April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month!

April, 2017

While we hope you never have to deal with a pet emergency, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

5 Common Pet Emergencies

Choking

  • If your pet’s airway is totally blocked, you must take immediate action, as there is no time to go to the veterinarian for help.
  • Open the mouth and look for a foreign object. If the dog is unconscious and an object is blocking the airway, grab the tongue and pull it outward to try to dislodge the object.
  • Regardless of consciousness, sweep your finger through the dog’s mouth in an effort to feel or dislodge any object. Use caution to avoid being bitten. CPR or the Heimlich maneuver may be required.

Seizures

  • Make sure your pet is in a safe place, but do not try to restrain her. She may be scared during a seizure and not recognize her owner, so keep your hands away from her mouth.
  • Seizures can occur for a variety of reasons. It is urgent that you take your pet to a veterinary hospital immediately.

Heatstroke

  • If your pet has been exposed to the heat and has a bright red tongue, red or pale gums, thick or sticky saliva, diarrhea, is panting rapidly, weak, depressed, dizzy, or vomiting, he may be suffering from heatstroke.
  • In the case of heatstroke, immediately remove the dog from heat and lower his temperature by wetting him thoroughly with cool or lukewarm water (NOT ice cold) and increase air movement with a fan. Then take him to the vet as soon as possible.

Poisoning

  • Signs of poisoning include bleeding, both internally and externally, dilated pupils, drooling or foaming at the mouth, seizures or abnormal behavior and mental state.
  • Some of the obvious culprits might be rat poison or cleaning products, which should be kept out of reach, but pets can also be poisoned by unassuming household items.

Animal Bites

  • Sometimes, injuries from being bitten by another animal seem minor; however, your pet should still see a vet to prevent infection and check for internal wounds.
  • If bleeding, apply gauze to the wound. Should the bleeding continue, apply new gauze without removing soaked gauze until you reach the veterinary hospital.

OTHER PET EMERGENCY TIPS

  • Stay calm! Pets are keen. They can very easily sense when you are nervous, scared, or stressed and may mirror your emotions.
  • During an emergency, a relaxed, confident and educated guardian can help save an animal’s life.
  • Use your best judgement when deciding if it is something that can be handled at home or if you should call the vet.
  • Download a pet emergency app. Got a smartphone? There’s an app for that, thanks to the American Red Cross.
  • Buy a pet first aid book. There are numerous resources available to educate pet parents on first aid plans. Books specific to dogs and cats, like these from the American Red Cross, can be found through online book retailers.
  • Take a pet first aid class. Don’t know how to perform CPR or the Heimlich maneuver on your pet? Look into a  pet first aid class