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Posted on 04-17-2018

Pet First Aid Tips and Emergency Kit Prep

As we head into warmer spring and summer weather and get to enjoy more time outdoors with our pets, perhaps it is no coincidence that April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. Hiking with your furry friend, enjoying a walk through a local park and swimming are all great activities to enjoy with your pet – and are beneficial to you both!

However, unfortunately, accidents do happen regardless of precautions, so we wanted to share a few first aid tips and instructions for preparing an emergency kit to keep in your car and/or house. Having an emergency kit and a plan ahead of time could make all of the difference in the event of an emergency.

Pet First Aid Tips

Here are a few tips to help prepare pet owners in the event of any emergency, or to help manage the situation while seeking veterinary care.

  • Apply direct pressure to scraps or bleeding wounds with gauze for about three minutes before checking the area– if bleeding is soaking through, continuing applying gauze with direct pressure while seeking a veterinarian
  • Internal bleeding can evoke symptoms such as blood in urine, pale gums or coughing blood – seek veterinary care immediately
  • Signs of poison exposure include foaming or drooling at the mouth, heavy panting, dilated pupils and behavioral abnormalities. If you believe your pet has encountered toxic elements, contact ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center at 800-548-2423
  • Do not ever leave pets in cars, regardless of temperature. Heat stroke causes heavy panting, lethargic behavior and discoloration of the gums. If a pet's temperature registers above 105 degrees, cool pets down with cold water (either from a hose, in a sink or bathtub or towels soaked in cold water) and seek veterinary care
  • Seek veterinary care if pets are bitten by other dogs or animals to prevent infection and test for exposure to any diseases
  • Seizures usually last 2-3 minutes – keep seizing pets in safe areas away from furniture or objects and don’t try to restrain them, and seek veterinary care
  • If your pet is choking, try to keep them calm. If you can see the object, gently try to remove it with your fingers or tweezers, but avoid pushing it down. Don’t spend too much time if the object won’t budge and seek veterinary care
  • To tend to burns, apply ice or cold water to the burned area

How to Create an Emergency Pet First Aid Kit

Pet first aid kits are similar to human ones; they should contain the necessities that can help control wounds or injuries while owners assess the situation and seek veterinary care, if needed. These kits can live in your car, which we recommend if you and your pet are active outdoors, and/or in your home because accidents can happen as close as your backyard.

A pet first aid kit should include:

  • Leashes and collars
  • Thermometer
  • Collapsible water and food dishes
  • Bottles of water and extra food (enough for a week)
  • Copies of medical records and prescriptions
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Kitty litter
  • Gauze, wraps and bandages
  • Flashlight
  • Towels and blanket

In addition to preparation kits, we encourage pet owners to have a plan of action in place in the event of a family emergency or natural disaster.

  • Designate neighbors in advance who would be willing to retrieve and watch your pet in the event of an emergency
  • Make note of which hotels in your area are dog-friendly
  • Add Animal Hospital of Woodstock phone number and emergency phone number to your contact book and somewhere accessible to pet sitters or neighbors, like your refrigerator 
  • Keep copies of medical records, including any medication prescriptions, and photos of your pets in a safe place in your home
  • We recommend microchipping pets should they escape or lose their tags

At Animal Hospital of Woodstock, we take care of as many of our own emergencies as possible during regular office hours and after hours. If your pet experiences an emergency during regular hours, please contact the office, or have someone contact the office with the nature of the emergency – this helps us prepare for your arrival. If you have an emergency after hours, please contact us on our emergency line at 815-236-6873. 

While first aid care and precautions are important, these tips are no substitution for veterinary care. We hope that you and your pet experience a fun and safe spring and summer, but remember that the Animal Hospital of Woodstock staff is happy to provide additional information or help in the event of any emergency. 

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