First aid for an electric shock in pets

isolated dog cat and rabbits

Overview

  • Electric shocks can cause burns, organ damage and death.
  • Electric shocks most often happen when pets chew electric cables.
  • All pets that have had an electric shock should be checked by a vet because there may be internal/delayed injuries that are not obvious at first.

What to do if your pet is electrocuted?

Stop the shock

  • If your pet is still being electrocuted, do not approach them until you have switched the power source off - electricity is as dangerous for you as your pet.
  • If you can’t reach the power switch, turn the main fuse box off.
  • If you can’t turn the power off, try using a non-conducting pole (such as a wooden broom) to separate your pet from the live wire. Never use anything metal to move your pet.
  • Be particularly careful if the area around your pet is wet - water conducts electricity.

Check your pet

  • Once the power is off check your pet’s heartbeat and breathing.
  • If they have stopped breathing, start CPR and ring your vet immediately.
  • If they are breathing, check your pet for other injuries and burns (especially in their mouth).
  • Wrap your pet up to keep them warm.

Call your vet

  • Call your vet for advice.
  • All pets that have had an electric shock should be checked by a vet because there may be internal/delayed injuries that are not obvious to begin with.
Published: March 2020

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

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst