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National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Posted In: Behavior & Training, Feline Health & Wellness, Canine Health & Wellness

National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month! First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet's life until it receives veterinary treatment it needs. Here is a rundown of what you should know in case your pet needs first aid:

First Aid Supplies Checklist:

  • Pertinent phone numbers (veterinarian, emergency veterinary clinic, animal poison control center)
  • A copy of your pet’s medical records (including medications and vaccination history)
  • Gauze, for wrapping wounds or muzzling the injured animal
  • Nonstick bandages, towels, or strips of clean cloth to control bleeding or protect wounds
  • Adhesive tape for bandages (do NOT use human adhesive bandages such as Band-Aids® on pets)
  • Milk of Magnesia, or activated charcoal to absorb poison (Always contact your veterinarian or local poison control center before inducing vomiting or treating an animal for poison)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%) to induce vomiting (Always contact your veterinarian or local poison control center before inducing vomiting or treating an animal for poison)
  • Digital Thermometer- you will need a "fever" thermometer because the temperature scale of regular thermometers doesn't go high enough for pets. To check your pet's temperature. Do not insert a thermometer in your pet's mouth—the temperature must be taken rectally.
  • Eye dropper (or large syringe without needle) to give oral treatments or flush wounds
  • Muzzle (in an emergency a rope, necktie, soft cloth, nylon stocking, small towel may be used) to cover your pet's head. If your pet is vomiting, do not muzzle it!
  • Leash to transport your pet (if your pet is capable of walking without further injury)
  • Stretcher (in an emergency a door, board, blanket or floor mat may be used) to stabilize the injured animal and prevent further injury during transport

Basic Tips for Handling an Injured Pet:

  • Never assume that even the gentlest pet will not bite or scratch if injured. Pain and fear can make animals unpredictable or even dangerous.
  • Don't attempt to hug an injured pet, and always keep your face away from its mouth. Although this may be your first impulse to comfort your pet, it might only scare the animal more or cause them pain.
  • Perform any examination slowly and gently. Stop if your animal becomes more agitated.
  • Call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic before you move your pet so they can be ready for you when you arrive.
  • If necessary and if your pet is not vomiting, place a muzzle on the pet to reduce the chances you'll be bitten.
    • Dogs may be muzzled with towels, stockings or gauze rolls.
    • Cats and other small animals may be wrapped in a towel to restrain them, but make sure your pet is not wrapped in the towel too tightly and its nose is uncovered so it can breathe.

NEVER muzzle your pet if it is vomiting.

  • If possible, try to stabilize injuries before moving an injured animal by splinting or bandaging them.
  • While transporting your injured pet, keep it confined in a small area to reduce the risk of additional injury. Pet carriers work well, or you can use a box or other container (but make sure your pet has enough air). For larger dogs, you can use a board, toboggan/sled, door, throw rug, blanket or something similar to act as a stretcher.
  • You should always keep your pet's medical records in a safe, easily accessible place. Bring these with you when you take your dog for emergency treatment.

For more further information on pet first aid, please visit AVMA’s pet first aid resource page at the following link: https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/first-aid-tips-pet-owners

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at three locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.