April is “National Pet First Aid Awareness Month”
Let me remind all my fellow pet parents about how important it is to keep a pet first aid kit in your home and car.
I learned this lesson the hard way!
When I was a teen I was hiking a trail in a nearby state park with my best friend Happy (my 3 year old Shepherd). About 20 minutes into the hike she stepped on something and cut her paw. There was blood everywhere!
I hate to admit it but I was totally unprepared – no first aid kit and no training! I picked her up, headed for the car and went right to the vet.
Luckily the injury wasn’t serious but I did learn a very serious lesson that day…
Every pet parent needs to have a pet first aid kit available at all times.
At the very least a pet first aid kit should contain:
- Gauze pads (based on the size of your dog
- Gauze rolls -not only to bandage but to possibly muzzle your dog
- Cotton balls
- Blunt nose scissors -to cut away long hair and tape
- Adhesive tape -athletic type is the best
- Sterile water
- Alcohol (99% solution)
- Hydrogen peroxide (3% solution) -to induce vomiting or cleaning wounds
- An old sock -to protect bandaged feet
- Cohesive flexible bandage -great for wrapping a wound and not having it pull hair like adhesive bandages
- Veterinary ointment for small wounds and burns
- Eye drops or ointment
Another way we can help our pet is by taking a pet First Aid course. Many local veterinarians offer First Aid courses. Some dog clubs also arrange for veterinarians to come teach classes to the group. Also, check with the local SPCA — some branches offer courses.
A first aid class will help you learn some basic skills to use for small emergencies and how best to get your pet to a veterinary hospital for a serious situation. Taking a First Aid course is never a substitute for professional care. If you ever have doubt about a pet’s health or injury you should never hesitate to contact a professional.
What else can we do? Please share your thoughts, experiences and suggestions with the rest of us!