When you become a pet parent you don’t automatically become a veterinarian -- nor can you tackle any illness or injury that befalls your beloved cat or dog; no one expects you to! It is a great idea, though, to have a basic understanding of how to address health issues or injuries that could happen to your pet so you can keep them safe until you get to your veterinarian.
One of the best ways to be prepared for an emergency is to first be aware of the need for a pet first aid kit. Just as your medicine cabinet is stocked for injuries or illnesses that may occur to a human family member you should have a fully-stocked first aid kit, or two, for your furry family members.
Here are ways in which a pet parent can be prepared to handle pet emergency situations.
- Know the dangers where you live. Some areas are more prone to snakes – who wake up when the temperatures get warmer – have a snake bite kit if you live in this area. If you live in an area of the country that has extreme temperatures, be aware of the signs of dehydration in your pet. What kind of poisonous plants grow naturally where you live? Know what these plants look like and how to treat your dog if he gets into one of them.
- Have a relationship with your veterinarian. Ask whether they have after-hour emergency service, if not, where should you go and to whom should you speak?
- If your dog or cat gets hit by a car or a bicycle, do know how to pick him up without causing further harm? Do you know how to slow bleeding from an injury? Do you have a muzzle available? A hurt dog is prone to bite because he’s in pain – yes, even your mild-mannered dog could lash out if he’s in pain.
- Cuts and scrapes are common in dogs and cats. They can be treated like the would be in a human – wash the area thoroughly, make certain there is no debris inside the cut or scrape. Don’t put any antibiotic cream on your pet if it’s in an area she could lick off.
- Sunburns are an issue for white dogs and cats. If your white or light-colored dog or cat will be in the sun, don’t forget to use sunscreen to protect his delicate skin, don’t forget to put dog-friendly sunblock on his nose and ears as well. Remember, if it’s hot, the pavement has the potential to burn your pup’s delicate paws.
The American Red Cross offers these suggestions as to how to stock your pet first aid kit. Fill it with the following:
- Gauze pads
- First aid book
- Instant cold pack
- Cloth strips to use as a tourniquet
- Antibiotic ointment
- Your pets health record and any medications he takes
- Splints and something to carry your dog on if you have to lift him
- Phone numbers for local and national poison control
- Your veterinarian’s phone number
The Red Cross has a mobile pet first aid app that you can find here.
In our next post for Pet First Aid Month we will discuss simple pet first aid tips for the pet parent.
April is Pet First Aid Month and in celebration of keeping our pets safe, we will be giving away a free Pet First Aid kit to the first 100 people who place orders this month. Shop Now.