With the summer months quickly approaching, our pets will be more active than ever, and knowing some simple first aid tips may be the difference that save’s your pet’s life before you get to the Vet!
Tip 1: Create Your Own Pet First Aid Kit
As a pet owner, it is a good idea to carry a first aid kit for your pet in your home and car so that you can give basic care immediately. Make sure the kit includes your vet’s phone number and the phone number of an emergency or after-hours vet just in case, and remember to always contact your vet if your pet is injured or ill and err on the side of caution. If you don’t know a quick call is the best course of action!
- Gauze for wrapping wounds or muzzling an injured animalAdhesive tape (the medical kind for wrapping bandages)Non-stick bandages or gauze padsTowels and ragsHydrogen peroxide.A large eyedropper or needle-less syringe for administering medication.Stock Milk of Magnesia or activated charcoal to absorb poison, but do not use any treatment for poison until you’ve spoken to a vet..
Tip 2: Getting a Sick or Wounded Animal to the Vet
Pet’s can’t talk to us, and they may not understand that you are trying to get them help when they are injured. If your pet can walk, let him walk to the car. If your pet is injured and cannot walk, you can make a stretcher from a door, board, blanket or car floor mat to get him to the car and into the vet’s office.
If your pet is agitated (keep in mind that pets in pain may bite), you may need to muzzle him in order to be able to transportation your furry friend to the vet and they may not like this, but it may be a necessity.
Here’s how to correctly muzzle a pet:
Use a strip of soft cloth or a necktie; you can also use rope or a nylon stocking. You should wrap the muzzle around the nose, then under the chin, and tie behind the ears. Never muzzle a pet that is vomiting.
Tip 3: What to do if your pet is bleeding
Apply direct pressure until the bleeding stops. Hold the pressure continually for at least 10 minutes; don’t release every couple of minutes to check the bleeding. Call your vet and get your pet to medical attention as soon as possible. Do not use a tourniquet.
Tip 4: What if my pet stops breathing?
If your pet stops breathing, first check to see if he is choking on something. Put him on a firm surface, such as the floor or a table, on his right side (left side up). Check for a heartbeat by putting your ear to his chest where his elbow touches his chest.
If you hear a heartbeat, but he’s not breathing, close his mouth and breathe directly into his nose (not the mouth) until his chest expands. Repeat 12 to 15 times per minute.
If you do not hear a heartbeat, you will need to apply heart massage along with breaths. Your pet’s heart is located in the lower half of his chest, behind the elbow of his left front leg. You will need to place one hand below the heart, the other hand over the heart, and compress gently. For cats and other small animals, use the thumb and forefinger of one hand.
For large animals, compress the heart 80-120 times per minute, and for smaller animals 100-150 per minute. Alternate breathing and heart massage.
Understand that resuscitation is often not successful, but certainly try, and have someone contact your vet and get your animal there as quickly as possible.
Tip 5: What if my pet is choking?
A choking animal may bite out of panic, so make sure that you protect yourself and the pet by holding him in a blanket or other cover. If your pet can still breathe some, keep him calm and get him to the vet as quickly as possible.
Look into your pet’s mouth to see if you can spot the obstruction, and try to clear the airway using pliers or tweezers. If you can’t pull the object out without pushing it further in, get to the vet immediately.
If you cannot pull the object out, place your hands on both sides of his rib cage and apply firm, sharp (quick) pressure, or put him on his side and use the palm of your hand to strike the side of his rib cage several times. Keep doing this until the object comes free or you arrive at the vet’s office.
Tip 6: Dealing with Diarrhea & Vomiting
If your pet has diarrhea, withhold food (only, not water) for 12-24 hours. If your pet is straining, keep in mind that he may be sore from diarrhea. Contact your vet; don’t try to solve this on your own, as you can make the situation worse.
If your pet is vomiting, hold back food for 12 to 24 hours. When the vomiting stops, give her ice cubes for two hours, then gradually increase food and water over 24 hours. If the vomiting is severe, or if you see traces of blood, contact your vet immediately.
Tip 7: What about Poisoning?
If your pet swallows something toxic, write down what and how much they swallowed, and call your vet or poison control center immediately. Do not induce vomiting. If your pet gets something on her skin or fur, like oil or paint, call your vet to receive instructions on what to do.
Get to the Vet: Remember, you should always take an ill or injured pet to the vet, but taking preliminary first aid measures on the way may save your pet.