Attempt first aid only if you have specific instructions from your veterinarian to do so. Be sure you can handle your animal without risking your own safety. CALL YOUR VETERINARIAN FIRST.

When your pet is injured or in pain, he may not recognize you. He may try to run away, bite you or scratch you so you must restrain him.

ACTION: Try calling your pet. If this fails, try to place a blanket over him and put him on a leash. In all cases, keep a catís feet covered! Next, see if your pet is breathing. If so, muzzle him and check for bleeding and signs of shock or overheating. Do not muzzle if dog is showing signs of difficulty in breathing or panting heavy. Do not try to muzzle a cat. If there is an irregularity in breathing pattern-either too fast or too slow or both, remove the collar and clear the nose and throat of any obstructions. Call your veterinarian at once. If your pet is not breathing at all, you may have to try artificial or mouth-to-nose breathing.

Artificial respiration: Lay your pet on his side and pull the tongue forward. Pull the head and neck forward. Place your hands over the animalís ribs, push down on the chest and release.

Warning: Do not press too hard. You might damage the animalís ribs.

Mouth to nose breathing: Lay the dog on his side. Use a clean cloth to remove any blood, saliva or vomit in the nose or mouth. Pull the tongue forward. Give the dog 8 to 10 breaths of air per minute. Stop when he begins to breathe on his own. If the dog vomits or makes a rattling type sound, lift the back legs slightly above the level of the head to help drain the fluids. (Do not attempt if there is a back injury).

For Cat: Lay on side and remove fluids as with dog. Pull the tongue forward and close his mouth so that the tongue is between the front teeth. Place your mouth over the nose and blow 2 to 5 seconds or until you see the chest rise. Rest 2 or 3 seconds and repeat.

Shock is a life-threatening emergency. It can be difficult to recognize because it may occur hours after an accident. When shock occurs, it can do great damage to the cardiovascular system and brain. Consult your veterinarian immediately.

Signs of shock: Rapid or feeble heartbeat; rapid, shallow breathing; pale pink or white gums; body cold to touch; confusion or unconsciousness.

Action: Do not waste any time getting your pet to the vet. On the way, be sure to do the following:

If your pet is bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or gauze pad. When the pad becomes saturated, do not remove it; instead, put another one on top of it. Anchor the pad with tape or gauze strips, and continue pressure while on the way to the veterinarian.

Mouth and nose bleeding: Place a cold compress or ice pack on the bleeding area. A minor nosebleed should stop within 5 minutes. See your veterinarian if bleeding continues for a longer period of time.

Vomiting blood: This is an indication that your pet may be injured internally. Contact your veterinarian immediately.

Superficial cuts: Clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide and apply compression. If bleeding continues, contact your veterinarian.

Signs of poisoning: Salivating, retching, vomiting, weakness, bleeding, muscle twitching, seizures & collapse.

Action: Contact your veterinarian immediately. If the veterinarian is not available, call the local poison control center for assistance. If your pet is licking his coat, he could be ingesting the poisonous substance. Hold your pet down and wash his coat. Your veterinarian may instruct you to make your pet vomit. If so, use hydrogen peroxide undiluted and a childrenís bulb syringe.

Warning: Never make your pet vomit if he has ingested any caustic solutions, such as lye. These will burn him a second time as they com e up.

Contact your veterinarian: Heatstroke can lead to shock, convulsions, brain damage or death.

Causes for heatstroke: Leaving your pet in a hot or unventilated car, cage, room or outside without shade.

Signs: Thick, stringy saliva, panting, noisy respiration, tongue hanging out, collapse, or unconsciousness.

Action: Douse your pet with a lot of cold water. Use a garden hose or place him in a bathtub and run cold water over him. A cold compress to the head will reduce the chance of brain damage.

See your veterinarian immediately. Most objects swallowed must be surgically removed.