Every pet owner strives to give their furry companion a long, happy, and active life. Emergencies do happen, which is why the American Red Cross designated April as its annual Pet First Aid Awareness Month. Prevention and planning, along with basic first aid knowledge, can save your pet’s life when you least expect an emergency to occur.

Being Prepared

Pets can be susceptible to emergencies such as injury, poisoning, choking, and dehydration. Some planning tips include:

  • When traveling with your pet, identify the closest emergency animal hospital.
  • Include pets in your household’s disaster preparedness plan, and create a pet first aid kit, which can be taken along when traveling or camping with your pet.
  • Keep your veterinarian’s number in your home and mobile phone for easy reference, as well as the address and phone number of your local after-hours walk-in animal clinic. Make sure anyone caring for your pet while you’re away has these numbers on hand.

First Aid Pointers

  • During a seizure, secure the location of your pet, but do not attempt to restrain him or her. Keep hands away from the animal’s mouth, as your pet’s jaws could snap shut during seizures.
  • For bleeding wounds, apply gauze and pressure to the wound. If blood soaks through, apply more cloth without removing the existing gauze.
  • Never leave an animal alone in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked open. Animals exhibiting signs of dehydration and heat stroke, such as vomiting, weakness, glazed eyes, or a deep red-purple tongue should be moved to a cooler location immediately. Apply cool, but not cold, water or wet towels to the pet’s back and neck and call a veterinarian right away.
  • While many households keep medications and other potential poisons such as insecticides and cleaning products out of reach of kids and pets, the most common poisoning reports come from chocolate (for dogs) and lilies (for cats). Avocados and raisins also pose common threats to dogs, as well as balloon string and thread for cats. Be aware of common pet toxins, as well as how to recognize the signs of pet poisonings here.

For more information on valuable pet first aid skills, the Red Cross has created an app that includes a location-based animal hospital locator, step-by-step first aid instructions, symptoms of a medical emergency, and more.

Animal Care Clinic of Bedford, Indiana, has been caring for the pets of our community for over 30 years and understands that you and your pet are “friends for life.” Please visit our site for more information, or call us at (812) 279-1516 to schedule an appointment.