April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month; Top Tips to Help Your Pet in an Emergency
Emergencies happen – sometimes pets eat the wrong foods, get bitten or cut and have seizures. But, there are ways to help while you’re getting your pet to the vet. Here are a few tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to help stabilize your pet:
- If your pet has been exposed to a toxin, check the label for immediate instructions such as washing its skin with soap and water, or flushing eyes with water.
- If your pet is having seizures, keep it away from any objects, blanket your pet to keep it warm and call your vet or an emergency vet clinic, or phone the Animal Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4445. They’re available 24/7 and there is a fee for consultation.
- If you think your pet has a broken bone, gently lay him or her on a flat surface, or use a blanket as a sling to gently transport your pet to the veterinarian.
- With cuts, press a clean, thick gauze pad over the wound and press on it until the bleeding stops. If bleeding is severe and on the legs, apply a tourniquet (using a rubber band and gauze) between the wound and the body to slow down the blood flow and get your animal to the vet ASAP.
- For burns, flush a light burn immediately with lots of water, and if the burn is more severe quickly apply an ice water compress.
- For choking, if your pet can still breathe, get it to the vet immediately. Look in its mouth with a flashlight and quickly try to get the object out with a tweezer. If that doesn’t work, place both hands on the side of his or her ribcage and strike the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand 3 to 4 times while getting to the vet.
What a proper Pet First Aid Kit should include, according to the experts at AVMA:
-Important phone numbers – your numbers, the vet, Poison Control, dog walker, etc.
-Gauze for wrapping wounds
-Nonstick bandages or towels to control bleeding or protect wounds
-Adhesive tape to secure the gauze or bandage *do not use human Band-Aids or adhesive bandages on pets
-Hydrogen peroxide – induces vomiting if ever necessary
-A digital thermometer in case you need to check your pet’s temperature
-Milk of Magnesia to absorb poison if necessary
-An eye dropper to give oral treatments or flush wounds
-A muzzle (in an emergency a rope, necktie, soft cloth, nylon stocking, small towel may be used) – to cover your pet’s head
-A leash – to transport your pet easily
-A stretcher (or board with a blanket) – to transport an injured animal
Always remember that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid is not a substitute for professional veterinary care, but it may save your pet’s life until it receives veterinary treatment.
More pet life-saving tips from the AVMA are available; check them out at www.avma.org!