April is Pet First Aid Month

Ready for an emergency?

The Red Cross has designated April as Pet First Aid Awareness Month.  What does that mean to all you pet owners out there?  It’s a great time to be sure you have a first aid kit ready and well-stocked in the event of major emergencies as well as the occasional cut or scrape accident.  In my house, I have a cabinet that is basically for everything “pet”.  It holds any current medications that one of my pets may be taking, flea and tick applications and a first aid basket that is kept stocked.  This way, if anything happens to one of my fur babies I know where to go to get the supplies I need.  It is important to have separate first aid supplies for your pets to prevent any cross-contamination.  I have to admit that I didn’t purposefully go out and gather these things for my dogs and cats.  I purchased them individually as needed and that really was not smart.  ”Be Prepared” as the Sweet Potato Queens would say!!  (That’s a whole other post entirely)  By having all these items in a handy location there is no panic on your part when your pet gets hurt.  You can quickly access anything you need to bandage a wound, rinse an eye or administer an aspirin or anti-histamine.  Keep in mind that just having the right medicine isn’t enough.  You should know how much of any one thing to use on your pet and what items are not interchangeable for dogs and cats, i.e. aspirin.   Check with your vet on medication dosages and make a note of it to keep in your kit.  You should also have the name and number for your veterinarian, an emergency 24 hour veterinarian and the ASPCA poison control number (on the list below).  The American Red Cross offers Pet First Aid training at many of their locations.  Google the information for a location close to you.

Being a good pet owner has a lot of responsibilities and a lot of rewards.  Do your best to ensure your home is a safe place for your pet from the start.  Be sure that electrical cords are tucked safely away from curious puppies and kittens.  There are products out there made for wrapping around electrical cords that contain citronella, a scent your pets will avoid.  String might be fun to play with, but if consumed by your pet can cause some serious internal damage.  And watch those table tops and counters!!  I have a “counter surfer” myself and I have to be very careful of what may be left behind after dinner. Basically, be cognizant of your surroundings at all times and think of your pet’s health.  They will thank you for it with lots of love and a lifetime of memories.

Finally, http://www.thedogfiles.com/2012/02/20/saving-your-pet-with-cpr-infographic/, links you to a tutorial on Pet CPR.  It could be a life-saver!

A typical first aid kit suitable for both dogs and cats should include:

  • An antiseptic ointment or solution
  • Hydrocortisone ointment or antihistamine spray for insect stings
  • Antihistamine tablets for systemic reaction to insect bites
  • Baby aspirin for injured muscles from a fall or stumble- FOR DOGS ONLY
  • Small stainless steel or plastic bowls for solutions to bathe wounds
  • Cotton balls, cotton buds and a roll of cotton padding
  • Sterile dressing pads
  • Liquid bandage for pets
  • Self-adhesive bandage
  • A small flashlight and fresh batteries to look inside a mouth
  • Latex gloves
  • Sharp tweezers
  • Small blunt scissors
  • Sterile eyewash (the human kind is suitable)
  • Eyedroppers
  • Syringe plunger to administer liquid medicine
  • Glucose powder to make a rehydrating fluid. Use one tablespoon of glucose and add a teaspoon of salt to a liter of water (1 and a quarter pints)
  • Keep an ice pack in the fridge marked accordingly for a pet emergency. (Keep a small towel in your kit to wrap it in for use.)
  • An Elizabethan or inflatable collar to prevent your pet from interfering with a dressing or bandage.
  • A gadget called a tick key to safely remove ticks without leaving any poisonous discharge behind
  • ASPCA Poison Unit (888) 426-4435