All pet owners should have a basic knowledge of first aid in order to recognize emergency situations and temporarily manage them until the pet can be taken to a veterinarian. First aid, however, should never be used to replace professional care. If you do encounter a sudden illness or injury in your pet, don't panic. If the situation is critical, devote your attention to saving the life. Once stabilized, you can then treat any less serious problems. Always approach injured or ill animals with caution and a reassuring voice. As soon as possible, consult your veterinarian for advice and an appointment. Try to minimize the pet's stress and take care when transporting or moving the dog or cat. The two most important principles of first aid are a well-stocked first-aid kit and a book that clearly outlines emergency procedures. As there are a wide variety of emergency situations and treatments, a reference guide can ensure you give your dog or cat the proper care needed. For more information on pet first aid, consult a veterinarian in your area.