This National Pet First Aid Awareness Month we’re continuing to share first aid tips. We know as pet parents we should have a first aid kit prepared and ready to go but do you know how to use it correctly if an emergency were to occur?
In this blog, our in-house vet shares tips on how to use your first aid kit to deal with minor emergencies such as cuts, bite wounds and bee stings.
Cut Pads - Use cotton wool soaked in warm salted water or dilute antiseptic solution to wash down the pad and remove any grit etc. with tweezers. If broken glass is suspected to be lodged in the pad get your pet to the vet for treatment. If the cut is deep and bleeding a lot, apply pressure with a cotton pad or clean cloth bandaged firmly to the foot and get your pet to the vet for treatment.
Skin Cut - If the cut is deep and bleeding a lot, apply pressure with a cotton swab held firmly over the wound and get your pet to the vet for treatment. Hold the pressure on the wound for a minimum of three minutes before checking if the bleeding has stopped. This will allow clotting to occur. If it is a minor cut or graze, wipe down with warm salted water or dilute antiseptic solution and leave open to the air for better healing. Prevent your pet from licking the wound excessively.
Bite Wounds - Minor wounds with minimal tearing of tissues can be cleaned down with salt water or antiseptic solutions. Always bring your pet to your vet to be checked as teeth can go in very deep leaving only a small puncture wound visible on the surface. Your pet may need antibiotics to control infection.
Burns and Scalds - Hold the affected area under cold running water for at least 5 to 10 minutes or hold an ice pack wrapped in a clean cloth to the affected area and get your pet to your vet for treatment.
Wasp and Bee Stings - A sting will cause pain for a while and this can be eased by applying a weak solution of water and baking soda to the affected area, or applying ice wrapped in a towel. A bee sting can leave a ‘stinger’ in the skin which can be removed by scraping it out with a fingernail or a piece of cardboard. Go to your vet if there are multiple stings, or if swelling persists or spreads and especially if your dog gets stung on the tongue or in the mouth. There is a risk of an allergic reaction, with swelling in the throat which could be dangerous and need urgent veterinary attention.
Broken dewclaws or nails – this can be very painful as the ‘quick’ or nerve in the nail may be exposed. If your pet allows, you can lightly bandage the area to prevent further movement and damage until you get to your vet.
Painful or irritated eyes - If you notice that your pet has a painful eye try to prevent them from rubbing and scratching at it with their paws. A ‘Buster collar’ will be useful. There may be an infection (conjunctivitis), a foreign body (e.g. a grass seed or wood splinter), or an ulcer or cut in the outer layer of the eye (e.g. caused by a cat scratch or grass cut, especially in breeds with protruding eyes). Gently clean around the eye with cotton wool soaked in cooled, boiled water and get your pet to the vet for further treatment.
Ear irritations - This is caused by infections, ear mites, allergies, or foreign bodies (e.g. grass seeds) entering the ear canal. There may be a discharge from the ear and a bad smell. You can gently wipe inside the ear flap with moist cotton wool but never insert anything into the canal. Seek veterinary help. If a pet shakes their head violently due to itchy ears they may cause bleeding inside the ear flap. Don’t delay in getting treatment.
Being prepared and knowing these first aid tips could save your pet from the minor emergency turning into a major one.