Pet First Aid
Being informed on Pet First Aid when an animal related emergency occurs, could save your pet’s life. Before administering pet first aid, always keep your safety in mind! Never hug an injured pet and always keep your face clear of the mouth to avoid a bite. Remember, administering pet first aid is not a substitute for treatment by a licensed veterinarian. Always take your pet to the vet after an emergency occurs!
Bone fractures are very painful! Before handling a pet with a broken bone, first, place a muzzle on them to prevent an unintentional bite. Second, to prevent further injuring the pet, carefully move them to a flat surface. Third, call your veterinarian to alert them that you are on your way. Using a flat board, stretcher or blanket sling will keep your pet secure during transport. Laying a blanket over the pet will help keep them secure. Avoid placing pressure on the fracture or their chest when securing the pet for transport. It is best to leave splinting to a veterinarian, as placing a splint yourself can cause further damage to the broken bone or surrounding area.
Toxins or Poisons
If your pet has come in contact or ingested a poison or another toxic substance, immediately call your veterinarian or animal emergency clinic. For a small consultation fee, you can also call Animal Poison Control center, which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The center can be reached at (888) 426-4435. Do not induce vomiting unless you have been directly told to do so by a veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center. Telling your veterinarian what substance your pet ingested or take the substance with you in a sealed container or bag for identification will save valuable time!
In most cases, when a pet is choking they may have difficulty breathing, may cough or make hacking sounds, have blue lips and tongue, or will be pawing at their mouth. If your pet’s gums are pink and it can still breath, take your pet immediately to the closest veterinarian. If your pet’s gums are blue or they are unable to breathe, the object that is obstructing the airway will need to be removed. Open your pet’s mouth and look in their throat. If the object is visible, carefully try to remove it. It is important that you do not push the object further into your pet’s throat, so use a pair of pliers or tweezers if necessary. Once the object is removed, immediately take your pet to the closest veterinary clinic!
Keeping your pet safe from injury during a seizure is important. Clear the area around your pet of objects and furniture. Do not hold your pet down or try to prevent them from seizing. Most seizures last 2-3 minutes and keeping track how long the seizure lasts will help your veterinarian later determine the type of seizure your pet suffered. After your pet has stopped seizing, keep them warm and calm. Call your veterinarian to alert them your pet has suffered a seizure and that you are on your way to their office. Drive carefully and let your veterinarian know of any other unusual occurrences or seizures on the way to the clinic.
Keeping yourself safe when caring for a pet that is bleeding is the first step. Place a muzzle on the pet before proceeding any further. Open wounds are very painful and may cause even the most even tempered pet to bite. Second, locate the wound and apply pressure on the area with a clean towel or sterile bandaging for at least 3 minutes to allow the bleeding to stop. Do not remove the towel or bandaging, as that can restart the bleeding. If you notice blood soaking through the towel, keep adding layers of towels while applying constant pressure. Third, call your veterinarian to alert them you are on your way and calmly drive the pet to the clinic. Immediate medical treatment by a veterinarian is needed with open wounds, as large amounts of blood loss can be life threatening.
First, extinguish any remaining flames on or around your pet. Then, flush the burned area with large amounts of cool, not cold water. Do NOT break open any blisters that have formed on the area. Third, after flushing, cover the burned area loosely with a clean towel. Call your veterinarian and let them know you are on your way. Remember, butter and ointments can cause infection and trap the heat in, so avoid using them altogether!
Always have the phone numbers of your veterinarian and local animal emergency clinic accessible for both you and other members of your household. Having pet first aid kit at home can be beneficial! The American Veterinary Medical Association has pet first aid supplies checklist on their website. You can find it by clicking here. Our founder, Dawn Olson is a Master Certified Pet Tech Instructor. She teaches classes in the Littleton area on Pet CPR & First Aid Training. Visit our sister company, Ken Caryl Pet Spa’s website to sign up for one of Dawn’s upcoming classes.
Written by Julie Gajewski. Julie has been pet sitting and working in the veterinary industry as both a Veterinary Technician and veterinary hospital administrator since 1997. She founded her pet sitting company, Fuzzy Friends Pet Care, at the young age of 16. She was nominated as one of Pet Sitters International’s Top 5 Pet Sitters in 2016 and is a Certified Professional Pet Sitter through Pet Sitters International. She is a pet business consultant and a guest blog writer for pet sitters across the world. She lives in Florida with her husband and furry children, 2 Pugs and 4 cats.