April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month!
While it’s always best to seek treatment from your veterinarian if your pet gets hurt or is seriously injured, there may be times when you have to administer emergency care. That’s why we want to take some time this month to talk about ways you can be prepared for emergency situations.
In honor of this month, we have put together a list of our top emergency pet care tips to help you keep your furry family members safe and healthy.
Pet Emergency Care Tips:
- Have emergency contact numbers ready. This includes your veterinarian, the closest emergency veterinary hospital, and the poison control hotline.
- Secure the area and remove any physical hazards, such as broken glass or wood splinters. This helps to ensure both you and your pet won’t get hurt any further.
- Apply pressure to stop bleeding. If your pet has cut themselves or has been bitten by another animal and is actively bleeding, the best way to stop the blood flow is to apply pressure. You can use cloth, a towel, or your hands to apply pressure directly to the wound, or use a towel or strip of cloth to tie off above the wound to stop the bleeding.
- Check for vital signs, including your pets pulse, heart rate, and breathing.
- Start CPR. If your pet is showing signs of breathing issues, you should begin to administer CPR. The American Red Cross has more information on pet CPR here.
- Check for broken bones before moving your pet. You don’t want to cause any more damage to your pet, so make sure you feel around their legs and back for anything that feels broken or moved out of place before picking up or moving your pet.
- Take your pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible. After you have done all you can to help your pet, make sure to have them seen by a professional veterinarian to assess the damage and treat any lingering issues.
- Remember to stay calm. While seeing your pet injured or in pain can be really difficult for us as pet parents, it’s important to remember that they are counting on us in this situation. It’s best to remain calm and think clearly about the steps you can take to ease their pain in the moment.
In addition to these tips, always remember to keep a pet first aid kit handy. Things to include in your pet first aid kit are:
- Gauze (pads and rolls)
- Adhesive tape
- Antiseptic wipes and spray
- Cotton balls or swabs
- Blunt-nose scissors
- Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should be between 100-103 degrees F.)
- Antihistamine (like Benadryl)
- Antibiotic cream
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Anti-diarrheal medication
- 3% Hydrogen peroxide
- Disposable gloves
- Ice packs
- Styptic powder
- List of emergency phone numbers
These pet first aid kits actually look a lot like our human first aid kits, but should also contain copies of your pets health and vaccine records and lists of any medications or supplements they currently take. Remember, while prevention is the best medicine, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the unforeseeable.