Pet First Aid Awareness
April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month! As responsible pet parents, it’s important to be prepared with basic first aid supplies in the event of an emergency. As with any severe injury or illness, contact your veterinarian immediately for instructions and always use caution when providing first aid to an injured pet as some may react negatively due to pain and stress. Many of these products should only be used as a temporary solution until your pet can be seen by a veterinarian.
Here are a few items that can be assembled at home to create a pet first aid kit.
- Emergency Contacts: Place a card with emergency contact information in your first aid kit. This should include phone numbers for your veterinarian, an emergency clinic, and poison control. Keep a copy in your wallet and provide pet sitters with a copy as well.
- Latex or Rubber Gloves: Keep several pairs in your first aid kit. Gloves will protect both you and your pet and reduce the risk of infection when dressing a wound.
- Bandages: Bandages should only be a placeholder until your pet can be seen by a veterinarian. Opt for self-adhesive pet bandages that won’t stick to fur but will provide the needed pressure to reduce bleeding. Never leave a bandage on a pet without seeing a veterinarian. If it is too tight or applied incorrectly, it could cause more issues if the bandage is left on.
- Antiseptic Wipes: Pet antiseptic wipes will clean your pet’s wounds and help reduce the risk of infection.
- Blunt-tipped Scissors: Blunt-tipped scissors will be useful when cutting bandages or trimming hair near a wound.
- Plastic Syringe: A plastic syringe will come in handy if you need to give fluids to a dehydrated pet or to flush out a wound.
- Tweezers: Tweezers can be used to remove a sharp object, such as a thorn, that may be difficult to remove with just your fingers.
- Tick Remover: Tweezers should NOT be used to remove ticks. Instead, ask your veterinarian what tick remover kit they recommend and add it to your First Aid Kit.
- Medications: Keep a stash of your pet’s prescription medications in your kit for emergencies. Watch expiration dates and replenish as needed. Styptic powder can also be kept on hand to help reduce pain and bleeding, especially with broken nails. Never administer any over-the-counter medications to a pet without speaking to a veterinarian first.
- Bottled Water: Bottled water can be used to flush wounds or in the event of heat exhaustion.
- Towels: Including towels in your pet’s first aid kit will provide a soft place for your pet to lay down, can be used for clean up, and even for a makeshift dog harness for lameness.
Remember, while being prepared with your first aid supplies can help save your pet, always contact your veterinarian to ensure they get the treatment they need in an emergency situation.
If you have any additional questions about pet first aid or would like to make an appointment at Merrifield Animal Hospital, call us at (703) 560-1881 and we will be happy to help.