getting some online vet advice might be a good idea. An online vet can assess your pet over a video call and look at photos you send, and let you know whether what you’re seeing is something serious or more benign in nature.
In most cases, the best thing you can do is get your pet to the vet: they can assess how badly your pet is injured and what sort of treatment is needed. The risk of infection from a wound means it’s impossible to be over-cautious.
There are things you shouldn’t attempt by yourself: if you think your pet may have broken a bone, don’t try to set or splint it: it’s too easy to cause more damage and pain without actually helping. If your pet is bleeding, then trying to clean the wound can likewise distress and hurt them further – it’s best to leave interventions like this to the vet.
One thing you can do if your pet has an open wound is to try to apply pressure to stem the bleeding: our pets are smaller and more susceptible to blood loss than we are. Be gentle, and if your pet really doesn’t want to be touched, back off and give them space. Focus on getting them to the vet without further trauma so the experts can take over.