Pet First Aid: What You Should Know
We adore our Fluffy Friends, and as much as possible, we want to give them the best life.
As fur parents, it is our responsibility to know basic pet first aid in order to secure and stabilise them until they can receive medical attention from pet care professionals.
As most parents can spot the symptoms of an illness or injury in their kid and can provide comfort, so should pet owners.
Remember: The quick action of a pet parent could make a difference during a pet emergency situation!
First Aid Tips
First aid is the initial care provided in a medical emergency.
Its objective is to (1) preserve life, (2) minimise discomfort and pain, and (3) reduce the potential for long-term impairment or deformity.
The first things that you need to know are the following:
- Contact information of your veterinarian or a nearby emergency pet centre. It's also a good idea to know all the 24-hour veterinary clinics locally.
- Your pet's medical records that list their health issues (if any)
- Your pet's health insurance policy and the provider's contact details.
- Contact information for local poison centres.
Five Musts During an Emergency
- Keep calm and scan the area for potential dangers to you or your pet.
Owner and pet safety should always be a priority.
- Keep your dog as still, warm, and quiet as possible (aside from heat stroke cases), especially if there is trauma, neurological issues, or broken limbs.
Keep calm and scan the area for potential dangers to you or your pet.
- Get in touch with your local veterinary hospital, explain the issue, and get specific first aid advice.
Get assistance from a family member if you need to transfer or transport an injured pet.
Use an appropriate container, such as a sturdy cardboard box or a carrier for small dogs or cats.
However, don't force an injured pet through a small opening.
A larger dog or cat should be placed on a temporary stretcher constructed of some stiff material, such as wood.
To gently transfer to the carrier, crate, or stretcher, carefully position your dog on a blanket or coat.
- Take your injured best friend to a vet immediately.
Tips on How To Calm or Restrain a Hurt Pet
Even the friendliest animal may become hostile under stressful situations.
While most frightened dogs can quiet down in response to a soothing voice, you should exercise vigilance when approaching or petting injured animals.
Securing every rescue team member working to help an injured animal is crucial.
The following are some examples of restraints that can guarantee the security of both humans and pets:
- Muzzling: Use a leash, belt, sock, rope, or strap to make a makeshift muzzle.
In the absence of injury or obstruction to the nose, animals can breathe through their nostrils even while muzzled.
Wrapping: Uncontrollable pets can be wrapped in a towel or blanket.
The trachea shouldn't be constricted, and the head exposed.
- Immobilising: Lay the animal on a board and fasten it with straps or cords if you suspect spinal injuries.
Focus mainly on immobilising the neck and head.
Five Common Emergencies
Apply a firm bandage to the area after pressing down on it with your fingers or palm to help stop external bleeding.
Wait till the bleeding has stopped before worrying about disinfecting the wound.
Visit an emergency veterinarian as soon as you can.
The vet may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.
If you suspect internal bleeding caused by your pet falling or road traffic accidents, consult your vet immediately.
Your pet may exhibit the following symptoms: a painful or enlarged abdomen, blood in the stool, vomit, urine, or nose discharge, pale gums, difficulty breathing, weakness, or collapse.
Internal bleeding is very dangerous and needs critical care.
Any fractures need to be treated right away.
Pets will hold a broken or dislocated leg in an abnormal position.
You might see lameness, discomfort, and swelling.
Your fur baby should be moved as little as possible throughout the trip to the clinic.
On open fractures, avoid applying ointments or antiseptics.
- Heat Stroke
Inadequate ventilation in kennel spaces, overexertion on hot or warm days, and leaving pets in cars are all risk factors for heatstroke.
You might observe panting and drooling, skin that is too hot to the touch, loss of coordination, vomiting, and fainting.
Don't submerge your pet in cold water. Instead, use cool water, ice packs, or damp towels to keep them cool.
As soon as they start to cool off, offer small amounts of water to drink.
Get in touch with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Vomiting or Diarrhoea
Vomiting and diarrhoea are typical symptoms of digestive issues.
Various conditions can bring them on, including gastrointestinal illnesses, poisoning, toxic food consumption, liver or kidney failure, and nervous system diseases.
Diarrhoea or vomiting can be fatal if not treated as soon as possible.
Your pet should have access to water.
Call your veterinarian and discuss any factors contributing to diarrhoea and vomiting, such as access to medications, diet changes, toxins, and other potential causes.
Pets may be choking if they cough violently, gag, drool, hold their mouth open, or paw at their mouths.
Never put your fingers in their mouths to avoid pushing the object in or getting bitten.
Try hitting your pet between the shoulder blades or giving them several fast, squeezing compressions on each side of his ribcage to try and move the object.
Call your vet as soon as you can.
Related: What To Do if Your Dog Has Anxiety
Pet First Aid Kit
The last thing you should do during a pet emergency is look for supplies.
Putting together a first aid care pack for pets can ensure you are ready in case of an emergency.
Every six months, check your dog's or cat's first aid box to see if any replacements or upgrades are required.
We must stress that pet first aid is never a substitute for veterinary care.
Here are ten essential items you should always keep in your pet first aid kit:
Wearing gloves reduces your and your pet's chances of infection.
Gloves can avoid unintentionally contaminating an animal's wound.
Store several pairs of gloves in your kit.
Thermometer and Lubricant
Apply a water-based lubricant or petroleum jelly on the thermometer's end.
Have a companion distract and gently control the pet.
Lift the tail just enough to insert about a half inch of the metal tip of the thermometer into your pet's rectum.
The thermometer should have a minimum reading of 105 degrees Fahrenheit or 40.5 degrees Celsius.
Tweezers, blunt-tipped scissors, or multi-tool
Removing a sharp object from a pet's skin with just your fingertips can be challenging.
The safer and more hygienic option is to use tweezers.
Scissors are helpful for various tasks, including bandaging wounds and shaving close to them.
- Leash or Nylon for Muzzling
Gauze or Bandages and Adhesive Tape
A bandage or gauze plays a crucial role in supporting and preventing contamination of the wound.
Ensure the dressings are secure enough to prevent slipping but not too tight to restrict blood flow.
Sterile Saline or Contact Lens Solution
A saline solution can help in dissolving antibiotics and other medications.
It can also clean tissue surfaces and mucous membranes.
Still, consult your vet before applying or feeding your pet any medication or solution.
- Large Towel or Pet Blanket
Consult with your vet about what medications you need to include in your pet first aid kit.
Remember that human meds should not be given to cats or dogs unless prescribed by your veterinarian.
Take note of the expiration dates.
The chance of infection will be reduced if you clean your pet's wound with antiseptic wipes.
If your pet is hurt, they'll be counting on you for your basic first aid skills.
Knowing basic pet first aid is always valuable, as every second counts in a pet emergency.
It also pays to get certifications to know about the necessary skills you can use during pet first aid.
You can enrol in an online course from the Red Cross or other organisations for a pet CPR certification.
You can also download the American Red Cross pet first aid app for additional reference.
Finally, don't forget to keep your Fluffy Friend comfortable during recovery with their anti-anxiety bed.
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