April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month — a month dedicated to educating pet parents about being prepared and how to provide emergency care to their animals. It’s always best to seek professional veterinary treatment when your pet gets hurt. However, you may find yourself in a situation where you can’t get to a vet, or you may need to care for your pet until you can get them to the emergency room. Here is some information and resources to help you if you should ever find yourself in that scenario.
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Create a Pet-Specific First Aid Kit
There are already curated pet first aid kits available for purchase, which could make a great base and then add in any additional items that would be necessary for your pets or you could start from scratch and build a first aid kit yourself. Here are some things you’ll definitely want to make sure are included:
- Important Paperwork: be sure your pet’s most recent proof of vaccination and any relevant medical records are ready and available. This ensures that in an emergency, all this information is in one place and ready to go.
- Hydrogen Peroxide: An antiseptic like hydrogen peroxide is always a good idea to have on hand to help prevent infection in the event of any injury. It can also be used to induce vomiting if something toxic is ingested.
- Gauze, Non-stick Bandages, Adhesive Tape, & Scissors:
- Antibiotic Spray or Ointment: In the event of a small cut or scratch, antibiotic ointments will help prevent infection, relieve pain, and act as a barrier from bacteria and germs.
- Milk of Magnesia: This and charcoal can be used to absorb and counteract poisons, but be sure to consult with a veterinarian first to determine what size dose may be safe for your dog.
- Digital Thermometer: You can confirm if your pet is running a fever.
- Tweezers: These could come in handy for removing debris or even splinters.
- Travel Food and Water Bowl
- A Towel
- Water and Food/Treats
- Extra Leash/Collar
Download the Pet First Aid App
The American Red Cross has a pet first aid app available on both the Apple and Google Play stores.
When you use the app, you will find:
- Pet safety preparedness tips
- “Step-by-step” and “how-to” videos
- An ability to toggle between cat and dog content
- An emergency animal hospital locator
- Custom profiles that can help track your pet’s health history
- A pet-friendly hotel locator that can turn out to be very important since Red Cross shelters often cannot accommodate pets in an emergency due to human health issues.
Take Cat & Dog First Aid Online Training
People can access the Red Cross Cat and Dog First Aid online course on their desktop or tablet. In this 35-minute online course, you will learn the basics of caring for cats and dogs through a variety of topics – from understanding and checking your pet’s vital signs, to preventative care for cats and dogs, to caring for the most critical emergency situations – including breathing and cardiac emergencies, wounds, bleeding, and seizures. The course is $25 and has 4.3/5 stars from 191 reviews.
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