Top 5 tips on first aid for pets
Emergencies always come without warning, whether you’re at home, at the park, or on vacation. Hence, it is best to be prepared with first aid until to reach a veterinary hospital.
From minor cuts to severe burns, this guide will help you with everything you need to know on first aid for pets!
Before you read further, remember, that first aid is only a first line of defense and not the entire treatment your pet requires. Regardless of the intensity of your pet’s wound/burn, a veterinary consultation is crucial.
That said, are you ready to play doctor!?
What does First Aid mean?
First Aid is basic medical treatment given to a pet until he/she is taken to a veterinary hospital. It most often involves cleaning, spraying, bandaging, tweezing, checking for pulse, and in severe cases, CPR.
Why is First Aid important?
First Aid is crucial for several reasons, and equipping yourself with basic first aid knowledge can often be extremely helpful in a life or death situation -
- Minimising Further Injury: In cases of injury, where the wound involves profuse bleeding or requires tweezing, basic first aid can help prevent further injury to the pet, simply because, stopping the bleeding or removing the object stuck with tweezers, immediately reduces the intensity of the wound.
- Relieves Pain: First Aid can temporarily relieve pain, if done right. This is often done through oral medication, hot or cold packs, pouring cold water over burns etc.
- Prevents Infection: The longer a wound is exposed to the air and , the faster it becomes infected. Hence, basic wound management through cleaning and bandaging can prevent infection.
- Helps Vets Work Quicker: In cases of injury, time is everything. Performing basic first aid can help vets work on treating the wound, rather than spend time on cleaning and spraying it.
- Reduces Recovery Time: Even if the case is not a life and death situation, first aid helps with a shorter recovery time. For example, if no first aid is done until the pet is taken to the hospital, there would be more blood loss, increased infection, lowered blood pressure, and in some cases, even organ failure - all of which only increases recovery time.
- Saves Money: Veterinary bills are huge, yes. But, basic first aid can help reduce the burden on your pockets, since most or even 1/4th of the treatment is being done by you.
When do I need to conduct First Aid?
Here are most of the situations where your pet would require First Aid -
- Bleeding Wounds
- Object, such as thorns or glass pieces, stuck anywhere on the body
- Pain at the sight of the wound
- Having collapsed
- Is unresponsive
- Is having difficulty breathing
- Has existing medical complications like heart conditions, diabetes, or kidney problems
- Has broken bones
- Has eaten something toxic
- Has been vomiting or has diarrhea for more than 24 hours after injury
What do I need in my First Aid kit?
Do you remember the doctor kits you played with as a child? Your pet’s first aid kit is quite like that!
- Anti Microbial Spray
- Gauze Rolls
- Cotton Balls
- Non-Stick Bandages
- Adhesive Tapes
- Multi-purpose Scissors
- Magnifying Glass
- Disposable Syringes
- Hand Towel
- Disposable Gloves
- Any prescribed medication from the vet for a current medical complication
Where do I keep First Aid kits?
As a general rule of thumb, first aid kits need to be kept in three or more places. The three most important places to keep the first aid kits are your house, your car, and your pet’s backpack. In addition to this, you might find it useful to keep FA kits in places you or your pet visits frequently, like at someone’s house or in an office.
How do I conduct First Aid?
Ah, the most important question! As pet parents, we often play different roles in our pet’s lives, an sometimes it might require us to play doctor -
For cuts, burns, scratches, or bites -
- Clean the wound with warm water
- Apply slight pressure on the wound to stop profuse bleeding
- Apply a microbial spray directly on the wound. Sprays like the Himalaya Scavon spray or the Himax ointment are good to use.
- Cover the wound with a cotton ball dipped in anti-microbial spray
- Wrap the wound firmly - not too tight, not too loose. Remember, you want to stop the bleeding, not the blood circulation!
- Right after this, take your pet to a vet.
- Remember, all of the above has to be done immediately!!
For ingestion of harmful substances -
- Check poop to see if the object has come out
- Check poop to see if there is any internal bleeding from the object
- In case of vomiting, check the colour of the vomit and the time of vomiting. You might find it easier to click pictures of the same.
- Check your pet’s temperature by gently inserting the mercury tip of the thermometer into your pet’s butt.
- After recording temperature, gently press the sides of his/her abdomen to check for pain.
- Record all symptoms along with temperature before you go to the vet.
- Remember, all of the above has to be done immediately after ingestion!
For pulls, strains, sprains, tears, and broken bones -
- Make the pet lie flat on the floor
- Apply cold compress using a cold water pack
- Gently move the body part in its normal range of motion
- If your pet winces or pulls away, take him to the veterinarian immediately.
That’s all, folks! We hope you are now ready to treat your furry family in the case of an emergency!