In the case of a medical emergency are you prepared to render first aid to your pet until you can get them to a Veterinarian?
Purchase or prepare a first aid kit for your pet. Consider putting an additional one in your hurricane kit. Your Veterinarian’s telephone numbers, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control telephone number (800)548-2423, and the number of the nearest twenty-four hour animal clinic should be posted near your telephone and in your first aid kit.
Your kit should include:
A flexible bandage (such as an Ace Bandage)
Sterile gauze pads and rolls
Scissors (round tip)
Alcohol prep pads
First aid adhesive tape
Eye wash solution
Collar, Leash and Muzzle
First Aid Care for Pets (Book or manual)
Vaseline (petroleum jelly)
Syrup of Ipecac
BLEEDING, LACERATIONS: Attempt to stop the bleeding. Apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth and call your Veterinarian. You may bandage the wound but do not cut off the circulation. If you must apply a tourniquet, release occasionally to allow blood circulation to the affected area. For minor cuts, clean the wound and apply an antibiotic ointment. Cover the wound with a clean bandage.
BURNS: Burns can be caused by the spilling of a caustic or hot substance on your pet. Frost bite and biting electrical cables are other possibilities. If the burn results in an open wound, loosely wrap the injury with gauze or a clean dry cloth and transport to your Veterinary immediately. If the problem substance is still on your pet, flush with cool water liberally. You may need to clip the hair away from the injury. If the burn is minor, clean the wound and apply an antibiotic ointment. For a more severe burn, apply burn cream and treat for shock if necessary. Give your pet water to drink if there is no vomiting, this is when the turkey baster may come in handy. Keep your pet quiet and calm, and follow your Veterinarian’s instructions.
DROWNING: Remove the pet from water and empty its lungs of water immediately. For a small pet, support him from the shoulder and front legs. Holding him upside down, gently swing the pet around to remove the water. You may need to open its mouth and pump its chest while in this position. Do not swing a larger pet; instead drape him over your shoulder to force the fluid out. When breathing has been restored, cover your pet with blankets and treat for shock. Immediately go to your Veterinary to make sure the lungs are free of remaining fluids to avoid possible pneumonia.
FRACTURES: If your pet carries one leg above the ground, barely puts it down, or there is swelling, you should suspect a fairly serious injury. Keep your pet still and call your Veterinarian. A cold pack may be used, but never put ice directly onto your pet. Do not attempt to reset the limb yourself, this could cause further injury. Immobilize the injured limb for transportation to your Veterinarian.
HEATSTROKE: Often a result of being left in a car or house without proper ventilation, shade and water, or over exertion. Frothing around the mouth may be accompanied by heavy panting. Get the pet to a cooler area and slowly cool them off. If possible, put your pet in a tub of tepid water and gradually decrease the water temperature until your pet breathes normally and is cooled off. Do not give your pet the chills. Taking his temperature will tell you if his body has returned to normal. A healthy dog should have a normal rectal temperature of 100.5 – 102 degrees F. Lubricate the tip of the thermometer and only insert about 1″ into the rectum. Hold it very still for thirty seconds to one minute. Disinfect the thermometer afterward, before returning it to its case.
POISONING: Dogs are more likely than cats to eat just about anything and are more prone to ingesting something dangerous. Vomiting, complete collapse, muscle spasms, weakness and bleeding are possible symptoms. Call a poison control center immediately and follow their instructions. Do not let your pet ingest any more of the poison and wash any poison from their fur. Try to obtain a sample of the suspected poison or obtain its container and take it with you to the veterinary’s office.
SHOCK: Shallow breathing, fluttering heart, dizziness and pale gums following an injury or accident could signal shock and you should treat the pet accordingly. Manage the cause of shock. Cover your dog to keep him warm and keep him quiet. Check for heartbeat. If heart has stopped, he will not be able to breath. Immediately begin CPR. With the dog on its right side, put your fingers over the heart and compress 80 – 100 times per minute. Breathe for your dog by first clearing the airway and closing their mouth. Place your mouth over their nose and exhale your air through their nose into their lungs. Watch for the dog’s chest to inflate. Do this six times per minute until your dog is breathing without assistance. Do not stop unless someone else has taken over the CPR or the dog is pronounced dead.
VOMITING AND/OR DIARRHEA: If only vomiting is present, avoid food and water for a day and then begin with small amounts of food and water to see how well your pet holds them down. If the vomiting is severe or accompanied by diarrhea and lasts more than twenty-four hours, call your Veterinarian. Pets under six months and pets over seven years old are more susceptible to dehydration and you may choose to call your Veterinarian sooner, especially if there are other symptoms.
If an emergency arises, do not panic. You will need to act fast and handle the situation. You can always break down later, when your Veterinarian is in control. Always remember to check for signs of shock following any injury and I hope you never need to use this guide.