April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month

By Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pet First Aid Awareness MonthApril showers bring May flowers and warmer weather and these springtime delights mean new adventures for you and your pets! This time of year, dogs tend to spend more time outdoors, therefore increasing the chances they may encounter things that could be harmful and cats can slip outdoors to a host of feline dangers or they may get into new blooms you bring into the home.

Veterinarians cite heat stroke, snakebites, plant toxicities, even “hit by car” accidents as common spring and summer dangers they see as emergencies.

For these reasons, pet parents should use Spring time to brush up on pet first aid in case of a dreaded emergency. Being prepared and able to provide interim care before seeing a veterinarian can mean saving the life of your furry BFF.

Pet parents, I hope you’ll use First Aid Month as an opportunity to pack a pet first aid kit and stock it with these suggested items below:

  • Leash (be sure your pet is wearing a properly fitting collar at all times with ID)
  • Muzzle or strip of fabric (a severely injured or scared animal may bite)
  • Blanket (for keeping warm if pet is in shock or to help to restrain pet if necessary)
  • Pillow case (to protect and confine a cat for transport)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Pediatric digital rectal thermometer plus lubricant
  • Oral syringe
  • Tweezers (to remove splinters from pads)
  • Mild Soap
  • Saline eye wash
  • Cut and wound care items (antiseptic solution like Betadine, bandages, stretchable gauze, gauze pads, non-stick bandages, non-scented sanitary pads for heavily bleeding wounds, first aid adhesive tape and blunt scissors)
  • Got a Poison Emergency? Call (888) 426-4435! It’s answered 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. A consultation fee may apply. (See my blog post last month about how to poison proof your pet home.)
  • Tape your veterinarian’s emergency number to the lid of your first aid kit so you don’t have to go searching for the number while you may be panicked.

Do you know what to do if your dog stops breathing?  Do you know the basics of CPR for pets? With training, this life saving measure can be performed on pets and it’s a bit similar to human CPR in principle. Watch Elaine Acker, CEO of Pets America, demonstrate the proper technique for performing CPR on a dog or cat in this video.

Need an app for that? The American Red Cross has issued a new Pet First Aid App for iPhones and Android phones. At just 99 cents, it provides instant access to information on more than 25 common first aid and emergency situations. It provides step-by-step instructions for everything from treating wounds to controlling bleeding to burn care.

The app is not meant to replace veterinary care, but can allow pet parents to provide emergency care until veterinary care is available. Remember, it’s always best to have Fido or Fluffy seen by a veterinarian when emergencies happen.