We all love our pets and want to do anything we can to protect their health and wellbeing. Who can blame us when faced with those big puppy eyes or that innocent purring kitten? For many, the thought of any unforeseen harm befalling our pet is terrifying. Whether you’re relaxing at home or hiking with your dog, you should be aware of serious pet symptoms and signs of injury that should be treated immediately. It is helpful to always have some basic first aid handy for your pet – just in case.
Find a suitable container, preferably waterproof, that you can use to store your pet’s first aid items. Next, stock it with the following items:
- Sterile gauze pads (3″ x 3″ and 2″ X 2″) can be used to apply firm, direct pressure on a cut for 10 minutes straight. Avoid bandages that cut off circulation. Gauze bandage rolls (1″ and 2″) can be used for wrapping wounds or muzzling your injured pet.
- First-aid adhesive tape, 1″ roll (never human adhesive bandages) is used for securing the gauze wrap or bandage.
- Cotton swabs (Q-tips® and cotton balls)
- Non-stick bandages, towels and cloths are best for controlling bleeding and protecting wounds.
- Tweezers or forceps can be used to very carefully remove an object your pet is choking on (if visible), without pushing it further down the throat.
- 3% hydrogen peroxide can be used to induce vomiting, but always consult your veterinarian first.
- Styptic pencil or cornstarch is great for stemming blood flow from minor cuts.
- Hydrocortisone Cream or Spray
- Antibacterial ointment
- Antiseptic cleansing wipes
- Eyedropper for oral medication or for flushing superficial wounds
- Syrup of ipecac can be used to induce vomiting in the event that your pet is poisoned. Be sure to consult your veterinarian first.
- Activated charcoal or milk of magnesia, are good for absorbing poison. Always consult your vet before inducing vomiting or treating your pet for poison.
- Include phone numbers of your pet’s regular veterinarian, as well as a nearby emergency veterinary hospital. You may also want to include the number of the Animal Poison Control Center: 888-4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435), there may be a fee for this call.
Although you may notice that both humans and animals can use some of the same medications, always consult your veterinarian before giving your pet any human medicine. The vast majority of medications we use as humans can be toxic or even fatal to our pets. Ibuprofen is harmful to dogs, while aspirin or acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) is toxic to cats.
Keep your first aid kit handy, but out of reach of children. Also, be sure to replace items as you use them. The last thing you need is to be in an emergency situation and lacking the necessary supplies from your pet’s first aid kit. In many cases, you will still need to go to the veterinarian’s office immediately, but having a first aid kit nearby may be what helps save your pet’s life. Learn how pet insurance can help you afford the vet bill when your dog becomes ill or injured in an accident.
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