According to the American Red Cross, April has been declared Pet First Aid Awareness Month. This is a time when pet owners everywhere should review emergency procedures and make plans ahead of time, in case of emergencies. As the weather warms up, many pets are taken outdoors more frequently and the risk of injury increases. Here are a few things you should always have in case of any emergency:
1. ID tag or collar. A better option might be to get your pet a microchip
2. A current photograph of your pet with its distinctive markings visible
3. Current medical records and vaccinations
4. Your veterinary number and address, as well as the nearby emergency pet clinic and poison control centre
5. At least two weeks worth of food and water in case if a disaster
7. Leash for easier transport or to control pets who may act out when in pain or distressed
8. Gauze, non-stick bandages and adhesive tape to control any bleeding and dress wounds
9. Digital Thermometer
10. Eye dropper to flush wounds or administer medicine orally
12. Board or stretcher to secure animal when transporting
In some cases, these items can be the difference between life and death, but to assure that you as a pet owner are doing everything possible to care for your pet, here are some basic first aid tips for common emergencies:
1. Poison- call your local animal poison control centre and veterinary immediately
2. Choking- call your vet immediately. If the object is visible, try removing it with tweezers
3. Seizures- keep your pet away from any other objects or furniture. Make sure to time the seizure and once the seizure has stopped, keep your pet warm and calm. Call your vet.
4. Heatstroke- the main goal is to keep your pet’s body temperature down. You can do so by moving them to a cool and shady area and by placing a wet towel on the neck and head. Make sure you do not cover the eyes, nose or mouth. You can also run water over your pet (by pouring with your hands for a hose) while wiping the water away as it absorbs your pet’s body heat.
5. Broken bones- muzzle and lay your pet down on a flat surface. Call your vet and wrap the animal in a blanket, using a stretcher or board to securely transport your pet. Remember, do not try to set any bones as this may cause more harm than good.
6. Bleeding- using a gauze pad, apply pressure to the wound to stop bleeding. Call your vet. If the wound is on the leg, it may require a tourniquet. Some signs of internal bleeding are blood in the urine, pale gums, coughing up blood or bleeding from the nose, mouth or rectum. In that case call your vet immediately and keep your pet warm and calm.
Remember, taking steps to prevent accidents from happening are just as important as knowing what to do in an emergency. In the coming summer months be aware of possible risks when outdoors and never leave your pet in the car without proper ventilation and water.