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Pet First Aid Month: Reacting to Pet Injury

When we get hurt or injured we usually know what to do. But do you know what to do if it is your pet that is the one that is wounded? Since April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month it is the perfect time to go over the basics. Being able to react quickly with some basic knowledge can help keep them stabilized until you can reach the vet. Every second does matter and could possibly save your pet’s life.

The best thing you can do is sign up for a Pet First Aid Class (list of classes in the Seattle area). You’ll learn how to approach and restrain an injured pet (even your own pet may lash out when hurt). As well as basics of caring for wounds, checking vitals, how to treat serious bleeding and shock, common illnesses and bites.

Stay calm

It’s easy to fly into a panic when a family member is sick or injured. But it is imperative that you stay levelheaded so that you can handle the situation appropriately. Take mental notes to be able to relay everything to the vet as clearly as possible.

Have a pet first aid kit on hand

You can purchase pre-made kits online or at your local pet store. Or you can create your own kit, important items to include:

● Cotton balls and swabs
● Gauze rolls
● Absorbent gauze pads
● Antiseptic wipes or spray
● Disposable gloves
Rectal thermometer (a pet’s temp should never be above 103℉ or below 100℉
● Petroleum jelly (for the thermometer)
● Tweezers
● Cooling packs
● Hydrogen peroxide

Of course, any time your furbaby is acting strange you should contact your vet. However, there are definite symptoms you should never ignore. Pets tend to downplay their ailments. It’s important to know what to look for. Seek immediate care if you see any of the following signs:

● Difficulty breathing
● Coughing
● Signs of pain
● Collapse
● Paleness of gums
● Vomiting or diarrhea
● Lethargy/weakness
● Unusual amounts of restlessness and panting

Check out these helpful pet first aid videos:

  • Red Cross Pet First Aid app, CPR on dogs/cats and Pet First Aid Kit Must Haves
  • Dog Choking: First Aid Steps
  • Denise Fleck shares her expertise on Pet First Aid and CPR with Dog Man’s class

It’s always good to be armed with the appropriate knowledge in case of an emergency. Like Benjamin Franklin once said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” And we certainly don’t want to fail our pets when they need us the most.