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Pet First Aid

You never know when an accident may occur to your pet, no matter how small or large. It is important to be prepared for any situation. Here are some items that could be included in a pet first aid kit, some tips on how to handle an injured animal, and basic pet first aid procedures you can do at home prior to calling your veterinarian.

Pet First Aid Kit Supplies:

  • Emergency phone numbers (vet clinic, emergency vet clinic and animal poison control center) and your pets medical record (medications and vaccine history)
  • Gauze
  • Non-stick bandages, towels, etc. to help control bleeding and bandage wounds
  • Adhesive tape for bandages
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%) to induce vomiting in cases of poisoning (always consult with your veterinarian or poison control before inducing vomiting)
  • Digital thermometer (make sure it is a “fever” thermometer because regular thermometers don’t go high enough for pets)
  • Eyedropper or large syringe without needle to flush wounds or give oral treatments
  • Muzzle (can use gauze, shoelace, towel, etc.)
  • Leash (to move animal if able to walk without becoming more injured)
  • Stretcher (this could be a door, board, blanket, or floor mat)

How to Handle an Injured Animal: 
It is important that when you are handling injured animals that you keep yourself safe because even the most gentle animal may bite when injured and in pain. If your pet is showing signs of aggression, place a muzzle on your pet to avoid being bitten. You can use a bought muzzle, gauze, shoelace, or a towel to accomplish this. For cats, you can use a towel to wrap your cat in to restrain it and avoid being scratched. Ensure that the towel is not too tight and not covering your cats head. The important thing to note about muzzling is never to muzzle an animal that is vomiting. If trying to examine your pet, do this slowly and gently. If you notice any signs of agitation, stop with the exam as we don’t want to cause more stress and pain for the animal. Call your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic to give them a heads up that you are on your way to their clinic. Before transporting your pet, try and stabilize injuries by splinting or bandaging. When transporting keep the animal in a small confined area, for example, a kennel, to help eliminate the chance of it hurting itself even more. It is important to note that any first aid that a pet owner performs is not a substitute to seeing a veterinarian. It may help save your pets life until it is able to be seen by a veterinarian.

Basic Pet First Aid Procedures:
Seizures:

  • Keep your pet away from objects (furniture, etc.) to avoid injury, but do not restrain your pet
  • Time how long the seizure lasts
  • Once the seizure has stopped keep your pet warm and quiet, then contact your veterinarian

Poisoning:

  • Some examples of harmful products for your pet include:
    • Rat poison
    • Antifreeze
    • Cleaning products
    • Food items (chocolate, grapes)
    • Plants (lilies, chrysanthemum)
  • If your pets skin or eyes are exposed to toxic products, wash their skin and fur and flush their eyes, then contact your veterinarian
  • If your pet has ingested something poisonous, contact your veterinarian and pet poison control and follow their directions

Bleeding:

  • Muzzle your pet
  • Apply a clean piece of gauze to the area and apply pressure to the wound until the blood starts to clot. It can take several minutes.
  • Severe bleeding can become life-threatening quick. Contact your veterinarian right away or nearest emergency clinic and let them know you are on your way.
  • Even if the bleeding doesn’t seem like very much, it is best to get your pet examined by a veterinarian as there could be an underlying wound or problem.

Burns:

  • Muzzle your pet
  • Chemical
    • Wear gloves to avoid being burned yourself
    • Flush the burn right away with large quantities of water
  • Severe burns
    • Apply a cold compress to burn area
  • Contact your veterinarian

Written by: Megan Storey, RVT

Sources:
AVMA

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