The month of April is reserved for celebrating and raising awareness about the importance of pet first aid. Many pet owners are not aware of the crucial importance of the first aid they can provide until they arrive at the vet. Not always the vet works next door, sometimes you have to travel many miles, and time is precious.
The American Red Cross is dedicating its time to educate people about pet first aid. There are many situations when your immediate response without panicking can save your pet’s life.
The American Red Cross teaches people what to expect and how to determine if it is a pet emergency or not. Here are some examples:
- if you want to be sure if your cat or a dog is dehydrated, pull up the skin between its shoulders. It should spring right back in its place. If not, it is a sign of dehydration.
- if you are considered that your dog or a cat might be poisoned, you should look for signs like breathing frenetically externally or internally, dilated pupils, drooling and/or foaming at the mouth, abnormal behavior, and seizures. If your pet is experiencing a seizure, make sure to place its head on a soft surface. Keep your hands away from its mouth because when they are in this state, they will not recognize its owners and may bite. After the seizing will stop, make sure to pull its tongue out of its mouth. If any of these signs are present you must rush to take your pet to the nearest veterinary clinic.
- in the warmer months, heat strokes and heat exhaustion are very common. Signs of heatstroke that you have to be aware of are collapse, body temperature above 104 Fahrenheit/ 40 Celsius, vomiting or sudden diarrhea, excessive panting or struggling to breathe, increased salivation, very red mucous membranes (easily accessible to see in the mouth above and below the teeth), and increased heart rate. Try to slowly cool your pet down and rush to the vet immediately.
- if your dog or a cat gets bitten by another animal, no matter how small the wound, it has to be taken to the vet. If the veterinary clinic is very far away, until you get there, clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide 3% and if the bleeding is not stopping put a compression on it. Every wound, no matter how small, must be checked by a vet. Animals have nasty bacteria living in their mouths and all wounds can very easily become infected. Also, make sure that the biter animal has all its rabies vaccines in check. If not, tell that to your veterinarian.
Accidents happen, but we want to make sure that our furry family members are always healthy and happy. That is why you always have to make sure that:
- their vaccines are up-to-date,
- they have regular yearly (or twice a year for senior pets) veterinary check-ups,
- that they have proper dental care,
- that they get enough daily exercise to get rid of all that build up energy,
- that they always have clean and fresh water to drink, and fresh quality food (either commercial or home-cooked),
- unless you are a registered dog or cat breeder, have your pet spayed/neutered,
- always put a leash on your dog when outside. They can easily get hit by a car or bitten by another dog.
And love your pet as much as you can, every day 🙂
Make sure to check out our infographic on Pet First Aid kit.
- This article was originally published on April 1st, 2018.