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A Vet’s Step-by-Step Guide on How to Take Care of an Injured Stray Animal

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Dr. Swathi Rao, a senior veterinarian at Maruthi pet care clinic in Bangalore, tells all about the most important things to keep in mind when rescuing an animal.

As we all know, Bangaloreans are known to be selfless in the field of Animal welfare. And a major portion of that involves rescue and rehab missions. Be it a wet dog stuck in a ditch or a kitten struck by lightning, the first few hours post rescue are the most crucial.

Primary first aid in any animal involves careful assessment of injuries and a decision to be made as to how best to transport the animal to a veterinary facility. Any animal rescue should first keep in mind the simple rules-

1. Do not get hurt yourself. There is no glory in not being able to help other animals just because one landed you in the hospital.

2. Be prepared for the worst. Carry muzzles and blankets and thick mitten gloves always when you head out.


The Better India & The Care Shelter have partnered together to bring an animal rescue van to Bangalore. If you #LovePawsitivity, support this campaign.

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3. Remember – they are scared, more than you are and will attack if they feel threatened.

Use soft monotonous voices around the injured animal while trying to rescue them. Food usually helps in cases with dogs, Always carry wet food pouches or a packet of milk to coax the dog to come nearer. May not always work with cats!!

Source: Pixabay

4. Be aware of temperature effects.

Just because humans gets sprayed with water on the face when they faint; DOES NOT mean animals can be too. Unfortunately this happens more than often. Dog who are bought in drenched have body temps of below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which means their bodily functions begin to shut down.

5. Same goes with overheating.

A stressed animal cannot regulate its own temperature very well. If the ambient temperature of the area from where you rescued it was above 29-30 degrees and the animal looks flushed or is breathing open mouth, try to wrap the dog in a thin wet cloth while getting to the hospital. BUT PLEASE be careful while assessing the same with cats as they are doubly sensitive to stress and temperature changes!

6. The basic ABC rule of first aid does apply to animals. For those who don’t know it –

A: Airway; Make sure the dog/cat has a clear airway to breathe. Clogged up nostrils or a mouth full of mud can immediately cause them to choke.

B: Breathing; Once the airway is clear, look for even full lung breaths. If not, try blowing into the nostrils or mouth as a way of additional forced air.

C: Circulation; Most animals are in shock when rescued. IF POSSIBLE, and only if there is no danger of getting bitten, Open the lip upwards to expose the gums. Press one finger on the gums to check how quickly the colour returns back to the gums. About 2-5 seconds is normal, more than that try to stabilise and rush to a facility. Warm the animal if too cold OR put a cold pack if too warm while you transport the animal

Scenario – Broken Bones:

Any broken bone needs to be stabilised first before you try to pick up the animal. For dogs, any external fracture can be held in place with a simple plank or some cleaned out branches to use as a splint with some straight cut strips of cloth/gauze. Remember to muzzle the dog first as this procedure is VERY PAINFUL.

For cats- just wrap the whole cat in a warm towel and place in a big basket. Do not try to touch the broken limb.

Scenario- paralysed, not moving dog:

Spread a large bedsheet/blanket on the ground parallel to the backbone of the animal and roll the animal on to it. If you have someone with you grab opposite ends of the sheet to make a stretcher and the transport without actually touching the animal. If you are alone, ALWAYS pick the animal from the backbone side.

Scenario- Electrocution

Mostly happens with cats not so often with dogs. Be aware that an electrocuted animal is in SEVERE pain and unimaginable distress, and rescuing such an animal could be challenging if the animal is not known to you.

Wrap in plain cotton cloth/bedsheet and rush to the nearest vet. You may offer water or wet food while in travel.


The Better India & The Care Shelter have partnered together to bring an animal rescue van to Bangalore. If you #LovePawsitivity, support this campaign.

Unable to view the above button? Click here


All in all rescuing animals needs to be a patient, compassionate and well thought-out activity. Do not rush into anything without carefully calculating risks for yourself and the affected animal. If possible get a veterinarian to the site or on a video call so they can direct your actions.

We can make this city theirs as much as ours. Let’s work together to give them the life each living being deserves- of Dignity, Safety and Love.

Featured image credit: Pixabay

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