The Ins and Outs of Pet First Aid
Dogs are members of our family. Just like it’s important to know or learn about skills that can aid our human family, it’s also vital to know and learn skills that can aid our canine family too. That’s why the month of April is dedicated to Pet First Aid Awareness. First aid techniques are a good first step and can help you stabilize your best friend. Always be sure to have your dog checked by a veterinarian after an emergency situation.
First Aid Tips for Your Dog
Your dog can’t verbally tell you what’s wrong aside from a few whimpers, so basic pet first aid skills can help you identify what’s wrong and what you can do to help.
It’s good to have a set of steps you can take to evaluate your dog. Here are some tips to help keep your dog safe and healthy:
- If you think your dog is dehydrated, pull up on the skin between the shoulder blades. It should spring right back when released. If it stays tented, this is a sign of dehydration.
- If you think your dog may have consumed something that could potentially be toxic to his system, check to see if he is foaming at the mouth, has dilated pupils, or seems to have an abnormal mental state. If you see any of these symptoms, get him to a vet as soon as possible.
- If your dog is having a seizure, get him to a safe place. Don’t restrain him or put your hands near his mouth. Your dog could attempt to bite you in his confused state.
- If your dog is bleeding, apply pressure to the wound with gauze. If the blood soaks through, add another layer of gauze without removing the first layer until you can get them to a vet.
What to Have Ready in Case of Emergency
A little preparation can make a big difference. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind to help you react calmly and quickly in tense situations:
- Cell Phone:
- Be sure to put your veterinarian’s phone number and address in your cell phone so that you, or someone who is with you, can contact your veterinarian for questions.
- Enter the address and phone number for the nearest two Emergency Veterinarians in your phone. Since you may not remember their name, put them under ICE Vet (In Case of Emergency). Then they will be easy to find when you need them the most.
- You can also enter any allergies or medications your pet is on in the comments section of their information. Then you will have the information handy even when you are out walking your dog.
- Put together a first aid kit specifically for your dog. Include some of the following items:
- Hydrogen peroxide (to clean wounds or induce vomiting)
- Benadryl (for bee stings or allergic reactions)
- Saline eye wash
- Styptic powder (to help stop bleeding, especially if you accidentally snip their claws too short)
- Pet-friendly dish soap (this can help remove toxic substances from a dog’s skin)
You can also get first aid certified for pets. The Red Cross offers an online course that teaches you the basics in caring for your dogs through a variety of topics, from understanding and checking your pet’s vital signs to caring for the most critical emergency situations. This includes CPR for your pet and how to help if they are choking.
You never know what may happen with your dog or what they may accidentally get into so it is always better to be prepared for any situation that can occur with your furry family member. If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to help your dog, sign up for the Best Friends Club to receive more helpful articles and deals on special treats and dog food.