April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month! While we hope you never have to deal with a pet emergency, it is always better to be safe than sorry. In honor of Pet First Aid Awareness Month, Tomlinson’s Feed & Pet Supplies presents a two-part series tackling pet first aid and emergency. This week, we take a look at five common emergencies our furrier family members can face and how to deal with them.
5 Common Pet Emergencies
- If your pet’s airway is totally blocked, you must take immediate action, as there is no time to go to the veterinarian for help.
- Open the mouth and look for a foreign object. If the dog is unconscious and an object is blocking the airway, grab the tongue and pull it outward to try to dislodge the object.
- Regardless of consciousness, sweep your finger through the dog's mouth in an effort to feel or dislodge any object. Use caution to avoid being bitten. CPR or the Heimlich maneuver may be required.
- Make sure your pet is in a safe place, but do not try to restrain her. She may be scared during a seizure and not recognize her owner, so keep your hands away from her mouth.
- Seizures can occur for a variety of reasons. It is urgent that you take your pet to a veterinary hospital immediately.
- If your pet has been exposed to the heat and has a bright red tongue, red or pale gums, thick or sticky saliva, diarrhea, is panting rapidly, weak, depressed, dizzy, or vomiting, he may be suffering from heatstroke.
- In the case of heatstroke, immediately remove the dog from heat and lower his temperature by wetting him thoroughly with cool or lukewarm water (NOT ice cold) and increase air movement with a fan. Then take him to the vet as soon as possible.
- As the weather continues to heat up here in Austin, we’ll go more in depth about symptoms and prevention of heatstroke and other heat-induced emergencies. Read more about pet heat strokes here.
- Signs of poisoning include bleeding, both internally and externally, dilated pupils, drooling or foaming at the mouth, seizures or abnormal behavior and mental state.
- Some of the obvious culprits might be rat poison or cleaning products, which should be kept out of reach, but pets can also be poisoned by unassuming household items. Read up on eight foods that are safe for humans but are potentially deadly for pets.
- Here in Texas, the fear of being bitten by a snake is real and more common than in other areas. Keep an eye out for one or more small puncture wounds, tremors, nausea, vomiting, weakness, difficulty breathing, bleeding and bruising at the site of the wound.
- If you think your pet has been bitten by a snake, seek immediate medical attention.
- Sometimes, injuries from being bitten by another animal seem minor; however, your pet should still see a vet to prevent infection and check for internal wounds.
- If bleeding, apply gauze to the wound. Should the bleeding continue, apply new gauze without removing soaked gauze until you reach the veterinary hospital.
OTHER PET EMERGENCY TIPS
- Stay calm! Pets are keen. They can very easily sense when you are nervous, scared, or stressed and may mirror your emotions.
- During an emergency, a relaxed, confident and educated guardian can help save an animal’s life.
- Use your best judgement when deciding if it is something that can be handled at home or if you should call the vet.
- Download a pet emergency app. Got a smartphone? There’s an app for that, thanks to the American Red Cross.
- Buy a pet first aid book. There are numerous resources available to educate pet parents on first aid plans. Books specific to dogs and cats, like these from the American Red Cross, can be found through online book retailers.
- Take a pet first aid class.Don't know how to perform CPR or the Heimlich maneuver on your pet? Look into a pet first aid class like Four Legged First Aid by Pet First Aid Austin.
- Create your own pet first aid kit. Check back next week, when we outline the necessities for a DIY pet first aid kit in Part 2 of our series…
What did you do during an emergency that helped your pet survive? Are there any emergencies that you’d like to know more about? Let us know in the comments below! Sources: American Red Cross, PETA, AMVA and Pet Education