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First aid for bleeding

photo of rabbit, cat and dog

Overview

  • If your pet loses a lot of blood, they may go into shock, collapse, or even die.
  • If your pet is bleeding heavily, find where the blood is coming from, apply pressure and call your vet.
  • Call your vet immediately if you can’t control your pets bleeding or you think they might be bleeding internally.

What to do if see your pet is bleeding

Step one: Find where the blood is coming from

  • Check your pet for wounds, bleeding and bruises.
  • Go slowly and carefully, even the friendliest pet can scratch or bite if they are painful. If necessary use a muzzle or towel to protect yourself, stop if you think you might get hurt.
  • If your pet has collapsed, contact you vet immediately.

Step two: Apply pressure

  • Once you have found where the blood is coming from, apply pressure to the bleed by holding a clean cloth or bandage over it.
  • Don’t remove the bandage to see if the bleeding has stopped -this is likely to disrupt any clots and cause the bleeding to start again.

Step three: Contact your vet

  • Phone your vet - they will tell you what to do next and book you an emergency appointment if needed.
  • If you need to move your pet, do it carefully and avoid touching their injuries.

What to do if you think your pet is bleeding internally

Step one: Check for symptoms of internal bleeding

  • If your pet is bleeding internally you may notice symptoms such as:
    • Weakness/ collapse
    • Cold feet/tail/ears
    • Bruising
    • Pale gums
    • ifficulty breathing
    • A swollen belly.

Step two: Call your vet

  • Call your vet immediately - internal bleeding is often life threatening.
Published: March 2020

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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst