April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month – a month where we can help educate fellow pet parents about providing emergency care to their animals when necessary.
This month, our in-house vet will be sharing useful pet first aid tips that could help save a pet’s life, reduce the potential for increased injury and promote fast recovery. First up, let’s look at how to be equipped at home with a first aid kit.
It is useful to have your first aid kit prepared and stocked in advance of any emergencies that may occur. Our in-house vet has created a checklist below of the contents you should keep in your first aid kit:
1. Phone numbers – for your vet and any out of hours emergency service.
2. Protective Gloves - use these when cleaning away discharges from eyes, nose, ears etc. and for cleaning up vomit or diarrhoea to keep you safe from infection. Always wash and disinfect your hands thoroughly when finished.
3. Rolls of gauze bandage - to wrap around a dressing and hold it in place to protect a wound or stop bleeding.
4. Cotton Wool - Break off a piece and moisten with warm water to wipe away eye and ear discharges. Dip in cooled, boiled water to clean wounds etc.
5. Non-stick dressings – use directly on to a wound and hold in place with a gauze bandage.
6. Adhesive bandage – use as the outer covering to hold dressings in place for wounds, sprains etc.
7. Syringe or eye dropper – use to get liquid medicines or fluids into a pet who is unable or resistant to taking medicine or fluids. In cases where dehydration is suspected use it to encourage drinking and measure fluid intake. Insert the syringe into a gap behind the long canine tooth, at the side and feed slowly onto the tongue, a little at a time, waiting until you see swallowing movements before you give any more.
Other Homemade Aids
8. Make up a glucose saline solution for a dehydrated dog by adding one tablespoon of glucose or sugar and a teaspoon of salt to 2 pints of water.
10. Use ice wrapped in a tea towel to reduce swelling if your pet gets stung by a bee or wasp.
11. Use a neck tie, nylon stockings or a length of bandage to muzzle your dog. Place the centre under the middle of the dog’s chin, and tie a simple knot above the bridge of the nose, then cross the 2 ends under the chin and pull each end back and tie behind the ears with bow knot that can easily be released.
12. A ‘Buster Collar’ attached to your pet’s neck collar will help prevent them from scratching at sore eyes and ears or licking and chewing at skin wounds etc. It can also help in handling your pet if they are inclined to bite.
Remember, first aid is never a substitute for full veterinary care but may be of great benefit to your pet until it receives veterinary attention. Always follow up on first aid treatment with a visit to your vet to ensure all is well.